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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make additional resources available to primary care trusts for anti-TNF prescribing for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (a) in Solihull and (b) elsewhere; and if he will make a statement. [199093]

Dr. Ladyman: In line with our policy to Shift the Balance of Power, responsibility for the funding and delivery of health services now rests with primary care trusts (PCTs) and funding to implement the guidance and recommendations of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence are included within their general allocations.

The national health service is currently receiving the largest sustained increase in funding in its history. The total of PCT allocations is £49.3 billion for 2O04–05 and £53.9 billion for 2005–06. Over the three years 2003–04 to 2005–06 funding will increase by £12.7 billion, or 30.8 per cent.

Royal Berkshire Hospital

Mr. Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans there are to increase the number of intensive care beds in the Royal Berkshire hospital. [198985]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In line with our policy of "Shifting the Balance of Power", it is now for primary care trusts (PCTs) in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders to plan, develop
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and improve services for local people. We recognise that health services are better when management is devolved to the frontline. Within the framework set out in the NHS Plan and other policy documents, PCTs, with their specialised knowledge of the local community are effectively able to manage and improve local services.

I understand that the West Berkshire commissioners approved the addition of one additional intensive care unit bed (ICU) at the Royal Berkshire Hospital on 11 November 2004, with effect from April 2005. This will bring the total number of ICU beds available to nine.

Sexual Health

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of the cost of over-the-counter contraceptives on the sexual health of the population. [198991]

Miss Melanie Johnson: As part of the White Paper on Public Health, published on 16 November, we will carry out an audit of contraceptive service provision in early 2005 and invest centrally to meet gaps in local services in particular to ensure that the full range of contraceptive services is available, good practice is spread and services modernised. People can choose to purchase some methods of contraception over the counter, namely emergency hormonal contraception; male and female condoms; other female barrier methods; spermicides and fertility devices, but the price charged is a matter for individual pharmacists.
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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer of 15 October 2004, Official Report, column 404W, on sexually transmitted diseases, if he will break down the number of cases by disease diagnosed; [192925]

(2) how many were sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed in each primary care trust in each year since 1997; and how many patients sought advice, diagnosis or treatment for suspected sexually transmitted diseases in each primary care trust in each year since 1997. [198990]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Information showing the number of new diagnoses made at genito-urinary medicine clinics of each sexually transmitted diseases reported for each of the London primary care trusts between 1997 and 2003 has been placed in the Library.

Data on the patients seeking advice, diagnoses or treatment for suspected sexually transmitted diseases in each primary care trust are not held centrally.

Silzone Heart Valves

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library information collated by the UK Heart Valve Registry concerning adverse incidents involving the St. Jude Silzone heart valve. [193089]

Miss Melanie Johnson: This information is not held by the Department.

Social Services

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to improve joint working between the NHS and Social Services in North Staffordshire in respect of care for the elderly. [198598]

Dr. Ladyman: Health Act partnership arrangements have been introduced to help break down the barriers between the national health services and local authority services by removing existing constraints in the system and increasing flexibility in the provision and commissioning of services.

Decisions on how best to improve joint working are taken locally, in response to local conditions.

Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic Health Authority reports that two older people's partnership boards have been established to ensure joint working arrangements are robust in North Staffordshire.

Specialist Service Payments

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what safeguards have been put in place by his Department to ensure that specialist services not paid for under Payment by Results will be protected in the eventuality of overspends on services which are covered by the national tariff. [195401]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 3 November 2004, Official Report, column 326W.

Steri-X System

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of
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the Steri-X system in killing pathogenic bacteria, including (a) MRSA, (b) E coli, (c) Legionella pneumophilia Salmonella enteritidis and (d) Pseudomonas aeruginosa; and when the Steri-X system was first added to the NHS list of approved products. [194785]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Department does not assess the efficacy of such products, but we have convened a rapid review panel to review information and evidence relating to claims concerning prevention or control of such infections. The manufacturers/suppliers of Steri-X have been invited to submit their products to the panel.

The National Health Service Purchasing and Supplies Agency does not have an approved list of products.

Theft and Fraud

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the cost of theft and fraud to (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies in each year since 1997. [191426]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department and its agencies have recorded losses, including thefts, to the value of £429,667 in financial years 1997–2004 to date. The Department takes the protection of its information technology systems and assets very seriously and the its security policy and procedures are kept under constant review. Table 1 shows a breakdown of individual years for the Department and the totals for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MRHA) and the National Health Service Purchasing and Supply Agency.
Table 1

Financial YearTotal losses (£)
2004–05 to date25,857.00
Total losses429,667.00

Table 2 shows figures for fraud, provided by the NHS counter fraud and security management service.
Table 2

YearDepartmentAgenciesNon-departmental public bodiesTotal

(43) From MHRA—this includes a stolen cheque for £162,000, which should be reimbursed by the bank. The case is in the hands of their lawyers. This was included in the 2003–04 Her Majesty's Treasury fraud return.

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