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11 Feb 2004 : Column 1546Wcontinued
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reason the deal to sell NHS Estates surplus properties and inventures to the HBOS/Miller Consortium has not yet been completed; and when he expects completion; 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons NHS Professionals does not use agency staff supplied to it through arrangements with private agencies who have previously registered with NHS Professionals; and what estimate NHS Professionals has made of the number of staff who have been declined in this way. 
Mr. Hutton: The NHS Professionals Special Health Authority works in partnership with national health service trusts to provide temporary staffing solutions. In the first instance, NHS Professionals will always
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endeavour to provide staff from its own bank. If this is not possible, then vacancies will be passed to agency staff approved by the partner trust.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the costs were of setting up the Commission for Social Care Inspection; and what estimate has been made of the costs of operation in its first year. 
A budget for the cost of operating the new body in its first year (200405) has not yet been set but its running cost it is likely to be in the region of £150 million. As the new body will be part-financed from fees generated from its regulatory and inspection function, the net running cost which is met by a grant in aid from the Department is likely to be around £104 million.
Dr. Ladyman: In March 2003, the Department of Health provided information to the Countryside Agency on 'rural proofing' health and social care services, including those for older people. This information was included in the agency's report Rural Proofing in 200203. The report can be viewed at www.countryside.gov.uk/publications.
Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reasons the management of chronic skin disease was not included within the directed enhanced services of the new general medical services contract; 
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(3) what input his Department had in deciding the disease areas outlined under clinical domains in the quality framework for the general practitioner contract; [R] 
(4) what factors were taken into account in deciding which disease areas should be included in the general practitioner contract's quality framework and essential services; [R] 
(5) what assessment he has made of how the new general practitioner contract will benefit patients with chronic skin conditions. [R] 
Mr. Hutton: No disease is omitted from the new general medical services contract. The legal definition of essential services ensures that skin conditions will continue to be managed and treated in primary care to the extent such conditions can be handled appropriately and effectively in that setting. The contract also provides unprecedented investment in primary care and new mechanisms and opportunities through enhanced services to expand the range of services, improve convenience and choice for patients. This will allow the shift of specialised dermatology services from hospitals to primary care.
The quality and outcomes framework was developed by an independent group of academic general practitioners whose recommendations on which disease areas to include were based on the disease priorities across the United Kingdom, evidence-based practice and accepted national clinical guidelines, and an understanding that responsibility for ongoing management and care of patients rests principally with general practitioners and the primary care team.
Mr. Hutton: The Department regularly discusses the impact of the Working Time Directive both formally and informally with key professional groups and national health service managers in the context of NHS compliance for doctors in training from 1 August 2004.