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NHS Commercial Activity

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what controls regulate the distribution within NHS premises of commercial products to patients where the giving of permission to distribute generates an income stream for NHS trusts. [186179]

Mr. Hutton: Income generation schemes are those that rely on Section 7(1) of the Health and Medicines Act 1988. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State has delegated these income generating powers to all national health service trusts, including ambulance and mental health trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities. Guidance, clearly setting out under what circumstances income generation powers can be used, was issued to the NHS in November 2001. A copy of the guidance is available in the Library.

NHS Direct (Isle of Wight/Hampshire)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many calls were received by NHS Direct in
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the Isle of Wight and Hampshire in each month since the facility opened; and what categories of information he collects about the types of (a) call received and (b) response given. [185804]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 22 July 2004]: The available information concerning calls received by the NHS Direct call centre serving Hampshire and the Isle of Wight since November 2001 is shown in the table.
Month and yearHampshire and the Isle of Wight—calls answered

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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who took the decision to locate the NHS Direct call centre which serves the Isle of Wight and Hampshire in Southampton; when the decision was taken; when the facility opened; how many full-time equivalent staff were employed there in each year since opening; what criteria were used in determining its location; what the cost of (a) the premises and (b) staffing is in the current financial year; whether the staff are directly employed by the national health service; how many are on each grade; what the cost was of furnishing and equipping the premises; and what other premises were considered. [185808]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 22 July 2004]: Due to an increase in call volumes and the success of the pilot NHS Direct service for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the existing premises at Highcroft in Winchester, which had been the location of the initial call centre since March 1999, were considered to be unsuitable for the growth of the service. In February 2001, the NHS Direct management team within the Department, in consultation with external estates advisers and NHS Estates, decided to locate a new call centre at Berrywood Business Village, Hedge End. The selection criteria used for deciding the location of the new call centre included access by public and private transport and security for staff attending and leaving work. The new call centre was opened in September 2001. Other locations considered were Silver Hill in Winchester, Link 414 in Chandlers Ford, Easton Lane in Winchester and Belbins Business Park in Romsey.

The cost of furnishing and equipping the premises was £1.6 million. Current accommodation costs and capital charges are £750,000 per year.

There are currently 136 whole time equivalent (wte) staff employed by the NHS Direct special health authority at the call centre. 58 of the staff are nurses (G grade), 47 are health information advisers (administrative and clerical 5) and the rest are managers or support staff. Staffing costs for the
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current financial year are £4.53 million. Staff numbers in previous years were 125 (wte) in 2001–02, 140 (wte) in 2002–03 and 140 (wte) in 2003–04.

NHS Health and Safety

Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the Government achieved their target of eradicating the fire safety backlog on the NHS estate by March 2003; [182450]

(2) what further progress has been made towards meeting his earlier target of making 90 per cent. of the NHS estate health and safety compliant by March; [182451]

(3) what percentage of the NHS estate was health and safety compliant and what the cost was of the health and safety repair backlog, in (a) March 2003 and (b) March 2004. [182452]

Mr. Hutton: Trusts that did not report full compliance will cover a wide variety of conditions, including that which is only just below standard. At 31 March 2003, 9 per cent. of patient-occupied floor area was below health and safety compliance and 7.10 per cent, below statutory fire safety standards.

Trusts manage high-risk deficiencies as a priority in order to ensure that premises are intrinsically safe and not of concern to local enforcement bodies.

The cost of the health and safety repair backlog is currently being validated and on completion I will write to my hon. Friend.

NHS Improvement Plan

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reason there are targets in the NHS improvement plan for reducing deaths from some medical conditions but not others; and if he will make a statement; [183695]

(2) for what reason the NHS improvement plan target for reducing deaths from (a) heart disease, (b) stroke and (c) cancer is limited to those aged under 75 years. [183699]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 13 July 2004]: Deaths from coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer account for around 65 per cent. of all deaths each year—346,792 in England and Wales in 2002.

Targets for these conditions are included in the NHS Improvement Plan, as they are the major killers and the Government wishes to focus on tackling those diseases, which will have the greatest impact on public health.

The impact of preventative and treatment measures in coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer is more likely to be demonstrated in changing trends of those aged under 75. These changes can only be demonstrated using robust data, which is suitable for international comparisons. The quality of assignment of cause of death is stronger for people under age 75 and we have focused the targets on them.

We are committed to ensuring that treatment should be available based on clinical need and there should not be discrimination of any kind. It is important to note
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that monitoring activity is not restricted to the age range of the target and we will continue to monitor closely trends for those over the age of 75.

NHS IT Programme

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the gateway review of the elements of the National Programme for IT in the NHS; and if he will make a statement. [185963]

Mr. Hutton: I have no current plans to do so.

The Office of Government Commerce Gateway process is an integral part of the assurance mechanism for ensuring that large-scale procurement projects and programmes meet prescribed planning and governance requirements and that they can progress successfully to the next stage. Gateway reports, in the form of advice guidance from experienced practitioners, are provided at key stages in a project or programme's development cycle. They are made direct to the senior responsible owner (SRO) and are confidential in order not to impair the value of the advice. The SRO has responsibility for ensuring that any recommendations are addressed before the project is permitted to proceed.

NHS Number

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he intends to make the NHS Number a general identifier as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998; and if he will make a statement. [185957]

Mr. Hutton: National health service numbers are assigned to all patients who receive NHS care, and underpin the development of electronic care records. Departmental officials have formed the view that the widespread use of the NHS number means that it is a "general identifier" within the meaning of the European data protection directive and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act and therefore formal regulations should be introduced to regulate its use.

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