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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. 
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 healthMaking healthier choices easier". This referral included six public health guidance topics:
An assessment of four commonly used methods to increase physical activity: brief interventions in primary care, pedometers, exercise referral schemes and community based exercise programmes for walking and cycling.
An assessment of interventions (including screening) to reduce the transmission of Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections and to reduce the rate of under 18 conceptions, especially among vulnerable and at risk groups.
An assessment of brief interventions and referral for smoking cessation in primary care (including pharmacy and dental services as well as general practitioner's surgeries) and other settings with particular reference to pregnant smokers and disadvantaged groups and the tailoring and targeting of interventions.
Guidance on the optimal provision of smoking cessation services including the provision of nicotine replacement therapy, for primary care, pharmacies, local authorities and workplaces with particular reference to manual groups, pregnant smokers and hard to reach communities.
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.
(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. 
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.
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; 
(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. 
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; 
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; 
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. 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.
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. 
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. 
[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
7 Apr 2005 : Column 1697W
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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