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Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the UK is reserving the right not to implement Council of Europe Recommendation No. Rec (2004) 10 concerning the protection of the human rights and dignity of persons with mental disorder; and which sections of the Recommendation it objects to. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
The Government fully supports the majority of the Recommendation, including the principle that involuntary placement of persons with mental disorder should include a therapeutic purpose. We had no wish to oppose its adoption. However, because we are in the process of revising important aspects of legislation in England and Wales on mental health and mental capacity, we were not in a position to identify definitively whether there were specific points in the Recommendation on which we might wish to reserve our right not to comply. We therefore said that, at this
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stage, the United Kingdom wished to reserve its right not to comply with the provisions of the Recommendation generally.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the NHS has sufficient stocks of the MMR vaccine to cope with additional demand in the event of an outbreak of measles or mumps; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: Sufficient stocks of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are held and will be made available should an outbreak of measles or mumps (or rubella) occur. This should not cause any disruption to the childhood programme.
Mr. Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the financing arrangements are for the National Programme for IT in the national health service; and what steps the Government are taking to secure the buy-in of clinicians to the programme. 
Mr. Hutton: £2.3 billion has been earmarked from central funding for the national programme for information technology (NPfIT) over the three years 200304 to 200506. This will be complemented by national health service baseline spending on IT, already around £1 billion a year in the NHS as a whole. The roll-out of core national applications will continue to come from this earmarked sum. Individual general practitioner practices will receive funding to upgrade to NPfIT systems through their primary care trusts (PCTs). In addition, the NPfIT will cover the cost of suppliers developing training material, including e-training services, and training the trainers in the use of new IT services. In all, over £6 billion worth of contracts are now in place covering the whole lifetime of the NPfIT.
Consultation and dialogue with clinical and other professional representative groups has been central to the NPfIT at all stages. As well as the national professional bodies and groups, the NPfIT team has also engaged closely with individual expert primary care practitioners, including practising GPs. This consultation helped to inform the user requirement which was published in the NPfIT's output-based specification. Clinicians and users were also involved in evaluating the proof of solution demonstrators developed by suppliers, and in evaluating the supplier bid. In the procurement and delivery process, particularly in the development and testing phases, representative stakeholders are being consulted to ensure that their requirements and concerns are taken into account and that a proper focus on delivering benefits is maintained through all phases of the NPflT.
In addition, the care record development board, whose establishment we announced in July, has its membership drawn from clinicians as well as representatives of patients and social care. Each of the component projects of the NPfIT also has a clinical lead.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investigation has been made into the case of the process for transferring data from the current primary care computer system to the National Programme for IT. 
Mr. Hutton: The National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) aims to ensure that new systems integrate and interoperate with existing systems, and is providing the testing environment for existing systems suppliers to achieve compliance and integration with NPfIT systems. In most cases, existing electronic patient records will be able to interface with NPfIT systems and the nationally available national health service care records service.
The migration of data is not a novel process and occurs at local level every time there is a refresh or upgrade of existing systems. Standard IT protocols allow for data to be recovered if problems are encountered during transfer to ensure that data is not lost, and the NPflTs contracts with its suppliers require data back-ups to be taken regularly.
Mr. Hutton: Prior to the National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT), individual general practitioner practices or primary care trusts were able to procure IT support to their own specification and contractual arrangements This has resulted in a fragmented and disparate approach to specification, standards, interoperability, system availability and performance. A number of general practice surgeries and hospitals have some form of electronic patient record, some of which can share information within the practice or hospital. However, because of the wide variety of systems in use, information cannot easily be shared outside the location in which it originates. This inhibits the sharing of patient information and the development and implementation of care pathways. But many organisations are still largely paper-based, which creates a serious obstacle to the modernisation of care, including delivery of national service frameworks. The NPfIT will address this by creating a nationwide electronic system, allowing the transfer of patient records and images, electronic prescribing and the online booking of hospital appointments.
The NPfIT is providing powerful IT solutions to improve capacity and performance and deliver key national health service priorities. There are four key deliverables: electronic appointment booking, an integrated care records service, electronic prescribing and an underpinning IT infrastructure with sufficient connectivity and broadband capacity to support the critical national applications and local systems. Additional functions will include GP to GP messaging, which will cut the time needed to find essential information, notes and test results, instantaneous digital picture archiving, and clinical decision support tools. The result will be to relieve doctors of unnecessary administrative burdens, and free up their time to do what they do bestdeliver better, faster and safer care to more patients.
However, the key focus of benefits from implementing NPfIT is on patients. For example, electronic booking of hospital appointments will bring patient choice and convenience as well as reducing non-attendance, which costs the NHS millions of pounds each year. Electronic storage and transmission of patient images will reduce the need for repeat X-rays
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and will reduce diagnostic waiting times. As a result, patients will experience a modern, IT-enabled NHS when they come into contact with the service.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the National Programme for IT has been subject to testing and user feedback to ensure that it will work as efficiently as the current system. 
Mr. Hutton: Many of the components which the National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) will deliver across the national health service are already in use at a local level and many of the technologies are already well proven. There have also been a number of pilot projects to examine the operation of electronic booking which has been in existence in England in this form since 2002. These have demonstrated that where patients participate in the booking of their appointments and admissions, they are far more likely to attend. Electronic patient records and electronic prescribing are examples of existing systems already in use at a local level and the NPfIT has received feedback on the advantages of these systems from clinicians, managers and administrators.
Consultation and dialogue with clinical and other professional representative groups has been central to the NPfIT at all stages. As well as the national professional bodies and groups, the NPfIT team has also engaged closely with individual expert primary care practitioners, including practising general practitioners. This consultation helped to inform the user requirement which was published in the NPflT's output-based specification. Clinicians and users were also involved in evaluating the proof of solution demonstrators developed by suppliers, and in evaluating the supplier bid. In the procurement and delivery process, particularly in the development and testing phases, representative stakeholders are being consulted to ensure that their requirements and concerns are taken into account and that a proper focus on delivering benefits is maintained through all phases of the NPflT.
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