§ Ms Walley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases are being investigated by the Health Service Ombudsman; what the duration of an investigation by the Ombudsman from start to finish has been in the last five years; and what penalties are available to ensure that the ombudsman investigates within a reasonable amount of time and ensures that hospital trusts report back within set time limits. 
Ms. Rosie Winterton: This is a matter for the Ombudsman, who is completely independent of the Government. The Ombudsman's remit and powers are set out the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 as amended. Ministers have no say in the Ombudsman's decisions or investigation, nor access to the detailed information being requested.