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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will list the consultation exercises undertaken by her Department in the last two years, indicating
7 Dec 2005 : Column 1404W
(a) how many consultation responses were received, (b) how many stakeholders were engaged in the consultation, (c) what the total cost of each consultation exercise was and (d) what the cost per participant of the consultation was; 
When the consultation closed on 4 November, 147 feedback forms had been received from local deliberative consultation events. In addition, over 18,000 on-line questionnaires have been completed and approximately 15,500 hard copies of the questionnaire have been returned. Over 60 letters have also been received from interested stakeholders in response to the consultation.
Representatives from over 60 statutory and non-statutory bodies were involved in five policy taskforces. A series of five academic seminars were also held, involving over 40 individuals from a variety of organisations. In addition, Ministers and officials met representatives of a wide range of stakeholder organisations at specially arranged and routine meetings to inform them about the exercise and to hear their views.
Around 750 organisations were contacted and invited to register with a website which enabled interested stakeholders to keep up to date with the consultation, access key documents for holding consultation events and enable an exchange of views and ideas with other organisers of local events. Contact was maintained through a regular newsletter.
Representatives from around 150 organisations attended a workshop on 19 July to discuss the best ways of involving stakeholders in the consultation and the resources required to make it a success. Around a further 120 organisations attended a briefing event about the consultation process and the website on 8 September.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints regarding the operation of her Department's website were received in 200405; and how many of these were responded to within (a) one working day, (b) five working days and (c) longer than five working days. 
The Department's central web team manages all inquiries relating to the operation of the Department's website. All such inquiries are logged and responded to within five working days. Complaints are not logged or dealt with separately from general inquiries.
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Prior to July 2004, website-related inquiries were not collated by topic. Therefore, we are only able to provide total numbers of inquiries dealt with per month from
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April to June 2004. From July 2004, website-related inquiries have been broken down into categories as shown in the table.
|Broken/wrong links/old urls||||||||38||16||27|
|Publication dates/ search date range||||||||3||1||0|
|Search/ finding information||||||||61||36||27|
|Request to exchange links||||||||4||2||8|
|Miscellaneous (including positive feedback)||13||10||22|
|Incorrect/out of date information||||||||10||10||13|
|Not about the Department's site/not for web team||||||||21||10||14|
|Broken/wrong links/old urls||18||20||11||11||18||15|
|Publication dates/ search date range||1||0||1||0||0||0|
|Search/ finding information||40||37||27||17||19||31|
|Request to exchange links||5||2||1||3||2||2|
|Miscellaneous (including positive feedback)||16||9||6||16||4||7|
|Incorrect/out of date information||4||5||3||3||3||5|
|Not about the Department's site /not for web team||21||5||15||20||22||31|
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken in co-operation with industry to increase the capacity available to produce vaccine to counter a pandemic of a human variant of avian influenza. 
Caroline Flint [holding answer 6 December 2005]: We are meeting with the manufacturers of ordinary flu vaccine to explore how we can work with industry to develop pandemic flu vaccines as quickly as possible after the virus is isolated. We are actively exploring a range of preparatory steps with manufacturers in order to improve the prospects of early delivery of pandemic influenza vaccines.
We are working with the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) and others to see how to rationalise the testing process, which ensures that a safe vaccine is produced. We are working with NIBSC to develop a library of reference strains, which may help accelerate the vaccine development process.
One of the major themes coming out of the 'Your Health, Your Care, Your Say' public consultation is that people would prefer general practices to offer extended opening hours. The Department will be working with general practitioners, nurses, practice managers and stakeholder groups like the British Medical Association on how best to achieve this and proposals will be set out in the forthcoming White Paper on improving community health and care.
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Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions she has had with relevant NHS organisations on the future configuration of hospital services in the Hammersmith hospitals NHS Trust. 
Jane Kennedy: The Secretary of State for Health has had no discussions recently with any relevant national health service organisation on the future configuration of hospital services in the Hammersmith hospitals NHS trust.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the operation of sections (a) 113 and (b) 114 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003. 
The Department is reviewing the operation of both complaints procedures. Any changes will be aimed at improving the patient experience and the service provided by making the systems simpler, faster and more closely integrated. It is important also for both systems to focus on improvement in service delivery by learning from mistakes.
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We recognise that strong links are needed across health and social care and we have already announced the merger of the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Healthcare Commission. This is a key initiative in the drive towards a system which aims to deliver patient and user centred services.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much has been allocated by each strategic health authority to fund the secondment of health care assistants who wish to train as nurses in each year since the scheme began; 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 27 October 2005]: The secondment scheme for health care assistants (HCAs) began in 199899. Up to 200304, the money for this scheme was routed through the former regional health authorities and regional offices who took local decisions on how much and which education consortia received funding. Therefore, we are only able to provide figures for the number of HCAs seconded in 200304, 200405 and expenditure for 200304, 200405 and 200506. This is shown in the table.
|Number of HCAs||Expenditure on HCAs (£000)|
|Avon, Gloucs and Wilts||336||522||4,067||6,524||7,423|
|Beds and Herts||224||311||2,716||3,881||4,172|
|Birmingham and Black Country||655||869||7,932||10,863||12,083|
|Cheshire and Merseyside||614||774||7,435||9,672||12,017|
|County Durham and Tees Valley||182||226||2,202||2,825||3,396|
|Cumbria and Lancashire||387||544||4,683||6,795||7,239|
|Devon and Cornwall||174||238||2,103||2,969||4,212|
|Dorset and Somerset||190||233||2,906||2,910||3,304|
|Hampshire and Isle of Wight||303||443||3,669||5,537||5,923|
|Kent and Medway||586||285||7,098||3,558||4,778|
|Leicestershire, Northants and Rutland||298||337||3,607||4,213||4,422|
|Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire||281||389||3,402||4,857||6,344|
|North and East Yorkshire and North East Lines||224||331||2,715||4,132||4,804|
|North Central London||438||561||6,676||8,828||8,445|
|North East London||429||559||6,539||8,798||9,254|
|North West London||457||603||6,975||9,488||10,419|
|Northumberland Tyne and Wear||255||330||3,086||4,120||4,620|
|Shropshire and Staffordshire||266||292||4,052||3,654||4,501|
|South East London||381||506||5,812||7,969||8,332|
|South West London||204||260||3,111||4,099||4,320|
|Surrey and Sussex||||442||||5,518||6,542|
|West Midlands South||231||293||2,794||3,659||4,515|
Officials keep the scheme under regular review and I am satisfied that it has provided significant help in supporting HCAs who wish to become nurses. Indeed, the number of HCAs participating has exceeded our expectations.
In 199899, £50 million was allocated to widening access initiatives and the majority was spent on HCA secondments. In 200304, the student nurse population was around 63,000 and of these over 6,900 were HCAs. In 200405, £164 million was allocated to strategic health authority workforce directorates to fund tuition fees and salary support for HCA's pre-registration training for an increased HCA population of over 9,400 (18 percent. of the population). In 200506, the planned spend is around £185 million and the number of HCAs entering pre-registration nurse training is expected to rise to over 13,500 (18 percent. of the student population).
We do not hold centrally the number of applications accepted or rejected by national health service trusts nor the number of NHS trusts who do not offer secondments. The number of HCAs seconded to train as nurses is a matter for local decision and it is for individual employers to decide their policy on offering such secondments.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health addressed the Healthcare Assistants' Conference in July 2005 where she praised the outstanding care that healthcare assistants deliver on a daily basis. She made a commitment to continue to invest and reform the training and development opportunities for all in the NHS.
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