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7 Dec 2004 : Column 503W—continued

GP Fundholding

Dr. Richard Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on differences between practice-based commissioning and GP fundholding. [202225]

Mr. Hutton: Practice Based commissioning lacks Fundholding's inequitable distribution of resources, will involve competition on quality rather than price and any savings from Practice Based Commissioning will be directly invested in patient services.

Health Direct

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the (a) costs of establishing and (b) running costs of Health Direct. [199479]

Miss Melanie Johnson: An announcement concerning the cost of Health Direct will be made in due course.
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Health Promotion

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the first pilot on the effectiveness on promoting health and well-being through the workplace, as described in the White Paper, Choosing Health, Cm 6374, paragraph 25, to be established. [199448]

Miss Melanie Johnson: "Choosing Health—Making healthier choices easier" sets out a range of initiatives to improve activity levels.

The Big Lottery Fund, the British Heart Foundation and Sport England are currently in the process of selecting the first wave of pilots which will commence in 2005. Full details will be published in due course.

Health White Paper

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the cost of the Healthy Start communications campaign, as defined in the White Paper, Choosing Health, Cm 6374, paragraph 38; [199464]

(2) what the cost to date has been on publicity campaigns for the Welfare Food Scheme. [199465]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The welfare food scheme has been in existence since 1940 and information campaigns have been run periodically. The most recent communication campaign was to promote the new application process for pregnant women, introduced on 1 October 2004, that provides greater opportunities for healthcare professionals to offer pregnant women advice on diet and nutrition. This campaign, which is the first stage of the reform of the welfare food scheme, cost £78,923, including the distribution of the materials through the waiting room information service.

To support this new application procedure and the implementation of "Healthy Start", we published an infant feeding and child nutrition resource pack on 26 November 2004 that has been distributed to all members of the Royal College of Midwives and the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association. We are currently drawing up further plans for a comprehensive communications campaign to promote "Healthy Start" to parents, health professionals and food outlets. The implementation of this and a number of other initiatives announced will be in a delivery plan for the White Paper to be published early in 2005.

Healthy Eating

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that all primary care trusts work with other relevant bodies to develop a healthy food policy for their area. [201881]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The White Paper "Choosing Health" identifies a healthy diet as one of the priorities for preventing ill health in future as part of our new approach to public health. We aim to publish a delivery plan early in 2005, which will give details on implementing the commitments made in the White Paper, including the particular roles and responsibilities for health improvement of all health organisations. As part of this delivery programme, we will also publish a delivery plan for food and health.
7 Dec 2004 : Column 505W

Hospital Infections

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital trusts in England have equipment to identify MRSA on admission to hospital. [200889]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Information on the equipment used in trusts is not collected centrally. All national health service trusts have access to microbiology laboratory facilities that can identify methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus by traditional culture methods. Newer rapid screening methods are being developed and may be used in some trusts.

Invoice Payments

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average length of time was between the date of invoices issued to his Department from a supplier and payment by the Department of the invoice in the last 12 months for which figures are available; what percentage of these invoices were paid within 30 days of the date of issue of the invoice; what percentage of these invoices remained unpaid after 90 days; and if he will make a statement on the Department's policy on the payment of invoices issued to it. [200621]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not analyse its records in a way which would readily show the average time taken to pay invoices. 93.29 per cent. of all invoices, in the year November 2003 to October 2004, were paid within 30 days.

Currently 0.14 per cent. of invoices remain unpaid after 90 days.

The Department's policy is that; where there is no contractual provision or other understanding or accepted practice governing the time of payment, the Department should pay within 30 days of receipt of goods and services, or of the presentation of a valid invoice or similar demand for payment, whichever is the later.

Laryngectomy Patients

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which items are available on prescription to laryngectomy patients; [200273]

(2) what mechanisms are in place to inform general practitioners of the availability of items on prescription, with particular reference to laryngectomy patients. [200274]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Part IXA of the drug tariff lists tracheostomy and laryngectomy appliances that are available on prescription to national health service patients.

General practitioners receive a copy of the drug tariff on a monthly basis through their primary care trust.

Making Amends

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish the Government's response to the Making Amends consultation. [203143]

7 Dec 2004 : Column 506W

Ms Rosie Winterton: Consultation ended on 17 October 2003. The responses are being used to help further develop detailed policy proposals. An announcement will be made in due course.

Mental Illness (Smoking Cessation)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people suffering from mental illness have been referred to NHS Smoking Cessation programmes. [203195]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested is not collected centrally.

NHS Plus Services

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the costs of increasing availability of NHS Plus services described in the "Choosing Health" White Paper. [202270]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The services of NHS Plus occupational health departments are provided on a commercial basis. Any surplus funds over and above the cost of supplying services may be used to expand the activities of NHS Plus. NHS Plus is run as an income generation scheme in accordance with the guidance issued in the national health service finance manual, "NHS Trusts—Detailed Guidance" chapter 30. It is not anticipated that increasing the availability of NHS Plus services will be a cost to the Department.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures his Department will take to audit NHS Plus services. [202280]

Ms Rosie Winterton: NHS Plus is the title under which about 100 trusts sell occupational health services to non-national health service employers, largely focused on small and medium sized enterprises. Each of the occupational health departments providing these services audits its own work in accordance with the clinical governance arrangements of the trust. The Department does not collect centrally, audit data from individual trusts.

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