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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes have been introduced to improve the (a) hygiene of wards, (b) speed of response of staff when called by patients, (c) provision of cold water, (d) availability of ice cubes, (e) regularity with which bedding is changed, (f) cleanliness of toilets, (g) availability of plain food for patients and (h) prevention of acquisition and spread of MRSA in King's College Hospital, London, since 29 June. 
Mr. Hutton: Waiting times data are collected by consultant specialty and not for specific conditions. Specialty level data would include various conditions as well as myasthenia gravis disorders. Therefore it is not possible to determine the waits for myasthenia gravis.
Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dental practices in the London borough of Wandsworth provide NHS treatment; what the number was in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints he received regarding the availability of NHS dentistry in the London Borough of Havering for (a) 1997 and (b) 2004; and what the figures are for all other London boroughs. 
Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not collected centrally. Local trusts, in partnership with their health community, have responsibility for local services and the support systems which they have put in place and a corresponding responsibility to improve upon these. It is, therefore, appropriate that they investigate complaints and respond accordingly.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS dentists were operating in the London Borough of Havering in (a) 1997 and (b) 2004; and what the figures are for all other London boroughs. 
|Barking and Dagenham||50||57|
|Bexley Care Trust||94||95|
|City and Hackney||99||94|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||121||150|
|Kensington and Chelsea||83||82|
|Richmond and Twickenham||98||112|
|Sutton and Merton||174||190|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 29 July 2004, ref.185963, on NHS IT, if he will publish a summary of the recommendations of the Gateway review. 
Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what reviews his Department has undertaken into the financial viability of (a) contractors and (b) sub-contractors of companies working on the NHS National Programme for Information Technology; 
(2) if the Department will ask Accenture to report on the (a) financial standing and (b) accounting treatment of revenues and profits at iSoft. 
Mr. Hutton: It is a standard precautionary business practice to commission financial and market assessments of prospective business partners. In addition to the financial evaluation of companies as pare of the Official Journal of the European Union competitive process, all organisations tendering to become prime contractors of the national programme for information technology, and relevant sub-contractors, were subjected to financial and market assessments before contractual arrangement were entered into. This was undertaken by specialist advisers; themselves and selected by competitive process.
The Department has no current plans separately to ask Accenture for a report specifically on the financial standing of its subcontractor iSoft, or on the accounting treatment of revenues and profits by the company. These are matters between iSoft and its auditors.
Mr. Hutton: We are aware from press reports that iSoft has recently suspended one of its executive directors and anticipate that a further announcement will be made by the company following the completion of its internal investigations. We do not regard it as the business of the Department to inquire into the circumstances of the suspension. This is a matter for the company to resolve with the director concerned.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes are proposed to the NHS pension scheme; and how many existing contributing members to the scheme there are in each (a) region and (b) county. 
Mr. Hutton: The NHS Confederation is leading a review of the National Health Service Pension Scheme, in partnership with the NHS Pensions Agency, the National Assembly for Wales, the Department of Health and the NHS Trade Unions. The review has made good progress but formal proposals have not yet been finalised. The aim is to have proposals ready for consultation by the end of autumn.
The NHS Pension Scheme currently has over 1.1 million contributing members. Unfortunately, it is not possible, due to the way in which the NHS Pensions Agency holds its data, to identify the geographical profile of the membership.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to initiate a register of interests for NHS medical practitioners to declare (a) shares in, (b) gifts from and (c) other interests in pharmaceutical companies. 
Mr. Hutton: All national health service staff are already required to declare interests, gifts and sponsorship which might be seen to compromise their position on local registers. The Department last reviewed this in 2002 and considers the current arrangements to be adequate.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what systems are in place to monitor the amount of drugs prescribed to NHS patients which have been donated by pharmaceutical companies as promotional material. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
The supply of samples by pharmaceutical companies is regulated under the Medicines (Advertising) Regulations 1994. These stipulate that a free sample must be of the smallest pack of a medicine available for sale, that it may only be provided to a prescriber in response to a written request and that it should be clearly labelled as a promotional sample not for resale. We expect primary care trusts to act on any local evidence that promotional material is being misused.
14 Sept 2004 : Column 1503W
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