HC Deb 04 June 2003 vol 406 cc499-500W
Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his Answer of 6th May, Official Report, column 662W, on NHS Direct, what reference is made in the review to past(a) successes and (b) failures of NHS Direct. [113344]

Mr. Lammy

Paragraph 58 of the NHS Direct strategy document highlights the key issues identified by the NHS Direct organisational review as needing to be addressed in developing a future organisation model for the service.

Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 12 May 2003,Official Report, column 107W, on NHS Direct, when the National Patients Database will be established; and if he will make a statement on patient confidentiality in relation to this database. [115511]

Mr. Lammy

A NHS Direct national patient database will be created for the service by summer 2004 and will permit nurses to handle calls seamlessly from other parts of the country. NHS Direct aims to meet the best standards of patient confidentiality concurrent with promoting continuity and safety of care for the caller. Everyone working for the national health service is under a legal duty of confidence. Information concerning users and their families given to professionals in confidence for a particular purpose should not be used for other purposes or disclosed to a third party without the consent of the individual(s) concerned.

Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of calls to NHS Direct were answered(a) within one minute, (b) within two minutes and (c) within four minutes in the most recent quarter for which figures are available; and what the target is for response times at the end of 2003. [114291]

Mr. Lammy

Information is not collected centrally in the form requested. NHS Direct is working towards answering 90 per cent. of calls within 30 seconds. The table sets out performance for the past six months:

Month Percentage of calls answered in less than 30 seconds
October 63
November 60
December 62
January 70
February 61
March 57