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Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of (a) patients' need for monitored dosage systems and (b) the wide variation in payment mechanisms to community pharmacists for these, including charges to individual patients. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: No such assessment has been made nationally. However, primary care trusts may make local arrangements to assess need, arrange provision of services and establish a local payment mechanism.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether all the EU accession countries are compliant with the minimum training requirements in (a) medicine, (b) nursing and (c) dentistry as laid down in the relevant EC Directives. 
Mr. Hutton: All acceding states are committed to ensuring that the qualifications they award to doctors and nurses responsible for general care and dentists who begin their training on or after the date of accession meet specified minimum requirements. It is for the European Commission, which is closely monitoring their progress, to see that these obligations are met. It intends to update Member States shortly.
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Ms Rosie Winterton: National health service dental charges are subject to the National Health Service (Dental Charges) Regulations 1989, as amended. Under the current arrangements, those patients liable to pay a charge are required to make a contribution to the cost of their treatment equal to 80 per cent. of the dentist's item of services fees. These fees and their related patient charges are set out in the Statement of Dental Remuneration available at http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/01/93/20/04019320.pdf. This can also be found in the Statement of Dental Remuneration, Amendment No. 91 a copy of which is available in the Library.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not collect information regarding updates on dentists made by NHS Direct. However, I am advised by NHS Direct that primary care trusts have a system in place for updating information about dentists on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk. I understand this was last updated in February 2004 for Adur, Arun and Worthing PCT.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on which dental surgeries are taking adults who pay patient charges can be found on the NHS.UK website at www.nhs.uk. The information on the website is provided by primary care trusts (PCTs), and covers all national health service dental providers, not just principals and assistants in the general dental service.
The information on the site as at 2 March 2004 shows a total of 53 dental practices in Adur, Arun and Worthing PCT area, one of which is registering charge paying adults for treatment (four are registering charge exempt adults). For the Western Sussex PCT, 48 dental practices are listed, two of which are registering charge paying adults. The information does change regularly, often daily, and both the website and NHS Direct (which also uses the information) advise members of the public to telephone the dental practice to double check that the information is still accurate.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time is for digital hearing aids in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire; and if he will make a statement on measures he intends to take to reduce waiting times. 
Dr. Ladyman: Information on waiting times for non-consultant led specialities such as audiology is not collected centrally and so we are unable to estimate an average waiting time for digital hearing aids in England. At the end of December 2003, waiting times from
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referral to fitting at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital were 54 weeks for patients referred by the ear, nose and throat department, 56 weeks for those referred by general practitioners and 112 weeks for patients who self referred for reassessments. These times all include an eight-week period from assessment through to the fitting of the hearing aid.
The Royal National Institute for the Deaf modernisation team is carrying out a number of initiatives to reduce waiting times and new courses have been introduced to increase the number of audiologists available nationally.
Miss Melanie Johnson: There are no plans currently in place to require disclosure of company drug trial results. The Government welcome the pharmaceutical industry's support for the Department of Health's research governance framework for health and social care, which recognises that it is researchers' responsibility to ensure that research findings are opened to critical review through the accepted scientific and professional channels and disseminated promptly once established. The Government encourages the pharmaceutical industry to disclose drug trial results to the maximum extent consistent with regulatory process and intellectual property rights.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the mechanisms his Department uses to ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account at each stage of the policy formation process. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 23 February 2004]: The Department has recently reviewed its policy-making processes and is considering how best policy-makers can ensure that all relevant considerations are taken into account when formulating policy.
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Mr. Hutton: The Department has made no such estimate. Decisions on whether to offer employment to doctors, dentists and nurses from the accession countries are matters for local national health service employers.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the European Commission's proposal for a regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: In order to inform the United Kingdom negotiating position on this proposal, a full public consultation has been undertaken and an open meeting with stakeholders held. In addition, the Food Standards Agency, the lead Department for the proposal, has had detailed discussions with other Government Departments.
The Government welcomes the European Commission's proposal for harmonising rules on the regulation of nutrition and health claims and will seek, through the negotiation process, to provide adequate protection for consumers whilst minimising effects on the food industry.
Mr. Hutton: The funding will be made available to address the costs of highly complex and specialised cases for first wave national health service foundation trusts applicants for 200405 as the methodology to address these costs within the national tariff will not be complete until 200506.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health from which budget the funding for the risk fund for foundation trust applicants implementing the new financial flows reforms was transferred; and if he will make a statement. 
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