§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the total(a) number and (b) costs of suspensions of consultants, doctors and other medical staff on pay pending inquiries in each year since 1996; 
(2) how many consultants, doctors or medical staff have been suspended on full pay for more than two months in each hospital trust in the Northern and Trent348W
In addition, we have awarded the MS Society £15,000 per year from 1997–98 until 1999–2000 under the Section 64 scheme of grants, for their emerging therapies project.
The table reports new diagnoses of HIV and AIDS for England in each of the last five years.
As people with HIV infection may not have symptoms for some time, new diagnoses are dependent on people coming forward for testing; however, the data on new diagnoses based on clinical reports of AIDS cases are a reasonable measure of AIDS incidence.
Year of diagnosis New diagnoses of HIV infection New diagnoses of AIDS 1995 2,412 1,587 1996 2,438 1,298 1997 2,441 960 1998 2,557 677 1999 2,289 460
- 1. Data reported by end 1999.
- 2. Numbers, particularly for the more recent years, will rise as further reports are received.
Regions in (a) 1998, (b) 1999 and (c) 2000 to date; and what his estimate is of the cost to the NHS of their suspensions. 
§ Mr. Denham
National Health Service trusts routinely report suspensions lasting six months or longer. The information requested is not broken down by year. Since 31 March 1995 a total of 75 cases of suspension lasting six months or over have been reported. At 31 December 1999, the latest date for which figures are available, 27 hospital and community medical and dental staff had been suspended for six months or more at an estimated cost of £2.5 million.
Since 31 March 1998 the Northern and Yorkshire and Trent regions have reported 18 suspensions lasting six months or more at a total cost of approximately £2 million. At 31 December 1999, the latest date for which figures are available, 10 hospital and community medical and dental staff had been suspended for six months or more at a cost of approximately £1 million.
An internal management review has identified four areas for improvement in the current suspension procedures. Further work on these findings has been subsumed into the wider proposals for managing poor performance set out in the Chief Medical Officer's consultation document "Supporting doctors, protecting patients". The consultation period has just ended and the Department is currently considering the responses.