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Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the value of competency frameworks for health professionals working in dermatology; and what action he will take to ensure that they are rolled out across the NHS. 
Competency frameworks and national occupational standards are already being used in the national health service to design services that are more flexible and relate directly to patient choices and needs. The aim is to enable individuals to develop career pathways in accordance with local needs and their own abilities, enabling them to progress or gain access to other areas of work based on the competences that they have achieved.
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Skills for Health (SFH), the sector skills council for health, is currently considering the development of a competence framework that will cover all health professionals working in dermatology as part of its 200506 programme of work.
SFH is very much aware that the competency frameworks it produces need to be backed up with plans to spread their use. It is developing networks and other mechanisms to spread best practice in the use of competencies.
Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role the long-term conditions care group workforce team dermatology group has in the development of NHS dermatology services; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: The dermatology sub-group of the long-term conditions care group workforce team was established in May 2003, with a remit including assessing the make-up of the dermatology workforce, informing national planning processes and sharing good and innovative practice on a national and local level. The dermatology sub-group has worked with the British Dermatological Nursing Group to conduct a survey of dermatology nurses working in both primary and secondary care and analysis of the findings is now underway.
The sub-group has also helped develop a primary care nursing skin care course in conjunction with the university of Southampton. Further, the group is currently in the process of identifying a range of service models, that cover all levels of the patient pathway and include examples of good practice.
Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he will take to incorporate (a) specialist nurses and (b) non-consultant career grade doctors within e-booking for dermatology. 
Mr. Hutton: The Choose and Book service is available to be rolled-out to all clinics that receive outpatient referrals from general practitioners. This includes dermatology clinics run by specialist nurses and non-consultant career grade doctors. The implementation of Choose and Book in clinics that do not provide consultant outpatient services is a matter for providers, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, to decide on locally.
Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of e-booking on the (a) workload of and (b) quality of patient care by dermatology consultants. 
Mr. Hutton: Electronic booking through the choose and book service is expected to have a positive impact on secondary care working practices and has significant potential to reduce consultant workload.
An independent report produced by Yorkshire Institute for Clinical and Health Informatics (December 2003) found that electronic booking reduced did-not attend rates and offers substantial benefits to patients who were able to choose convenient appointments that fitted in with their other commitments at work and home.
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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has had with the European Commission on the supporting, co-ordinating and complementary action which may be undertaken by the EU in the field of protection and improvement of human health under article I-17 of the proposed EU constitution. 
|England, as at 30 September 2003||Doctors||Population||Doctors per 100,000 population|
|General Medical Practitioners(62)||33,564||49,855,740||67.3|
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many drug overdose admissions there were to accident and emergency departments in (a) 2002, (b) 2003 and (c) 2004, broken down by hospital. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information is not collected on the number of attendances at accident and emergency departments related to drug overdoses. However, data on the number of emergency admissions via A and E related to drug overdoses by National health service trust for 2002, 2003 and 2004 have been placed in the Library.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's policy regarding the retention of e-mails in electronic
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form (a) after and (b) up to 1 January 2005; and what instructions have been given regarding the deletion of e-mails prior to 1 January 2005. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not hold centrally a record of individual tenders, nor does it have similar details for its agencies. To secure such details would involve disproportionate cost.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his statement before the Health Select Committee on 8 December 2004, when he will provide the information that he undertook to supply to the Committee in response to the questions from the hon. Member for West Chelmsford. 
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