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Choosing Health"

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timetable is for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence's work programme to support the aims of the public health White Paper, Choosing Health", as described in paragraph 28, page 41, of the Choosing Activity physical activity action plan published on 9 March. [222824]

Miss Melanie Johnson: A number of guidance topics were referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on 5 April 2005, including topics in support of public health interventions and programmes pursuant to the aims of Choosing health—Making healthier choices easier". This referral included six public health guidance topics:

NICE has already been commissioned to produce guidelines on the management and prevention of obesity.

Abortion (Essex)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many abortions have been performed in the Romford and Havering constituencies in each year since 1997. [219371]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Data is not available in the format requested.
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The National Statistician has been asked to provide the Department and the new health and social care information centre with guidelines for interpreting the national statistics code of practice and associated protocols in the handling of health statistics across the health community which balance data confidentiality risks with the public interest in the use of the figures.

Alliance Medical

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what indicators are being used to determine whether the scanning services provided by Alliance Medical are good value for money; [224215]

(2) what policies for reducing waiting times for scans were considered other than entering into a contract with a private sector provider; and what assessment was made of the relative costs of the alternatives. [224510]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 April 2005]: The additional capacity provided by the independent sector is complementary to our policy of expanding capacity within the national health service itself. By 2008, there will be an increase of 2.75 million extra scans and diagnostic procedures, of which one million scans per year will be purchased from the independent sector, all delivered free at the point of need. The remaining 1.75 million will be delivered by the NHS.

The contract was negotiated at a rate estimated against equivalent NHS cost. The estimate found it to be less than half of the NHS cost, which demonstrates the value for money achieved.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list the individuals who were involved in the negotiation of the contract for Alliance Medical to provide scanning services to the NHS; [224216]

(2) how many meetings have taken place between his Department's officials and Alliance Medical personnel to discuss the provision of scanning services to the NHS by Alliance Medical; [224508]

(3) if he will list the individuals who were present at the meeting which took place between his Department and Alliance Medical to discuss the provision of scanning services; and on what dates the meetings were held. [224513]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 April 2005]: The national implementation team of the Department's commercial directorate carried out the tendering process and contract negotiations.

Departmental officials and representatives had a number of talks with Alliance Medical as part of the procurement process. The Department continues to have regular contact with the company. However, given the number and variety of these contacts, it is not possible to provide a total number of meetings, nor would it be appropriate to name individual officials.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what factors were taken into consideration when determining whether Alliance Medical should provide scanning services in the NHS; [224219]

(2) if he will list contracts that have been awarded to Alliance Medical to provide services for the NHS. [224221]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answers 4 April 2005]: The contract was negotiated based on clinical capacity, ability to deliver service, and value for money.

This is the only contract of its kind which procured by the Department from Alliance Medical. Information on contracts with individual trusts, which are not negotiated centrally, is not available.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the technical specifications are of the scanning equipment used by Alliance Medical in the mobile scanner unit under the contract held with the NHS; [224338]

(2) what the technical specifications are of the scanning equipment used at University Hospital North Durham. [224339]

Mr. Hutton: All 12 of Alliance Medical's mobile units use the latest 1.5T Siemens scanners, capable of all standard scanning sequences (including single shot fast spin echo 2D/3D fast/turbo spin echo). The Department does not hold technical specifications for equipment being used by the University Hospital North Durham.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the complaints procedure is for patients dissatisfied with services provided by Alliance Medical; [224507]

(2) what his policy is on where legal liability lies in the event of a medical negligence case arising from a procedure undertaken by Alliance Medical. [224509]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 April 2005]: Patients who receive scans through this contract remain national health service patients throughout. All patients are therefore covered by the central negligence scheme for trusts and, in the event of any negligence claim, have the same rights as if the event occurred within the NHS.

The responsibility for handling complaints rests with the appropriate NHS primary care trust or acute trust that referred the patient. Such complaints are handled through the NHS complaints process.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procurement process was undertaken by his Department before entering into the contract with Alliance Medical for the provision of CT and MRI scans. [224511]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 April 2005]: Standard Government procurement processes were followed in which advertisements were placed and companies were invited to send in expressions of interest. Following a robust negotiation process, Alliance Medical was selected as the company that offered value for money and capacity to deliver services.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment was made by his Department of Alliance Medical's employment policy, with particular reference to the recognition of trade unions, prior to entering into a contract to provide CT and MRI scans for the NHS. [224512]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 4 April 2005]: Alliance Medical are required to comply with all employment laws governing their staff and to ensure that all radiologists are registered with the General Medical
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Council and are on the appropriate specialist register to ensure that they are of the same standard as radiologists working within the national health service.

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