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The National Minimum Standards require that each foster carer receives an allowance and agreed expenses to cover the full cost of caring for each child placed with him or her. Local authorities determine their own payment systems and information about the payments which they make to foster carers is not collected centrally. However, we are working with key stakeholdersincluding local authoritiesto develop proposals for a national minimum allowance for foster carers in order to improve the consistency and transparency of payments.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the total cost is of the diagnostic programmes to prepare NHS trusts for authorisation as foundation trusts being run in the (a) Cheshire and Merseyside and (b) Birmingham and the Black Country strategic health authorities; 
The cost of this additional work, which will contribute to improved financial management in the NHS, is £1.5 million and the Department has provided funding to Monitor for this amount. I am informed by the chairman of Monitor that the funding has been allocated to McKinsey and Company as part of an extension to an existing contract awarded under an European Union-compliant procurement exercise.
Rollout of the diagnostic programme across the NHS will be subject to an evaluation of the pilots. In the event of a national roll out, the Department will consider the levels of support for acute trusts required from NHS organisations and external consultants. Any new contracts to support the national roll out of this programme will adhere to procurement procedures, which are fully compliant with tendering procedures set out by the Office of Government Commerce.
Mr. Byrne: The Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 establishes a bespoke insolvency and dissolution regime for national health service foundation trusts (NHSFTs), which is based on insolvency rules for companies but with specific modifications applied to safeguard staff and assets required to deliver essential NHS services.
The Act gives Monitor, the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS foundation trusts, powers of intervention if a NHSFT is significantly breaching, or has significantly breached its terms of authorisation or any enactment. In most cases, intervention should avert the failure of an NHSFT for financial reasons. However if an NHSFT does fail financially and Monitor considers that the essential NHS services of the NHSFT are at risk, then it may recommend that the NHSFT is dissolved.
The Secretary of State is able to dissolve a NHSFT in certain specified circumstances, based on a judgement by Monitor that further exercise of its statutory powers will not secure the provision of the essential NHS services that the body is required to provide under its terms of authorisation. Under such circumstances, the Secretary of State would have the power to transfer the assets, rights and liabilities of the NHSFT to another health service body, which may include another NHSFT, or to herself. It is our intention to lay secondary legislation detailing the failure regime later this year. Section 27 of the Act also sets out the circumstances under which an NHSFT might merge with another.
Mr. Byrne: This is a matter for Monitor, the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of national health service foundation trusts (NHSFTs). The chairman of Monitor has provided the following table, which shows the membership statistics for each of the 32 existing NHSFTs at 31 March 2005.
|Authorised 1 April 2004|
|Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals||10,062|
|Bradford Teaching Hospitals||3,485|
|Countess of Chester Hospital||3,611|
|Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals||7,378|
|Homerton University Hospital||4,544|
|Moorfields Eye Hospital||11,436|
|Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals||8,685|
|Royal Devon and Exeter||15,184|
|The Royal Marsden||2,397|
|Authorised 1 July 2004|
|Cambridge University Hospitals||22,397|
|City Hospitals Sunderland||6,973|
|Guy's and St. Thomas'||13,490|
|Queen Victoria Hospital||12,838|
|Sheffield Teaching Hospitals||6,505|
|University College London Hospitals||8,592|
|University Hospital Birmingham||96,406|
|Authorised 1 January 2005|
|Chesterfield Royal Hospital||9,799|
|Harrogate and District||10,478|
|Authorised 1 April 2005|
|Frimley Park Hospital||5,841|
|Heart of England||48,141|
|Lancashire Teaching Hospitals||9,394|
|The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases||4,535|
|The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals||13,302|
|Authorised 1 June 2005|
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much fraud within the NHS in England has been detected in each of the last eight years; if she will estimate the outstanding amount of fraud within the NHS, broken down by (a) strategic health authority and (b) type of fraud; and if she will make a statement. 
The National Health Service Counter Fraud Service and Security Management Service (CFSMS) was established in 1998 and has policy and operational responsibility for countering fraud and corruption within the NHS.
12 Sept 2005 : Column 2720W
The amount of fraud detected and stopped in each year since 1998 is shown in the table. These figures indicate the increased effort that has taken place to identify and stop fraud, allowing more resources to be spent on patient care and services.
The CFSMS carries out risk measurement exercises to estimate the scale of losses to fraud in different areas of spending in the NHS accurately. The analysis of each exercise is to a precision level of better than plus or minus 1 per cent.
An estimate of the outstanding amount of fraud in all areas of NHS spending is not yet available. Details of measurement exercises carried out to date and of all other counter fraud work between 1999 and 2005 are shown in the CFSMS performance statistics, published on 13 July. These show an overall financial benefit of counter fraud work to the NHS of £675 million, against a budgetary investment of £52 million. Copies have been placed in the Library.
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