Health secretary Frank Dobson said he had 'sympathy' with people who use accident and emergency departments as 'drop-in centres' when they are 'feeling off-colour'. He said: 'Although that use poses burdens, I believe that the NHS should provide what local people clearly want of their hospitals.' In some areas GPs operated from A&E departments. 'If that suits the needs of local people - usually people from a deprived area around one of the old teaching hospitals - that is probably as good a use of NHS funds as any.'

(Hansard, 2 March, col 868)

The introduction of primary care trusts in Scotland as part of the reconfiguration of Scottish trusts will yield savings of£6m a year, an average£500,000 in each health board, said Scottish health minister Sam Galbraith.

(Hansard, 9 March, col 139)

The joint NHS Executive and home office report into prison healthcare will be published 'shortly', said home office minister George Howarth. The report will cover organisation, staffing, and qualifications of staff in the prison medical service.

(Hansard, 10 March, col 278)

The Wycombe site development at South Buckinghamshire trust will be the first of the government's first wave of major private finance initiative projects to go fully operational, in January next year. In all, 10 of the 15 first-wave projects have reached financial close and will be operational by November 2002, said health minister John Denham.

(Hansard, 10 March, col 298)

Progress towards the eradication of mixed-sex wards has been monitored recently by the Department of Health, and the results will be published 'shortly', said junior health minister John Hutton.

(Hansard, 12 March, col 414)