§ Dr. Cable
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made for each of the last five years of the number of referrals to practitioners with a special interest, broken down by(a) primary care trust and (b) strategic health authority area; 
Annex A: Department of Health Vacancies Survey, Three-month vacancy rates in England, North West London Strategic
Health Authority area and Brent and Harrow Health Authority area
Percentage Specified staff groups 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting
2.8 3.9 3.4 3.1 2.9 Q04 North West London SHA n/a n/a n/a 4.4 6.3 QAR Brent and Harrow HA 6.2 5.6 6.0 n/a n/a Allied Health Professionals
2.1 3.2 4.3 5.0 4.8 Q04 North West London SHA n/a n/a n/a 6.2 7.3 QAR Brent and Harrow HA 2.5 6.2 8.4 n/a n/a
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost savings expected in the current financial year as a result of referrals to practitioners with a special interest rather than to hospitals; and what projection he has made of future cost savings from this programme. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The practitioner with special interest role is intended to offer opportunities for professional development to general practitioners and others, and to offer primary care trusts (PCTs) new flexibilities in delivering services.
In line with "Shifting the Balance of Power", PCTs are responsible for developing practitioners with special interest services. Most are now doing so, but information on referrals to practitioners with a special interest is not collected centrally. Overall, however, in 2001–02 some 600,000 procedures previously only done in hospitals were carried out in primary care. By 2002–03, this had increased to 700,000 and further increases are expected in future years. This initiative has not been introduced to save money and no central estimates of potential or actual savings to the national health service in 2004–05 have been made.
§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many professional allied to medicine have been appointed as practitioners with a specialist interest in each year since the scheme started; and from which discipline they came. 
§ Mr. Hutton
There is no central scheme for the appointment of allied health professionals with a special interest, and information on any such appointments made locally is not collected centrally.