To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the rate of return applicable to the contracts offered to private sector providers of diagnosis and treatment centres will be; how the cost of private provision to NHS patients will be calculated; and how staff employed by the private sector units will be offered re-employment in the NHS. 
Independent sector diagnosis and treatment centres (DTCs) contracts will be service-based contracts and not subject to rate of return regulation: bids have been invited for given volumes of clinical activity needed by National Health Service commissioners to met 2005 waiting times targets. In the medium-term, as et out in Delivering the NHS Plan, the intention is that independent sector DTCs will practice under a dingle system of regulation, inspection and tariff, across public and private sectors.Staffing policies for independent sector DTCs will be the responsibility of the independent sector DTC provider, although they will be required, as part of the tendering process, to demonstrate that their staffing policies will not be disruptive to the local health economy. Where these units use NHS staff, the requirement will be that this is in a structured projects explicitly agreed between the provider and the local health economy: it is expected that NHS staff working in this way will remains NHS employees.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many private hospitals and clinics provided services to the NHS in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; what the cost was of such provision; and what rate of return was (i) calculated and (ii) awarded in such private health care. 
The Department does not hold information on the total number of private hospitals and clinics providing services to the national health service, nor on their profit margins. Prices are a matter for negotiation between providers and the NHS organisations commissioning their services.