HC Deb 24 February 2003 vol 400 cc370-1W
Mr. Hepburn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many homeless people were not registered with a general practitioner in(a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear and (d) England in each year since 1997. [96871]

Mr. Hutton

The Department does not hold information on the number of people, whatever their circumstances, not registered with a general practitioner.

The data on registered patients do not allow homeless people who are registered with a GP or personal medical service pilot provider to be separately identified.

Mr. Hepburn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much of the £50 million allocated for palliative care will be given to South Tyneside; [96875]

(2) what the criteria are for hospices to qualify for funding allocated for palliative care under the cancer plan; [96876]

(3) what plans there are to speed up the allocation of the £50 million allocated for palliative care in the cancer plan. [96874]

Ms Blears

A central budget of £50 million per annum for the year 2003–04 to 2005–06 has been set up for specialist palliative care. This ensures that the pledge in the NHS Cancer Plan of an additional £50 million per annum by 2004 is met. South Tyneside Primary Care Trust (PCT) has provisionally been allocated £173,000.

Before any allocations can be made from the central budget, the agreed cancer network plans will need to be approved by the strategic health authority—which will oversee the process and retain its monitoring role—and then be submitted to and approved by the National Partnership Group.

The National Partnership Group is chaired by Professor Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director. It includes representatives from all levels of the National Health Service and a wide range of voluntary organisations. Network plans must be submitted to the National Partnership Group by 31 March at the latest and the group will approve plans as soon as possible after that. Allocations will be made as soon as plans are approved. The £50 million is to help tackle inequalities in access to specialist palliative care and to enable the NHS to make a realistic contribution to the cost hospices incur in providing agreed levels of service. The money is for specialist palliative care services in their entirety and not for voluntary hospices alone although, as they play an essential role and provide two thirds of all specialist palliative care, it is reasonable to expect they will get a fair slice of this extra money. Information about this process, about the criteria and of the provisional allocation for each PCT has been placed in the Library and is available on the Department of Health's website at www.doh.qov.uk/ cancer/palliative 03 06.htm.