HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 c1091W
Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 11 July 2002.Official Report, column 1209W, on doctors (suspensions), for what reasons absence or special leave or gardening leave are not included in official statistics; and what guidance Is issued to NHS trusts on (a) staff suspensions and (b) placing staff on special or gardening leave. [70724]

Mr. Hutton

The process of formal monitoring of suspensions lasting over six months began in March 1995, six months after the issue of HSG(94)49, the current guidance on suspension of hospital and community medical and dental staff.

As a result of an undertaking to the Public Accounts Committee in April 1995, the Department monitors formal suspensions lasting over six months on a quarterly basis. This has enabled the financial implications of those suspensions to be monitored and helped to ensure that Individual cases are being actively managed.

Information on special leave is collected on an ad hoc basis when concerns are raised. No official guidance has been issued on the use of special or gardening leave. In December 2001, the Chief Medical Officer wrote to all national health service trusts requesting information regarding the use of this type of leave. This information is currently being analysed.