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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what work his Department has undertaken to explain the trends in prescribing of (a) atypical and (b) traditional antipsychotic medication within the NHS; what the key findings are; and if he will set out the number of prescription items dispensed within the NHS in England for antipsychotic drugs in each of the last five years for each regional and health authority for the age groups (i) 0 to 15 years, (ii) 16 to 59 years and (iii) 60 years and over. 
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The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is undertaking an appraisal of the use of atypical antipsychotic drugs in schizophrenia. Guidance is expected to be issued this year. The number of prescription items dispensed in the community in England for antipsychotic drugs, 1999 and 2000 by health authority, have been placed in the Library. Similar information for earlier years is not available. Information about antipsychotic drugs dispensed in hospitals is not available.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions were dispensed in (a) 1999 and (b) 2000 for (i) atypical antipsychotic medicine, (ii) traditional antipsychotic medicine and (iii) all antipsychotic medicine, to hospital patients by each health authority in England for patients (A) up to 16, (B) 16 to 59, and (C) 60 years old and over. 
Ms Blears: Independent health care providers will be required to have in place effective arrangements for handling complaints as part of the new regulatory system to be introduced from April 2002 under the Care Standards Act 2000. The regulations and standards that it is proposed to apply were issued for consultation in July 2001. Organisations representing private hospitals were among those consulted. The consultation comments are currently being considered.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what date his Department established a working group of officials to prepare his Department for the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and on what dates this committee has met since it was set up. 
Ms Blears: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon (Mr. Wills) on 21 November 2001, Official Report, column 366W.
The Department has established two committees to work on the implementation of Freedom of Information. The steering group was set up on 20 July and first met on 10 October. The working group was set up on 31 August 2001 and first met on 13 November 2001.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent communications his Department has had with the working party on research implications of health and safety standards of radiation protection measures of the Article 31 Group of Experts appointed by the European Commission. 
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Ms Blears: Professor R. H. Clarke, who is Director of the National Radiological Protection Board, which advises the Department and others on radiation hazards, is a member of the Research Implications of Health and Safety Standard Working Party of Article 31. Officials in the Department receive information routinely on the programme of the working party and attend its seminars.
Ms Blears: The budgeted costs of the Medicines Control Agency for the year 200102 are £39.6 million. The actual costs for the year will not be available until after March 2002. These costs are funded by fees from industry and others. The MCA does not receive any direct funding from the vote.
Ms Blears: Items in Annex A1 through to Annex A8 of the Departmental report that are below £0.5 million are denoted with the sign '#' in the report. These items, in total, relate to planned income, not expenditure, of £181,000 for 200102.
Ms Blears: The Department supports the Government's strategy to put sustainable developmentof which environmental matters are but one strandat the heart of all its business. All activity related to environmental policy and operational matters is an integral part of departmental business and cannot be costed as a discrete item.
Since its inception, the NHS CFS has investigated 1,022 cases of alleged fraud, with an appropriate sanction being applied in every case where fraud has been proven. A 100 per cent. success rate has been achieved in 76 criminal prosecution cases. A further 131 civil and disciplinary sanction cases have been successfully progressed. A total of £11.9 million has been recovered and fraud through evasion of NHS prescription charges has been reduced by £48 million (41 per cent.) by the year 200001.
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Ms Blears: The National Health Service Counter Fraud Service has carried out two patient prescription charge evasion exercises, measuring (to an accuracy of plus or minus 0.6 per cent.) the levels of fraud by patients from samples taken in November 1998 and July 1999. The amount of money lost to the NHS is estimated at £117 million in 199899 and £69 million in 19992000, demonstrating a reduction in losses from evasion of £48 million (41 per cent.). The NHS CFS will continue to measure prescription fraud on a regular basis.
Ms Blears: Between the establishment of the Prescription Pricing Authority Compliance Unit on 1 April 1996 and June 2000 there was one criminal prosecution of a patient for fraudulently claiming prescription exemption. This case was handled by the police and occurred in 1999.
Ms Blears: A number of features were introduced in 1998. Among these are an ultra violet light sensitive mark in the forms, as an anti-counterfeiting device and serial numbering, primarily to aid tracking of prescription forms. There are a number of other security features which, for obvious reasons, must remain confidential.
Ms Blears: The bed census scheduled for Friday 30 November is part of preparations for winter and will compare the number of general and acute beds in the national health service with numbers at the same time last year. It will inform the winter plan which is due for publication in December. The census will not collect information on mixed sex wards or nightingale wards.
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