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12 Sept 2005 : Column 2785W—continued

Social Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2005, Official Report, column 587W, on social care, what the (a) remit and (b) timescale is for establishment of the joint delivery team working on individual budgets. [13192]

Mr. Byrne: Work on individual budgets is being led by the Department of Health and the Department of Work and Pensions, supported by other Government departments, such as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Education and Skills.

At a strategic level this work is being led by a cross-government ministerial team, led by my hon. Friend, the Minister for Disability in the Department for Work and Pensions (Mrs. McGuire) and me. This team is
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responsible for steering the work and ensuring that key stakeholders, including the people who may use services, are integral to the design of the individual budget pilots. This team has already met on several occasions.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the number of people with care needs who would wish to take-up (a) a direct payment and (b) individual budgets. [13537]

Mr. Byrne: Individual budgets are one of the central proposals set out in Independence, Well-being and Choice, the Department's Adult Social Care Green Paper, published in March 2005. The Department has conducted an extensive consultation exercise on the ideas in the Green Paper and this will continue until 28 July 2005. Piloting individual budgets was also recommended in the Government's recent report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People".

Anecdotally preliminary findings suggest very strong support for the individual budget approach.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the applicability of the Human Rights Act to care settings provided by non-statutory agencies. [13538]

Mr. Byrne: The Human Rights Act applies to public authorities. It provides that public authorities are required not to act incompatibly with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in developing appropriate data sets for the assessment of care needs and the measurement of care outcomes. [13539]

Mr. Byrne: The Health and Social Care Information Centre is currently developing national standard datasets to support the monitoring of cancer, diabetes, child health, mental health, maternity, renal, older people's and coronary heart disease services. Each of the dataset products will support the information requirements of their respective national service frameworks, and are subject to the national approval mechanisms of the national health service.

The following datasets have been approved by the Information Standards Board:

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Datasets under development or awaiting Information Standards Board approval are:

South Tees Hospital Trust

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the financial position of the South Tees hospital trust. [14041]

Mr. Byrne: The South Tees hospitals national health service trust savings plan for 2005–06 was made public at a board meeting on 7 June 2005. It is targeted to achieve a reduction in expenditure of £19.8 million.

Stroke/Coronary Heart Disease

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people at high risk of stroke following a transient ischaemic attack or minor stroke had a major stroke while awaiting initial assessment, investigation and treatment for their condition in 2004–05; [14926]

(2) what the average waiting time was for a patient, from initial presentation with a transient ischaemic attack or minor stroke, to consultation with a stroke specialist and subsequent investigation in the period for which figures are available; [14927]

(3) how many NHS trusts offer a daily urgent assessment clinic for patients at high risk of stroke. [14928]

Mr. Byrne: The Department does not collect this data centrally.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the total economic costs to the UK of long-term disability as a result of stroke in 2004–05. [14932]

Mr. Byrne: No such estimate has been made.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans her Department has to set targets for the effective management of (a) stroke and (b) coronary heart disease; [14924]

(2) what action her Department will be taking in light of the evidence showing that stroke is overtaking coronary heart disease as the UK's most common acute vascular event. [14925]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department recognised the importance of developing better stroke services by including specific milestones, targets and actions in the national service framework (NSF) for older people, launched in March 2001.

The NSF for coronary heart disease (CHD), published in March 2000, sets the agenda for the modernisation of CHD services over a 10 year period.
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The NSF sets 12 standards for improved prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation and goals to secure fair access to high quality services.

Following the Government's decision to devolve most central funding to local primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities, the balance of power has further shifted by moving away from a central target-based focus, to allow PCTs to devise local strategies to meet the specific needs and demands in their own area. The Healthcare Commission produces an annual star ratings report of performance for national health service trusts in England to assess progress against existing targets and to promote improvement in the quality of health care. Its recently published 2004–05 report included an indicator on stroke.

With the considerable improvements that have been made in cardiac care, coupled with an ageing population, stroke is expected to form a greater contribution to the vascular disease burden in the future. In recognition of this, the Department has convened an expert advisory vascular programme board to oversee work on stroke and co-ordinate work across the common elements of vascular diseases—CHD, stroke, diabetes and renal.

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department is sponsoring into transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. [13972]

Jane Kennedy: The Department funds research into transmissible spongiform encephalopies as part of a wider Government programme of publicly-funded research. Project details can be found on the Medical Research Council's website at

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