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Dr. Ladyman: The Department does not collect information on the numbers of people newly registered with general practitioners. Information is collected only on the total number of patients registered. This is shown in the table.
|Essex||Southend-on-Sea Primary Care Trust||Southend-on-Sea Primary Care Group|
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what procedures the Food Standards Agency has in place to ensure that meat imported into the UK from EU countries is fit for human consumption; 
(2) what representations the Food Standards Agency has received in the last three years concerning imports from or via the EU, with particular reference to the standards of hygiene and inspection in operation in abattoirs. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: European Union (EU) Hygiene Directives regulate intra-community trade in meat and meat products and these apply uniformly across the EU. Directive 89/662 places the onus on the originating member state to ensure that meat for intra-community trade is compliant with EU legislation and fit for human consumption. The receiving member state may only carry out non-discriminatory spot checks. To that end, meat received into the United Kingdom from other member states is subject to the same inspection requirements as domestically produced meat, although there are additional checks in licensed meat plants for the presence of specified risk material in imported beef and sheep meat.
The Food Standards Agency has received a number of representations seeking reassurance that meat sent to the UK from other member states and from third countries complies with legislative and food safety requirements.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what inquiries he has made into payments made to the right hon. Member for Darlington by companies involved in major commercial deals with the NHS; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 March 2005]: None. Any arrangements between my right hon. Friend and commercial companies are subject to the ministerial code and to the requirement on all hon. Members to make appropriate declarations in the Register of Members' Interests.
Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the position of Mr.W. A. Wood of Solihull on the waiting list for hearing appliances with Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull Hospital Hearing Department. 
Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been issued on the use by NHS trusts of treatments within a class of treatments during the period of the appraisal of that class of treatments by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence; and what steps are taken to ensure that guidance is followed. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Health Service Circular 1999/176, issued in August 1999, indicates that national health service bodies should continue with local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies where guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is not available at the time the technology first becomes available. These arrangements should involve an assessment of the available evidence on clinical effectiveness.
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Following the Department's Shifting the Balance of Power" initiative, responsibility for local health services lies with the local NHS. It is now for primary care trusts, in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders, to plan, develop and improve services for local people in accordance with national standards that include following NICE guidance.
Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to address the shortcomings in the management of the Paddington Health Campus Project identified in the National Audit Office, Treasury and Department of Health Review of September 2004. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 March 2005]: Since the publication of the review, revised project management governance structures have been set up to strengthen the management and oversight of the project team, and ensure there is proper accountability to the strategic health authority and the Department. The governance of the project, and the strength and skill set of the project team is kept under constant review.
Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the land arrangement set out in the December 2004 outline business case for the Paddington Health Campus was rejected by his Department. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 March 2005]: The Department did not reject the land proposal set out in the December 2004 outline business case (OBC). As part of the process of testing the robustness of the OBC, the Department questioned the overall value for money of the land transaction. This challenge resulted in a counter proposal being put forward, which involved Westminster city council undertaking land swaps with the private sector property developer, Paddington Development Corporation Ltd. This counter offer is currently being evaluated by the Paddington Health Campus project team. The result of this evaluation is scheduled to be with the Department by the middle of March.
[holding answer 4 March 2005]: The outline business case for the Paddington Health Campus submitted to the Department in December 2004 included provision for 923 in-patient beds. This is made up of 835 national health service in-patient beds and 88 private beds. This figure compares with an earlier estimate of 1,088 in-patient beds made in 2003. In the intervening time, the Paddington Health Campus has been subjected to a major review of the clinical needs. This review had a major focus on activity that could be redistributed into the community in line with recent NHS policy. It is a reflection on the success of that review, and the commitment of local primary care trusts to take on the activity, that bed numbers have reduced.
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Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the outturn costs of the Paddington Health Campus Project set out in the outline business case of December 2004. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 March 2005]: The outline business case for the Paddington Health Campus project is currently being evaluated by the Department. This evaluation includes a robust testing of the accuracy and affordability of the costings underpinning the business case.
Miss Melanie Johnson: Funding for cancer services is included in primary care trust (PCT) baselines. It is for PCTs, in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders, to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities. Their decisions need to be based on the specialised knowledge they have of the local community, this includes the need for treatment of prostate cancer in their area. 80 per cent., of funding is devolved to PCT level.
There are a number of initiatives under way to improve treatment of prostate cancers as set out in Making Progress on Prostate Cancer", published in November 2004. PCTs will need to take any funding implications of these initiatives into account. Copies of Making Progress on Prostate Cancer" are available in the Library.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how long the waiting time is for treatment for prostate cancer at the Leicester General Hospital; and what the equivalent time was in 2004. 
Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is not available in the format requested. Data is not available centrally on waiting times for all cancer patients. A two week out-patient waiting time standard from urgent general practitioner referral with suspected cancer to first out-patient appointment with a specialist was introduced in 2000.
At the University Hospitals of Leicester national health service trust in the last quarter, quarter 2 of 200405, 100 per cent. of urgent referrals for suspected urological cancers, including prostate cancer, were seen within two weeks of urgent referral by their GP. The same performance was achieved for quarter 2 of 200304.
The NHS cancer plan sets out our strategy to reduce waiting times for cancer patients. From 2005, all cancer patients will wait a maximum of one month from diagnosis to treatment and two months from urgent referral for suspected cancer to treatment except for a good clinical reason or through patient choice. Data on achievement of NHS cancer plan waiting times targets are published for strategic health authorities and trusts on the Department's website at http://www.performance.doh.gov.uk/cancerwaits/.
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