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Mr. Byrne: The key themes and principles of the national service framework (NSF) for older people remain extant. It was always envisaged that such a significant and far-reaching programme of action would take 10 years to realise fully.
The action milestone dates set out in the NSF have now been passed. In addition, new policy initiatives pertinent to the development of older people's service have been and are being developed. Further, since Shifting the Balance of Power", local health and social care organisations now have greater flexibility in commissioning and providing services. In recognition of these changes since the launch of the NSF in 2001, Ian Philp, national director responsible for older people's services at the Department, will, in the autumn, present a Next steps" document, suggesting how the significant momentum that has been generated since the launch of the NSF can be maintained.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress has been made by the Long-term Conditions Care Group Workforce Team in identifying the workforce required to implement the National Service Framework for long-term neurological conditions; and what steps are being taken to (a) train and (b) recruit the necessary workforce; 
Between September 1997 and December 2004, the number of neurology consultants working in the national health service has increased by 175, or 63 per cent. Implementation of the national service framework will require additional specialist skills and the development of new roles. The skill-mix required in each locality is a matter for local determination and planning.
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The long term conditions care group workforce team, hosted by Skills for Health", has identified a range of workforce issues and is working with the Department and other stakeholders to support local planning and develop solutions for local implementation.
Mr. Byrne: The information requested on the number of special care baby units open for the whole of each year since 2000 and the cost of providing two nurses per special care baby intensive care cot is not collected centrally.
It is for local neonatal networks and hospital trusts to determine the number of neonatal intensive care cots required and to ensure there are appropriate nursing levels within their neonatal units. The nurse to infant ratio is not constant, but relative to the criticality of the infants on the unit.
Mr. Byrne: The Department established a review group to examine neonatal services, including special care for sick babies, in 2001. The report of the group was issued for public consultation in April 2003. It suggests a structured, collaborative approach to caring for newborn babies and proposes that hospitals work closely together in formal, managed networks to provide the safest and most effective service for mothers and babies. Responses to the consultation exercise were overwhelmingly supportive.
Specialist commissioners for neonatal intensive care have been working with the national health service locally to facilitate progress with implementing this initiative. We welcome the recent review of progress by the national perinatal epidemiology unit, commissioned by BLISS, which gives clear indications as to where more can be achieved.
Additional funding has been made available to support the implementation of the report, including £20 million for capital expenditure in 200304. The additional money for running costs has risen from £12 million in 200304 to £20 million in 200506 and has been allocated to primary care trusts on a recurrent basis.
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The information requested on the number of neonatal intensive care units with a level of one to one nursing is not collected centrally. It is for local hospital trusts to ensure that there are appropriate nursing levels within neonatal units. The nurse to infant ratio is not constant, but relative to the criticality of the infants on the unit.
The information requested on the number of neonatal units closed to new admissions and the number of premature babies transferred away from their local hospital in order to find an intensive care cot is not collected centrally.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 17 March 2005, Official Report, column 435W, on neonatal care, what steps she is taking to ensure the additional revenue funding for 200506 is being used specifically to improve neonatal intensive care services. 
Mr. Byrne: It is for local national health service primary care trusts (PCTs) to decide how the additional revenue funding can best be used to improve neonatal intensive care services. PCTs are working with neonatal specialist commissioners and strategic health authorities to develop neonatal services appropriate to the needs of their population. The Department is supporting this process through regular engagement with the neonatal commissioners.
Caroline Flint [holding answer 21 July 2005]: Primary care trusts (PCTs) are expected to plan for and achieve financial balance every year. Funds have been allocated directly to PCTs to give them the freedom and flexibility to deliver on key targets and achieve financial balance.
Regulatory and scientific requirements on the testing strategies for new medicinal products have been established at European and international levels. The Note for Guidance on Non-clinical Safety Studies for the Conduct of human Clinical Trials for Pharmaceuticals (CPMP/ICH/286/95)" provides guidance as to what safety tests are required before a medicinal product enters the different stages of a clinical trial program. These safety tests in animals are needed to establish the safety and toxicological profile of a medicinal product before it is used in man. As a result of these tests, a large number of potential medicinal products never make it to use in man because their toxicological profile is unacceptable. These tests serve an essential role in the development of medicines. Therefore, we will not make it our policy to end the requirement for safety testing in animals.
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Jane Kennedy: The Department does not hold centrally a record of individual contracts providing the nationality of all suppliers to the national health service. Such detailed information could obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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