§ Mr. Wilson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the contractual terms for production of prosthetic and orthotic aids.
§ Mr. Newton
The Department awards contracts individually to manufacturers for the supply and repair of artificial limbs and certain appliances, and for their fitting in England. These provide for prices to be based on estimated volumes and costs plus a target profit figure, and for profit sharing within specified levels at the end of the contract period in the light of final figures. Contracting for the supply of orthopaedic footwear and surgical appliances is undertaken by the North West Thames regional health authority on behalf of the National Health Service. The conditions of contract are set out in part 3 of the handbook "Provision of Medical and Surgical Appliances", copies of which are in the Library.
§ Mr. Wilson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what steps he is taking to establish a career and salary structure in prosthetics and orthotics;
(2) what differentials in salary levels exist between National Health Service employees and those seconded to the National Health Service from commerce for duties in prosthetics and orthotics.
§ Mr. Whitney
There are no prosthetists employed in the National Health Service in England. There is a small number of orthotists employed and they are graded and paid on the same basis as the much larger group of medical physics technicians. No prosthetists or orthotists are seconded to the National Health Service from commercial firms. The position in Scotland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.