§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that pharmacies are located conveniently for(a) those living in rural communities and (b) patients and their relatives who do not have access to a car; 
(2) how many pharmacies (a) opened and (b) closed during each of the past six years; and what progress has been made in expanding the number of pharmacies in the UK; 
(3) what progress has been made in broadening the range of services and advice provided by local pharmacies; 
(4) what discussions he has had with primary health care trusts on the role of local pharmacies. 
§ Mr. Lammy
Under the National Health Service Act 1977, it is the responsibility of national health service primary care trusts (PCTs) to arrange the provision of pharmaceutical services in their area. This includes determining whether it is necessary or desirable to secure adequate provision of services by granting applications to open new NHS pharmacies. Additionally, the Health and Social Care Act 2001 empowers PCTs to devise contracts for local pharmaceutical services which address particular local needs, including access to a NHS pharmacy.
We launched "Pharmacy in the Future—Implementing the NHS Plan" in September 2000. This sets out the Government's programme to maintain and improve access to and the range and quality of services offered by NHS pharmacies. Three waves of the medicines management collaborative are under way, involving 106 PCTs. All NHS Direct sites are now able to refer callers where appropriate to their local community pharmacy. Repeat dispensing schemes in selected sites which enable patients to get their pharmacy to dispense medicines for up to a year, rather than going back to their general practitioner for a new prescription each time and new arrangements for pharmacists to prescribe on the NHS in accordance with an agreed clinical management plan start later this year.209W
We are currently discussing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS bodies including PCTs, a new national contractual framework to further support these objectives.
The table shows the number of pharmacies opening and closing in England and Wales in the last six years. Over three in five pharmacies opening were more than one kilometre from the nearest pharmacy. Over one in two pharmacies closing were within 500 metres of another pharmacy.
Year ending 31 March Number of NHS pharmacies opening Number of NHS pharmacies closing 1997 66 55 1998 48 46 1999 51 56 2000 27 37 2001 36 40 2002 30 34
§ Mr. Lammy
[holding answer 24 March 2003]: Under the National Health Service Act 1977, it is the responsibility of primary care trusts to arrange the provision of pharmaceutical services in their area. There is no national planning of pharmaceutical services. We do not, therefore, collect information centrally about which industries are locally significant in towns and villages where pharmacies are located. Nor do we predict either where pharmacies are likely to be located in the future, or whether there will be changes to the nature of local economies in towns or villages where pharmacies are currently located.
§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many qualified pharmacy staff there are in(a) the Portsmouth area and (b) the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The available information on national health service employed pharmacists in England and the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire area is shown in the table.
Information on the number of community pharmacists is not collected centrally and information for Scotland and Wales is a matter for the devolved Administrations. While the institutions in Northern Ireland are dissolved, responsibility rests with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Office.
Between September 1997 and 2001, there has been an increase of 2,140 or 26 per cent. in the number of qualified pharmacists employed in the NHS in England. As at 30 September 2001, there were 10,630 qualified pharmacists employed in the NHS.
The Government are looking to achieve an increase in staff numbers across all scientific, therapeutic and technical staff groups, including hospital pharmacists. "'Delivering the NHS Plan", published in April 2002, set out the Government's latest forecast for growth. By 2008, we expect the NHS to have net increase over the September 2001 staff census of at least 30,000 therapists 210W and scientists, including pharmacists. To support this, we are increasing the number of pre-registration pharmacy training places in NHS hospitals. Over 550 were planned for 2002–03–—at least 60 per cent. more than were available 10 years ago.
NHS Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): Qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff within the pharmacy area of work in England and Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire HA area, by organisation, as at 30 September 2001 Whole-time equivalent Headcount England 9,372 10,633 of which: Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire HA total 117 135 Isle of Wight PCT * * Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire HA * * Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust 94 106 Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust 20 25 * Five or less and greater than zero
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number.
2. Due to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts.
3. HA figures are based on Trusts, and do not necessarily reflect the geographical provision of healthcare.
Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census
§ Tim Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS prescriptions were dispensed(a) in total, (b) through community pharmacies, (c) through hospital pharmacies and (d) through GP surgery pharmacies in each of the last six years. 
§ Mr. Lammy
The information available is shown in the table.
Million Total (all dispensers) Community Pharmacy and Appliance Contractors1 Dispensing Doctors and personal administration2 Items prescribed in hospital and dispensed in the community3 2001 587.0 533.1 53.9 3.7 2000 551.8 500.5 51.3 3.1 1999 529.8 481.9 47.9 2.7 1998 513.2 467.1 46.1 2.4 1997 500.2 454.3 45.8 — 1996 484.9 441.0 43.9 —
1. The data are for all national health service prescription items that were dispensed in the community in England.
2. It is not possible to separate figures for community pharmacists from those for appliance contractors.
3. Includes all items that are personally administered by GPs.
4. These items are included in total (all dispensers).
§ Tim Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of prescriptions currently dispensed by community pharmacists are for pensioners.