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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the impact of the European Working Time Directive on junior doctors; and how many junior doctors are working in excess of the directive- recommended hours. 
Mr. Denham: We welcome the agreement reached between the Council and the European Parliament to extend the Working Time Directive to junior doctors. The transition period of up to twelve years for implementing the Directive will allow junior doctors' working hours to be reduced in a planned and sustained way while, at the same time, protecting patient services and safeguarding our ambitious and much-needed programme of modernisation for the National Health Service.
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The transition period requires, in its initial phase, that no junior doctor should work more than 56 hours a week by 2007. NHS trusts' figures for March 2000 show that 64 per cent. of junior doctors in England meet the full range of hours and rest period targets set out in the juniors' New Deal, including the requirement that they do not work more than 56 hours a week. The 56 hour limit will be incorporated into all junior doctor contracts from August 2003.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he has taken to end the practice of seeking references from hon. Members on shortlisted applicants for appointment to (a) NHS trusts, (b) health authorities and (c) primary care trusts, since the publication of the Fritchie report. 
Ms Stuart: A response to Dame Rennie Fritchie's report on appointments to National Health Service boards will be made shortly. This will address the recommendation that comments should no longer be sought from hon. Members on shortlisted candidates for chair appointments.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) shortlisted applicants for and (b) appointments as (i) chairman and (ii) non-executive director of primary care trusts have declared political activity for (A) the Labour Party, (B) the Conservative Party and (C) the Liberal Democrat Party. 
|Labour||Conservative||Liberal Democrat||Ind./No political activity|
|Success rate (per cent.)||38.5||66||50||55.8|
|Success rate (per cent.)||45||40||100||62|
Mr. Denham: We are setting standards through the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the National Service Frameworks. We are ensuring local delivery through clinical governance and monitoring delivery through the performance assessment framework and the Commission for Health Improvement. We are working with relevant parties, utilising the record increases in National Health Service funding announced in the Budget to improve NHS performance.
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Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the cost for (a) Scotland and (b) the UK of abolishing charging for essential non-residential community care services. 
Mr. Hutton: In 1998-99, councils in England raised £295 million in sales, fees and charges from all clients of all ages for non-residential services. The responsibility for information relating to Scotland is a matter for the devolved Administration.
Ms Stuart: The measurement exercise was designed so as to ensure that the variation in the results due to sampling should be no more than 1 per cent. (So that for an estimate of x per cent. the true value would have a 95 per cent. confidence interval of x plus 1 per cent. and x minus 1 per cent. or better). In fact the final estimate of the fraud/in error rate had 95 per cent. confidence limits of plus or minus 0.6 per cent.
A sample of forms dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors to people claiming exemption from payment for prescription charges was selected using robust statistical techniques. The selected prescription forms were then subjected to a stringent investigative process to establish whether the patient who had made the claim had done so correctly, in error or fraudulently. Each case was investigated and examined individually and, where necessary, patients were contacted to establish the reasons for inconsistencies in the information given by them. The National Audit Office have examined the methodology used to arrive at the estimates and found that it was sound.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the buddying schemes for people with disabilities in England which are run by (a) community health trusts, (b) social services departments and (c) voluntary organisations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: The Department provides grants to voluntary organisations through the scheme administered under Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968. Some of these grants may, from time to time, be used to fund buddying schemes.
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for the running of buddying schemes for people with disabilities in England; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) determines its own processes, within broad guidance from Ministers set out in a "Memorandum of Understanding" of August 1999. We have asked NICE to follow a transparent and well-structured process for its appraisals, giving appropriate interested parties the opportunity to submit evidence, to comment on draft conclusions, and to appeal to a panel independent of those involved in the original judgment. For their appraisal of beta interferon NICE have sought evidence from patient representative organisations and we anticipate that NICE will be well aware from this of the views of individual multiple sclerosis patients.
Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Broxbourne will receive a reply to her letters of (a) 3 March, (b) 6 April, (c) 5 May, (d) 1 June and (e) 29 June relating to her constituent Mrs. K. Costas. 
Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Broxbourne will receive a reply to her letters of (a) 6 April, (b) 5 May, (c) 1 June and (d) 29 June relating to her constituent, Mr. John Huggett. 
Mr. Denham: The National Health Service is carrying out a measure of pre-planning for the possible introduction of the euro as set out in the second Outline National Changeover Plan published on 9 March 2000. The costs of this on-going exercise are contained within normal running costs and cannot be separately identified.
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