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31 Oct 2005 : Column 830W—continued

Agenda for Change

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many appeals against Agenda for Change bandings in the NHS there have been in (a) England, (b) each strategic health authority, (c) each NHS trust and (d) each primary care trust; and if she will make a statement. [18903]

Mr. Byrne: This information is not held centrally but will be held by individual national health service employers.


Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what specialist allergy treatment is provided by Lancashire NHS Teaching Trust; and if she will make a statement. [21895]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 26 October 2005]: This is a matter for the chair of the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust. I have written to Mr. Dennis Benson informing him of your inquiry.

Alzheimer's (Drugs)

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the progress the National Service Framework for Older People is making in ensuring people with Alzheimer's have effective treatment and support. [18885]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 17 October 2005]: The national service framework (NSF) for older people considered the range of services and support needed for older people with dementia. However, despite the significant achievements of the NSF for mental health and older people, there was agreement that there were particular challenges in delivering better mental health services for older adults.

As a result, in June 2005 the Department published Securing Better Mental Health for Older Adults" to mark the start of a new programme bringing together mental health and older people's policy to improve services for older people with mental health needs. In early November this year, the Department will also launch a web-based service development guide for older people's mental health, the next step in improving mental health and care services for older people. The service development guide builds on the service models outlined in the NSF for older people and the principles promoted in Securing Better Mental Health for Older Adults".

Ambulance Trusts

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS ambulance trusts she intends to have operating in England in April 2006. [18069]

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Mr. Byrne: A public consultation, led by strategic health authorities will be held on the future organisation of ambulance trusts. The Department is minded to propose that there are 11 trusts, but a final decision will not be taken until we have properly consulted local interests, patients and the public.

Breast Cancer

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money her Department has spent on researching the causes of breast cancer in each of the last seven years. [18010]

Alan Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

My Department supports medical and clinical research through the Medical Research Council (MRC). MRC spend on research relevant to breast cancer, which includes the cause of the disease, the disease itself and developing treatments, over the past seven years was as follows:
£ million

It is important however to note that a variety of other research funded by the MRC has also informed the understanding and treatment of breast cancer.

Care Homes

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 19 July 2005, Official Report, column 1662W, concerning care homes, for what reason the figures for later years are not comparable with earlier years. [18809]

Mr. Byrne: The Department's and the Commission for Social Care Inspection's (CSCI) data are not comparable for the following reasons.

Due to a delay in registering local authority (LA) care homes by the National Care Standards Commission, the CSCI data excludes some LA homes, which were open but not registered. All local authority homes were registered by 31 March 2004.

A change in definition between the two datasets. The Department's data up to 2001 was based on the number of care homes open as at 31 March, whereas the CSCI data is based on the number of care homes registered as at 31 March.

The Department used to collect care home data from LA so were able to provide data by LA boundary, whereas CSCI data is collected as part of the registration process and is based on CSCI regions. CSCI have recently carried out a mapping process of care homes to LA boundaries using postcodes.
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Care Management Assessments

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she has issued guidance on the maximum permissible time between referral and a care management assessment by a social services Department; and what the average time taken between referral and a care management assessment was in each local authority in England in the last period for which figures are available. [18354]

Mr. Byrne: In Improvement, Expansion and Reform: the next 3 years", the Department sets out what organisations need to do over the period 2003–06. It identified national priorities and targets which health and social care organisations need to build into their local plans. One of the targets was that, by December 2004, all assessments of older people should begin within 48 hours of first contact with social services.

Information on the average time between referral and care management assessment is not available.

Information on the percentage of new clients aged 18 and over whose assessment started during the year by length of time from first contact with social services to start of assessment has been placed in the Library.

Cataract Units

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have been treated at independent treatment scheme cataract units in (a) Oxfordshire and (b) England. [17416]

Mr. Byrne: To date, over 25,000 cataract procedures have been carried out by independent sector treatment centres and mobile units, none of which have been carried out in Oxfordshire. Data on how many patients were treated by the national health service using locally commissioned independent sector providers are not collected centrally.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether strategic health authorities will underwrite the costs of independent treatment scheme cataract units which are underused by patients. [17420]

Mr. Byrne: For wave one, primary care trusts currently underwrite independent sector treatment centres, but we expect that, over the lifetime of a contract, all contracts will be fully utilised by national health service patients.

Choice Agenda

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much spare capacity she estimates will be required within the NHS to allow it to meet the Government's choice agenda. [15141]

Mr. Byrne: The national health service is expanding capacity in order to provide better patient care, shorter waits and greater patient choice.

Patient choice may lead to changes in the distribution of capacity use as particular hospitals respond. This will be facilitated by payment by results which will also provide incentives to maximising the use of available capacity.
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Coeliac Disease

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how she is raising awareness of the causes and treatments of coeliac disease; what NHS treatments are available to treat the disease; and if she will make a statement. [17890]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 14 October 2005]: Most people with coeliac disease receive advice from their general practitioner (GP) on self-management of their condition, and specifically on the exclusion of foods containing gluten from their diet. A wide range of gluten-free foods are available on national health service prescription and these may be prescribed where a GP considers it necessary to ensure effective self-management of the condition.

The NHS Plan promotes and supports self care as one of the five key service elements of a patient centred NHS (preventive care, self care, primary care, hospital care, intermediate care). This is about promoting the involvement of patients and the public in their own treatment and care, by providing appropriate facilities eg through information, education, training, equipment and peer support and by partnership with health and social care professionals where necessary. Patients have access to NHS Direct, NHS Direct Online which include a health encyclopaedia and frequently asked questions, which cover a wide range of health related issues.

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