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Jane Kennedy: The number of staff employed by the Department on 30 September 2005 is shown in the table. This figure includes staff on loan into the Department. It does not include staff on a career break who are not currently paid by the Department. The figure also includes staff who are designated to transfer out of the Department and staff who are on secondment to other organisations; these staff remain on the Department's payroll, although in most cases, the Department is reimbursed for their salary.
|Full-time equivalent (FTE)||2,361.1|
|Fixed term appointment|
The Department regularly receives approaches about smoking cessation techniques and recognises that there are a number of methods that may help smokers to quit. In terms of national policy, the focus is on those methods with accumulated independent evidence of efficacy.
The Department, following guidance from the National Institute for Health Clinical Excellence (NICE), endorsed the use on the national health service of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and bupropion (Zyban) as effective stop smoking aids. Used in conjunction with trained support through the NHS stop smoking service, smokers are up to four times more likely to quit successfully than using willpower alone.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department works together with the Home Office and other Government Departments in responding to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents or events. The Department has instituted protocols for receiving alerts on a wide range of emergency situations. These alerts may arise from surveillance systems in operation, principally on infectious diseases and dangerous pathogens, or from other organisations that operate surveillance systems or from responders to incidents. Standard operating procedures are in place to ensure onward alerting to Government Departments and agencies and to others who need to know.
Surveillance systems operate on a local, regional and national level and based on 24/7 service. The national network system is connected to the European Union alerting mechanisms and, through the World Health Organisation, to global alerts.
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Financial help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses, via an optical voucher, is available to children under 16, those aged under 19 in full-time education and those on a low income. The
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voucher value varies according to the individual's prescription. There are currently eight voucher bands ranging from £32.90 to £181.40.
Individuals are not entitled by virtue of incapacity benefit on its own to help towards the cost of glasses, as incapacity benefit is not an income related benefit. Individuals in receipt of incapacity benefit may, however, be entitled to help via the national health service low income scheme.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2690W, on fraud, when she expects an estimate of the outstanding amount of fraud in all areas of NHS spending to be available. 
Jane Kennedy: The Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (CFSMS) risk measurement methodology is applied to accurately measure losses to fraud in areas of national health service spending in order to identify the scale of the problem and take firm action to prevent this from occurring. CFSMS is currently working on measuring losses in major areas of the NHS budget and has for example been actively involved in seeking to fraud-proof the new general practitioner contract. Continued measurements of losses to fraud will take place as weaknesses are identified and substantive budgets affected. This is and must be an ongoing process as spending areas and budget allocations will continue to change. As such, there can be no accurate overall estimate of the outstanding amount of fraud in the NHS, only a continuous effort to identify weaknesses as budgets and policies change and evolve.
Jane Kennedy: In 2003, the total number of national health service interruptible sites stood at around 130 for England. In 2005, the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency arranged contracts for 109 interruptible sites.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2695W, on mandatory surveillance, how many incidents of (a) the glycopeptide resistant enterococci, (b) orthopaedic surgical site infections and (c) serious untoward incidents associated with infection there have been in (i) England, (ii) each region, (iii) each strategic health authority and (iv) each NHS trust. 
Jane Kennedy: Mandatory reporting of glycopeptide resistant enterococcal blood stream infections (bacteraemias) was introduced in October 2003 and a total of 620 bacteraemias were reported in the year from October 2003 to September 2004. Data for England and its regions was published in the "Communicable Disease Report (CDR) Weekly" on 25 August 2005 1 and information on individual trusts was published on the Department's website 2 . Data for individual strategic health authorities (SHAs) have not been published.
Mandatory reporting of orthopaedic surgical site infections was introduced in April 2004 and in the first year of reporting data on 41,242 orthopaedic operations were analysed and 593 infections reported. Data for individual trusts were published on the Department's website on 28 October 2005 3 and a fuller report has been published by the Health Protection Agency 4 . Data are not available by region or SHA.
1 Results of the first year of mandatory glycopeptide resistant enterococci (GRE) reporting: October 2003 to September 2004. "Communicable Disease Report (CDR) Weekly" 2005; 15 (34) 25 August 2005:www.hpa.org.uk/cdr/archives/2005/BAct_GRE_ 3405.pdf.
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