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4 Dec 2002 : Column 906Wcontinued
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what requirement there is on the special trustees of each of the London teaching hospitals to consider the health needs of (a) London as a whole and (b) the area of London the hospital services, when making decisions as to the use of assets and income under their control; 
(2) if he will introduce an equalisation scheme for the use of assets and income held by NHS special trustees; 
(3) if he will reform the system of special trustees operating in NHS hospitals to increase accountability for decisions on spending; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) if he will list the special trustees for each of the London (a) non-teaching NHS acute trusts and (b) teaching hospitals; how they are accountable for decisions; how they are appointed; what total value of (i) capital investments, (ii) other capital assets, and (iii) income they supervise; what projects over £100,000 they have financed in each of the last three years; what projects they intend to fund over £100,000 in the next three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: Special trustees hold and administer charity funds in accordance with trust and charity law, which requires them to comply with the trusts on which they are held. They are regulated in England and Wales by the Charity Commission and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health quite properly does not have powers to amend these trusts. Decisions about how funds are to be applied rest with the trustees, who are accountable to the Charity Commission. Special trustees are only able to hold funds mainly or wholly for the hospitals for which they are appointed.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 2 December 2002]: 50 national health services trusts reported an income and expenditure account deficit in their 200102 annual accounts. These 50 deficits aggregate to £69,328,000.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what criteria members of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence's Citizens' Council are selected; and how many members of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence's Citizens' Council are over (a) 60, (b) 70 and (c) 75 years. 
Mr. Lammy: The recruitment to the citizens' council was carried out by an independent specialist company. This company advertised for applicants, then used a combination of random selection and telephone interviews, while also ensuring that the final council is
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representative of all age groups, social circumstances, ethnic backgrounds, regional differences and abilities in order to provide a cross section of opinion.
Mr. Lammy: We are taking specific action to increase the number of donors available by investing in initiatives to raise public awareness and the benefits of organ transplantation, particularly in the ethnic populations where there may be a greater need for transplantation, implementing measures to ensure that potential donors are identified and that we increase the use of both living and non-heartbeating donation.
Nearly £4 million is being invested in the national health service through UK Transplant to boost the number of life-saving organ transplants. This is funding 35 donor liaison schemes to improve procedures for identifying possible organ donors and the steps to take, so that relatives are approached and given the opportunity to decide about donation. It is also supporting 25 living donation programmes, 10 additional transplant coordinators and six non-heartbeating donor programmes.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 2 December 2002]: There is a dedicated team of staff with health careers expertise who are able to offer advice on supervised practice and national health service careers to nurses who ring the NHS overseas nurses advice line.
Ms Blears: The Convention covers a wide range of complex ethical and legal issues, many of which have been, and remain, actively under debate in the United Kingdom over recent years. The Government wish to consider the conclusions of these debates before reaching a final view on signature and ratification of the Convention.
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Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent measures he has taken to ensure that local prescribing guidelines are in place governing the prescription of powerful pain relieving and sedative medicines throughout the NHS. 
Mr. Lammy: Following the devolution of power to locally-run services, it is the role of primary care trusts (PCTs) to develop such local prescribing guidelines to suit their needs in conjunction with appropriate local clinicians. Local treatment guidelines, including those for powerful pain relieving and sedative medicines, should be in place and overseen by local drug and therapeutics committees.
We are supporting good local prescribing in a number of ways. The systems for clinical and cost effective use of medicines are covered by the Department's medicines management performance management framework. This framework focuses on secondary care and has been developed recently to strengthen working links with PCTs. We have also commissioned the National Prescribing Centre to produce guidance on good practice in managing controlled drug issues in primary care in the national health service. It is hoped to publish the guide in spring 2003. In addition, we are developing a guide, for use by PCTs and out-of-hours primary care providers, which will contain a minimum list of drugs that patients should be able to access from all such providers during evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the finding by the National Confidential Inquiry into Perioperative Deaths on the impact on patient care in the NHS the availability and maintenance of medical records; and what measures he plans to take to address this issue. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department is aware of problems with paper based medical records including their lack of availability, legibility, difficulty in finding particular items of information, limited life-span and general lack of structure in them.
The delivery of electronic records is now being taken forward as part of the integrated care record service (ICRS), in implementing the national strategic programme, XDelivering 21st Century IT Support for the NHS".
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Mr. Lammy: In 2001, 2,419,400 national health service prescriptions for anti-malarial drugs were dispensed in the community in England. We do not hold information on hospital or private prescriptions, or for the other United Kingdom administrations.
Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of how the outputs of Public Health Laboratory Service Groups of laboratories will be sustained from April 2003. 
Ms Blears: I expect the outputs of those public health laboratory service laboratories that are transferring to national health service trusts to be sustained at the present level. They are being transferred with the resources necessary to maintain their outputs and the new posts of regional public health microbiologists will be positioned to facilitate their public health output.
Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what cost-benefit analysis has been carried out by his Department into laboratory transfers from the (a) Public Health Laboratory Service, (b) National Radiological Protection Board, (c) Centre for Applied Microbiology Research and (d) National Focus for Chemical Incidents to a Health Protection Agency. 
Ms Blears: The bodies listed are all to be subsumed into the proposed Health Protection Agency in their entirety, after the public health laboratory service (PHLS) has transferred to national health service trusts some 30 of its laboratories that carry out general clinical diagnostic microbiology. These are the only laboratory transfers involved in creating the proposed Health Protection Agency.
They will broaden the number of clinical staff required to report the occurrence of infectious diseases.
They will place a duty of care on all microbiology laboratories to report for public health surveillance purposes.
Generally, the transfers will bring public health activities within the mainstream of the NHS.
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