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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what contingency plans are in place to ensure continuity of payments to holders of Post Office card accounts, when the computer system fails. 
The Post Office card account is a Post Office banking service and Post Office Ltd is responsible for ensuring that its computer systems are robust and that it provides a reliable service to card account customers. The accounts are regulated by the Financial Services Authority like any bank account.
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The Department has close contact with Post Office Ltd to ensure that in the event of a system failure, action to restore the service quickly is taken in line with comprehensive business continuity arrangements. These arrangements have been agreed between Post Office Ltd and DWP, the Revenue and Customs and the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency.
Where exceptionally the Post Office system is unavailable, there are contingency arrangements for Post Office Ltd to pay emergency payments of up to £20 per day to customers until systems are restored.
Jane Kennedy: The international cancer research portfolio database at www.cancerportfolio.org contains details of projects supported by cancer research funding organisations in the United Kingdom and the United States. Data submitted by the National Cancer Research Institute includes the research portfolios of its 15 partners, which is the largest Government and charitable funder of cancer research in the UK. The database can be searched by type of cancer, area of research, and funding organisation.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many beds were available for use in the Charing Cross hospital on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many were available in (a) 1992, (b) 1997 and (c) 2001. 
Jane Kennedy: This data are not collected by individual hospitals, but is collected by national health service trusts. Beds data are collected on a financial year basis and the latest figures available are for 200304. Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust was not formed until 1994; therefore, the Department does not hold any figures for 1992. The data shown in the table is for Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, of which Charing Cross hospital is a part.
It is for primary care trusts in partnership with the local health economy to plan and improve services for their local population. I understand Hammersmith Hospitals National Health Service Trust
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is currently exploring options about how it will manage its estate over the next 10 years. As yet, the trust has no clear plans, but I understand that the process will involve a range of internal and external partners in drawing up a solution, which would then be subject to a full and thorough public consultation.
Jane Kennedy: The Department does not collect data on postponed operations. Figures for cancelled operations for non clinical reasons are collected, but by national health service trust and not by individual hospital. Figures for Hammersmith hospitals NHS trust, of which Charing Cross hospital is a part, are shown in the following table.
|Hammersmith hospitals NHS trust|
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will make a statement on the (a) readiness and (b) capability of Charing Cross hospital to act as the Trauma Centre for west London; 
Jane Kennedy: The Secretary of State has had no discussions with Hammersmith hospitals national health service trust regarding the status of Charing Cross hospital as a major trauma centre. Charing Cross hospital provides a wide range of specialist skills and services, which enable it to deal with major incidents. However, it has no official status as the trauma centre for west London.
(2) if she will conduct a review to ensure that the NHS has implemented the recommendations of the report of the Clinical Standards Advisory Group on pain services of March 2000; and if she will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: The Department welcomed the clinical standards advisory group report on pain services, published in April 2000, that made recommendations to trusts and commissioners to review local provision of pain services. Implementation of these recommendations lies with the local national health service trusts and commissioners.
It remains the responsibility of primary care trusts to commission services for people with pain, taking account of resources they have available and the needs of their wider populations. Therefore, the quality of services should be monitored locally to ensure it is provided to meet the needs of the local population.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has reviewed pain management techniques as part of the supportive and palliative care guidance, published in March 2004. This provides a clearer idea of what therapies are effective. This guidance is available on the NICE website at www.nice.org.uk/pdf/csgspmanual.pdf.
The main part of the Department's expenditure on health research is allocated to and managed by national health service organisations. Details of individual projects supported in the NHS, including a number concerned with complex regional pain syndrome, can be found on the National Research Register at www.dh.gov.uk/research.
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