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Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to deal with (a) disruption of the supply of essential medicines and (b) health care workers falling ill in an avian flu pandemic. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: As part of their ongoing local planning, national health service trusts have put measures in place to deal with these issues. The United Kingdom influenza pandemic contingency plan sets out a framework for trusts to ensure their plans are suitable for an influenza pandemic.
Collection of information on the total amount that national health service organisations spend on cleaning began in 2000. The details for the financial years since then are shown in the following table.
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|Total expenditure on cleaning services|
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many assaults on NHS staff have been reported to the Counter Fraud and Security Management Service under the national reporting system; and what proportion of these assaults have results in criminal prosecutions. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: A national reporting system for physical assaults against national health service staff has been put in place and will be fully operational by summer 2005; after which the data collected will be evaluated and made available.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) investigations and (b) investigations specifically relating to timesheet fraud by bank and agency staff the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service and its predecessor, the NHS Counter Fraud Service, have conducted since September 1998; and how many of these investigations resulted in (i) unsuccessful criminal prosecutions, (ii)successful criminal prosecutions and (iii) civil and disciplinary cases. 
The number of investigations specifically relating to timesheet fraud by bank and agency staff is 120. Fraud was found to be present in 43 cases and not present in 77cases. A breakdown of sanctions applied in relation to timesheet fraud is listed as follows:
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what cross-border tracking of (a) adults and (b) children with (i) mental health and (ii) general health problems takes place between health authorities in England and Wales. 
[holding answer 4 March 2005]: In general terms, the primary care trust or local health board in whose area a patient is registered with a general practitioner (GP) practice will have responsibility for commissioning his or her care, regardless of what particular health problems he or she might have. When a patient moves across the border between England and Wales, we would expect that person to register with a
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GP practice at their earliest convenience, which then determines the authority responsible for their care. Their records will then be transferred to the new practice.
Some adults who have been in contact with mental health services will be subject to the multi-agency public protection panel arrangements. The arrangements for the tracking of individuals considered a risk to the public are detailed in paragraphs 76 and 77 of Probation Circular 54/2004, The MAPPA Guidance". This places the responsibility firmly on the responsible authorities (the relevant police and probation services) initiating the transfer to ensure that the receiving authorities have both the information and the time to put suitable arrangements into place. The arrangements for moves between Wales and England are the same as those between English regions. Health bodies have a duty to cooperate with police and probation services in making these arrangements function effectively.
Ms Rosie Winterton: We have no plans to extend the existing list of medical conditions that give exemption from prescription charges. The list has been reviewed on a number of occasions but no clear cut case for extending it has emerged. There is no consensus on what additional conditions might be included in any revised list of medical exemptions, or how distinctions could be drawn between one condition and another. Those dementia sufferers who are aged 60 or over are currently entitled to free prescriptions on the ground of age.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Westbury of 1 February 2005, Official Report, column 887W, on NHS Business Services Directory, what assessment he has made of the effects of the delay in implementation of the NHS dental contract on the merger of the Dental Practice Board into the proposed NHS Business Services Authority; and what the aims of establishing the new arm's length body are; 
(2) whether any of the £368 million additional funding promised for dentistry will be used to pay for the merger of the Dental Practice Board into the proposed NHS Business Services Authority. 
Ms Rosie Winterton
[holding answers 28 February and 1 March 2005]: The £368 million additional investment, which we announced on 16 July 2004, is for the development of national health service dentistry. The funding of the Department's arms length bodies, including the dental practice board (DPB), is from a separate source. The Department is working closely with the DPB to assess the impact of the rescheduled timetable for implementation of the new contractual arrangements for dentists on its operations. Plans are in place for the DPB to transfer the staff to the new Business Services Authority who will be required to deal with the expected workload. The NHS Pensions
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Agency, the Prescription Pricing Authority and the DPB will merge to create a new payment and transactions processing entity. The new body will be able to develop general business skills, drawing on the best practice of each of the constituent bodies.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Birmingham, Northfield constituency, the effects of changes to departmental policy since 1997 on Birmingham Northfield constituency. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Government have put in place a programme of national health service investment and reform since 1997 to improve service delivery in all parts of the United Kingdom. There is significant evidence that these policies have yielded considerable benefits for the Birmingham Northfield constituency.
At the end of December 2004, the number of people waiting more than nine months for In-patient treatment within the South Birmingham Primary Care Trust (PCT) has fallen to zero, from 165 in June 2002.
In June 2003, at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, 90.4 per Cent., of patients spent less than four hours in accident and emergency from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge. Figures for September 2004 show an improvement to 96.7 per cent.
Between September 1997 and June 2004, the number of consultants at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has increased from 204 to 290. Between September 1997 and September 2003, the number of nurses has increased from 1,635 to 2,199.
Figures for December 2004 show that all patients within South Birmingham PCT are able to be offered an appointment with a general practitioner within two working days and a primary care professional within one working day.
South Birmingham PCT is a Spearhead" PCT. The Spearhead" group of local authorities and PCTs will be used to assess the achievement of the Government targets to address geographical inequalities in life expectancy, cancer, heart disease, stroke and related diseases in 2010.
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