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Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 15 March 2005]: Any decisions about the configuration of ambulance trusts are a matter for the local health economy to consider, led by the strategic health authority (SHA) and in consultation with patients and the public. Under section 11 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, national health service bodies are under a duty to consult and involve patients, the public and their representatives in the planning of changes to services, and to involve them in decisions affecting the operation of services. Should a proposal to change services represent a substantial development or variation, NHS bodies are under a duty to consult relevant local authority overview and scrutiny committees.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients living in the Ribble Valley have had operations or other medical treatments funded by the NHS in European countries in each of the last three years. 
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) assessment he has made of the scope for the use of essential oils in dealing with MRSA and (b) funding he intends to provide for research into the use of such oils in combating MRSA. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The scientific literature indicates that essential oils can help control health care associated infections, including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The Department has allocated £3 million to research into health care associated infection and has recently issued a call for research proposals. If a proposal on essential oils is submitted, it will be carefully considered alongside others.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 March 2005, Official Report, column 1911W, on NHS spending, what the expenditure on hospital and community services in England is at constant prices. 
Information on the expenditure on hospital and community services in England, at 200304 prices, is shown in the table. Expenditure figures provided include the commissioning of secondary health care, which is the closest to the information requested. It is not possible to provide comparable figures prior to 199697.
18 Mar 2005 : Column 519W
|North East Government Office Region||18,598||19,033||19,872||20,006||20,977||21,504||22,108|
|County Durham and Tees Valley strategic health authority||Q10||7,732||8,050||8,244||8,458||8,600||8,647||9,084|
|Northumberland, Tyne and Wear||Q09||10,866||10,983||11,628||11,548||12,377||12,857||13,024|
|South Tyneside primary care group||4NJ39||n/a||n/a||56||50||58||n/a||n/a|
|South Tyneside primary care trust||5KG||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||257||265|
|South Tyneside NHS foundation trust||RE9||905||854||899||891||916||615||624|
|South of Tyne and Wearside mental health NHS trust||RW9||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||803||652|
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 14 March 2005]: The table shows the 50 primary care trusts (PCTs) that were allocated on account of their rural character additional funding to provide out-of-hours services. The additional funding was aggregated to strategic health authority level and decisions about final allocations were agreed locally.
Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints have been received on the new GP out-of-hours service since its introduction (a) in England and (b) in the North Somerset Primary Care Trust area. 
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