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Diagnostic And Treatment Centres

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis certain geographical areas were selected to participate in the procurement programme for diagnostic and treatment centres. [129591]

In autumn 2002, the national health service undertook a national capacity planning process lead by local NHS commissioners. This identified a range of capacity gaps that needed to be met for the NHS to meet the waiting time target set for 2005. Where the NHS was not able to demonstrate robust plans to meet this demand, the residual activity was tested with the independent sector.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role Augmentis has played in the process of developing diagnostic and treatment centres. [129592]

To facilitate the procurement process for independent sector treatment centres, the Department has offered central project management and commercial support to local national health service sponsors to help them in this new and innovative programme.Augmentis was one of the companies that was successful in the competitive tendering process that was run to identify suitable project support.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's estimates were of the savings from operations carried out at NHS diagnostic and treatment centres; and how far these have been borne out by experience. [130649]

[holding answer 16 September 2003]: The purpose of National Health Service treatment centres is to provide additional capacity to treat more patients more quickly, in a modern streamlined environment. Treatment centres were not set up with the express aim of saving money, although evidence from other countries shows that they are likely to be a cost-effective and safe way of undertaking many operations. They have, however, already begun to make an important contribution to cutting waiting times for treatment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements have been made to provide residential accommodation for staff from overseas who are to work in private sector diagnostic and treatment centres. [131050]

[holding answer 18 September 2003]: Additional overseas staff working in independent sector treatment centres will be employed by the independent sector providers running these new units. They will be responsible for providing residential accommodation for these staff should that be necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the number of professional staff who will be employed in private sector diagnostic and treatment centres; and how many of them will be on secondment from the NHS. [131052]

[holding answer 18 September 2003]: The precise number of professional staff working in these new units will be finalised in the next stage of negotiations leading to contract close.