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Jane Kennedy: The draft code of practice, published on Friday 15 July, 2005, for consultation, brings together guidance on systems that will reduce the risk of all health care associated infections. An early draft of the code was shaped with representatives from a number of organisations, including the Healthcare Commission, the Infection Control Nurses Association and the Association of Medical Microbiologists.
Legislation, which will include powers to publish the new code of practice as part of a range of measures, will be introduced later this year. If passed by Parliament, these measures should come into effect during 2006.
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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of women in England aged (a) 16 to 24, (b) 25 to 30, (c) 30 to 35, (d) 36 to 40 and (e) over 40 years who were infertile in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Caroline Flint: Information on numbers of infertile women is not collected centrally by the Department or the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The HFEA estimates that one in seven couples in the United Kingdom experience difficulty in conceiving, although most will conceive naturally, given time.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what her most recent estimate is of how much was spent by (a) the NHS, (b) each strategic health authority and (c) each NHS trust in England on information technology; 
(2) what her policy is on the percentage of their total budget that NHS trusts should spend on information technology per annum; and what percentage of their total budget was spent by each NHS trust on information technology in the last year for which figures are available. 
|Amount (£ million)|
|Strategic health authorities (SHAs)||8|
|Primary care trusts (PCTs)||350|
These figures comprise revenue expenditure reported through a national survey of IM and T investment (£865 million), and capital expenditure, including IT additions and software licences, identified in NHS Accounts (£234 million). They do not include expenditure by special health authorities or central expenditure through the Department.
There is no specific numerical target for NHS trust expenditure on IT. However, we have always made it clear that we expect NHS trusts to follow the recommendations in the 2002 Wanless report to increase this to around 4 per cent. of total NHS spend by 2008.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will place in the Library copies of the responses to
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the consultation document on the independent mental capacity advocacy service; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: The Department launched the consultation on the arrangements for the future provision of the independent mental capacity advocacy (IMCA) service on 5 July 2005. In addition to the consultation documents, the Government are planning to hold a series of workshops to allow people to put forward their views in a less formal context. The consultation ends on 30 September 2005. The Government will publish the results of the consultation and will place this in the Library.
Ms Rosie Winterton: We will publish a Race Equality Impact Assessment alongside the Bill when it is published, prior to its introduction. The impact assessment will be important in helping us to ensure that the new legislation is implemented fairly for black and minority ethnic communities, and in maximising the effectiveness of the safeguards in the Billn/asuch as advocacyn/afor people from all backgrounds. To this end, we have established an advisory group for this work, under the chair of Rabinder Singh QC.
Ms Rosie Winterton: In 1998, the Government announced their intention to introduce new mental health legislation. A Green Paper was introduced in 1998 and a draft bill in 2002. Quantifying the costs of either of these consultation exercises would involve disproportionate costs.
In 2004, a second draft of the Mental Health Bill was published for pre-legislative scrutiny by a joint committee of the House of Commons and House of Lords, a process which allowed further input from stakeholders and experts. This is a parliamentary process and the Department is unable to comment on the costs incurred.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list bodies referred to as those with responsibility for protecting the public in paragraph 13 of the introduction to the Government response to the report of the Joint Committee on the draft Mental Health Bill 2004. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The organisations referred to in paragraph 13 of the introduction to the Government response to the report of the Joint Committee on the draft Mental Health Bill 2004", which have a responsibility for protecting the public are the police, the courts, the probation service and the Prison Service.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the occasions, including the date and place,when (a) officials and (b) Ministers from her Department have attended (i) conferences and (ii)meetings where (A) abortion and (B) euthanasia has been discussed in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: This information is not centrally available. Ministers and departmental officials meet with a wide range of stakeholders about a wide range of issues, including euthanasia and abortion, both formally and informally.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will investigate (a) the propriety of the decision by New Forest Primary Care Trust (PCT) to reduce the number of options offered for public consultation about the future of in-patient beds in community hospitals from five to two and (b) the basis for proposals by New Forest PCT to close in-patient beds in community hospitals for (i) medical and (ii)financial reasons. 
Caroline Flint: It is for primary care trusts, in consultation with stakeholders locally, such as overview and scrutiny committees, to take decisions on how local health services can be improved and to ensure that they are a clinical and cost effective use of resources. No final decisions will be taken on the future of community hospitals locally without full, public consultation.
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