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Commission for Health Improvement

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to merge the National Care Standards Commission and the Commission for Health Improvement. [38677]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 28 February 2002]: We have said that there should be closer working, and over time, organisational integration between the National Care Standards Commission, the Commission for Health Improvement, and other bodies so that health and social care services are subject to a common set of standards whether they are provided by public, private or voluntary sector organisations.

We will take further steps at the earliest opportunity to rationalise the number of bodies inspecting and regulating health and social care.


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the needs of children with asthma will be included in the National Service Framework for Children; and if he will make a statement. [38505]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 28 February 2002]: We are currently in the process of clarifying the precise scope of the Children's National Service Framework (NSF).

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This NSF will look at all aspects of children's health and development; it will not consider every disease and condition but will concentrate on generic standards.

We have decided that the NSF should set out exemplars to show how national standards should apply in particular areas. We have already announced that autism will be one. Asthma will be another. Exemplars will be used to illustrate how the standards should be applied to ensure that services delivered to children are effective and meet their needs.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his latest assessment is of the number of deaths caused in hospitals in England and Wales last year by MRSA superbug infections. [39211]

Ms Blears [holding answer 28 February 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 26 February 2002, Official Report, column 1087W.

Liverpool Royal Children's Hospital

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will consider placing a memorial at Liverpool Royal Children's Hospital to children whose parts were retained. [39693]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer Friday 1 March 2002]: We believe this matter should be discussed locally between hospital staff and families affected by organ retention.

However, the Retained Organs Commission are happy to discuss with parents any views on this that they have.


Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Broxbourne will receive a reply to her letters of 23 October 2001, 29 November 2001, 2 January and 26 February, relating to correspondence about Zyban from her constituent, Mr. Edward Weston of Broxbourne. [39435]

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Ms Blears [holding answer 1 March 2002]: A reply was sent on 1 March 2002.

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the change in costs incurred by the NHS as a result of the introduction of the climate change levy. [38587]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 4 March 2002]: The estimated cost of the climate change levy, paid by the national health service on national contracts, is almost £24.5 million inclusive of VAT.

The effects of the climate change levy were designed to be offset by a reduction in the employers national insurance contributions.

Orthodontists (Mid-Essex Hospital Trust)

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many children and young people under the age of 18 years have been waiting for (a) an out-patient and (b) an in-patient appointment with an orthodontist in the Mid-Essex Hospital Trust area; [38356]

Ms Blears [holding answer 5 March 2002]: The total number of patients waiting for a first out-patient appointment for orthodontics at Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust is shown in the table.

Waiting times for first outpatient appointment, Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

Of those GP written referrals seen, the number who waited (in weeks) Patients still waiting
Quarter/SpecialityNumber of GP written referral requests seen0 to 34 to 1213 to 2526 plusOver 13 weeksOver 26 weeks
September 2001
December 2001


This information is not collected by age.


Department of Health form QM08

Medical Tests

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what facilities are available in (a) the Brighton Healthcare NHS Trust and (b) the Worthing-Southlands NHS Trust to administer (i) Indium III octreotide imaging, (ii) fasting gut hormone profile, (iii) plasma chromogranin test, and (iv) 5HIAA urine tests; and how many such tests have been carried out there in the last 12 months. [42213]

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Ms Blears [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Details of the facilities available on each site and the number of tests carried out are not collected centrally.

Overseas Treatment

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which commercial agencies have been used for matching NHS patients with treatment centres on the continent; and what the basis is of their remuneration. [42268]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 11 March 2002]: GerMedic GmBh, a German company, has arranged treatment for patients from the south-east pilot scheme in two German hospitals. The NHS has negotiated with the organisation an overall price for the packages of treatment needed by patients, from which GerMedic will receive remuneration. The prices are commercially confidential.

Air Ambulances

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the areas of the country (a) which have been supported by an air ambulance service in the last 12 months, (b) which are currently supported and (c) where services are planned in the near future. [41494]

Ms Blears [holding answer 8 March 2002]: There are currently 12 charitably funded air ambulance services operating in England. These are:

In addition, the helicopter emergency medical service covers London within the M25 motorway. There are also helicopter air ambulance services provided in the form of joint operations with the police in both Sussex and Wiltshire.

The charities are responsible for the number of aircraft provided.

Information Technology

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the budget for IT in the NHS in each of the last five years. [42290]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 March 2002]: There is not a specific budget for information technology investment. The majority of costs are met from the baseline allocations made via health authorities. Health communities then make their investment decisions based on local priority. These investments are not aggregated at a national level but have been estimated at £800 million per year—this estimate includes a very broad spectrum of costs including maintenance of finance and other administrative systems.

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Some new funds have been made available for specific targeted information management and technology developments—£113 million was hypothecated in 2001–02 and £82 million for 2002–03. These sums revert to baseline after one year.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contracts his Department has placed in the last two years or expects to place in the next two years for IT improvements in the NHS; and with which providers. [42291]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Separate figures for IT improvements are not collated. The Department and the national health service organise contracts in such a way as to obtain both value for money and maintain local choice where appropriate. There are national contracts for major national infrastructure, central catalogue arrangements for mature products, and local procurements for many specific items, which need to be integrated with existing systems.

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