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Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he takes to ensure the widespread distribution of guidance his Department publishes on the use of mobile telephones; 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The National Radiological Protection Board publication Mobile Phones and Health 2004", announced on 11 January by Sir William Stewart, has reviewed progress since the Stewart recommendations nearly five years ago. The new report notes that
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the needfor the NHS to set aside contingency funds in case of future civil litigation from patients who have contracted MRSA in hospital; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has not made any assessments on the need to set aside a contingency fund for future litigation by patients who have contracted methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hospital.
The National Health Service Litigation Authority runs risk pooling" schemes to indemnify trusts and specific other eligible NHS bodies against civil litigation, including from patients who have contracted MRSA in hospital through a hospital's negligence.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which strains of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) acute trusts are required to report; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 4 February 2005]: The mandatory surveillance system for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) collects data on all MRSA bloodstream infections regardless of which strain caused the infection.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the annual increase in the NHS budget needed to meet the higher costs associated with (a) an ageing population and (b) improved healthcare technology; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: Sir Derek Wanless in his report, Securing our Future Health: Taking a Long Term View", published in April 2002 indicated that the cost impact of increased life expectancy is likely to be small compared with other cost drivers.
Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practices in each cluster area have been supplied with new computer systems under the terms of the National Programme for NHS IT. 
To date, 18 general practice sites have been supplied with new computer systems for general practitioners under the national programme for
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information technology. 17 of these sites are in the programme's London cluster, and the other is in the North East cluster. In addition, the choose and book service, with associated spine components, has gone live in 13 practices across the London, Southern, Eastern, and North East clusters.
Mr. Hutton: Picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) are a tried and valuable technology, which is already in use across the national health service. The PACS solution to be provided as a core service from September 2004 under the national programme for information technology is available to all NHS trusts in England. A number of orders have been placed to commence implementation work under the new contracts but no implementations are yet complete. The timescales for implementation vary in each cluster area according to the requirements and state of readiness of each trust.
Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will delay any contractual commitment by Portsmouth hospitals trust to rebuild Queen Alexandra hospital, Cosham by way of a private finance initiative until he has received the recommendations of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board was established; what its annual budget is in 200405; how many staff it employs; and how many registrations of consultants have been approved since its inception. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 February 2005]: We have made grants of £2.8 million to the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) for 200405 and we are now discussing a final payment for the year with them.
As at 31 January 2005, PMETB directly employed 1.4 full-time equivalent substantive staff, had 1.4 full-time equivalent staff on secondment from related organisations, and 16 staff on fixed-term or consultant contracts or employed temporarily through agencies.
PMETB will not take on responsibility for issuing certificates of completion of training for those eligible to apply for consultant posts until its intended launch in September this year. Until then certification remains the responsibility of the Specialist Training Authority of the Medical Royal Colleges as the existing competent authority in this field.
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the income to be received by his Department from pre-payment certificates for prescription charges in real terms in (a) 200506, (b) 200607, (c) 200708, (d) 200809 and (e) 200910. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Income from the sale of pre-payment certificates (PPCs) is expected to be around £66 million in 200405. Income in future years would depend on the cost of PPCs in each year and the numbers sold, but in real terms, income is likely to at least match the expected income in the current year.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many research and development procurement opportunities were disseminated by the Department to small and medium-sized enterprises registered through the Small Business Research Initiative in each year since 200102 to date; and what the value of such opportunities was in each case. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: All calls for research proposals published by the Department are open to all research providers able to meet the requirements of the brief. Some limitations are imposed in the national programme on new and emerging applications of technology, which funds the development of innovative health and social care products and interventions where there is no commercial sponsor for the technology in its present state of development.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of treating people with smoking-related diseases; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 4 February 2005]: The latest estimate available was made in 1997, when the then Health Education Authority estimated that treating illness and disease caused by smoking costs the national health service up to £1.7 billion every year in terms of general practitioner visits, prescriptions, treatment and operations. (Buck D., Godfrey C., Parrott S., Raw M., University of York Centre for Health Economics, Cost effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions". Health Education Authority, 1997. A copy is available in the Library.)
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