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7 Dec 2005 : Column 1417W—continued


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Department has to advance medical toxicology in the UK, with specific regard to the employment of immunotoxicologists. [32287]

Caroline Flint: The Department is in touch with the Royal College of General Practitioners with a view to improving the training in toxicology provided for general practitioners. Contacts between the Department and leading United Kingdom clinical toxicologists have led to questions in this area being included in the Membership examination of the Royal College of Physicians. Officials from the Department have served on committees of the British Toxicology Society and the Royal College of Pathologists group that administers the diploma in toxicology. The Department has funded research in toxicology and with the aid of Chief Medical Officer's expert advisory committees has published reports and reviews in the field.

The Department has not focused specifically on immunotoxicology, although Professor Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council's Professor of Immuno-pharmacology at Southampton Medical School, is a member of the Committee on the Medical
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effects of Air Pollutants and has been influential in drawing questions in the immuno-toxicology area to the Department's attention.

In-vitro Fertilisation

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on in-vitro fertilisation treatment in each primary care trust in England in the last year for which figures are available. [32373]

Caroline Flint: Information about primary care trusts' expenditure on in-vitro fertilisation is not collected centrally. The primary responsibility for the provision of these services rests with the national health service at local level.

Isle of Wight Ambulance Service

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many violent incidents there have been involving staff of the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service in the course of their duties in each of the last five years. [34620]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 5 December 2005]: The information requested is shown in the table.
National health service hospital and community health services: recorded violent incidents for Hampshire Ambulance Services NHS Trust for each specified year

Number of incidents

Covers 1 April to 31 March for the specified years.
This data was discontinued in 2003.
Survey of violence, accidents, harassments in the NHS

IT Projects

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many IT projects which cost over £1 million and were introduced since 1997 are in use in her Department. [26616]

Mr. Byrne: The Department has delivered 11 such information technology projects since 1997 and of these, 11 are still in use.

Local Authority Wards

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the percentage of local authority wards in the area principally served by each NHS acute hospital trust in England which are not in the most deprived 10 per cent. of local authority wards. [17941]

Caroline Flint: The information is not available in the format requested.


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many payments for maladministration have been made by (a) her Department, (b) its agencies, (c) its non-
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departmental public bodies and (d) other bodies for which her Department has responsibility in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [32244]

Jane Kennedy: It is the policy of the Department, its agencies, non-departmental public bodies and, where appropriate, its sponsored organisations to make
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financial redress in accordance with the guidance set out in Chapter 18.7 and Annexes 18.1 and 18.2 of Government Accounting".

The information requested is shown in the following table:
Numbers of maladministration cases for which financial redress was made

Department of Health2000–012001–022002–032003–042004–05
Non departmental public bodies1
Bodies sponsored by Department
National health service bodies: total322316358

1. 2004–05 NHS figures do not include data from NHS foundation trusts.
2. NHS bodies (health authorities, strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and NHS trusts) follow the guidance in para, (e) of Annex 2 of Chapter 5 of the relevant Manual for Accounts, which adapts elements of the Government Accounting Guidance to be applicable to the NHS.
Department of Health Annual Reports on Losses and Special Payments
Audited summarisation forms of the health authorities 2000–01 to 2001–02
Audited summarisation forms of the strategic health authorities 2002–03 to 2004–05
Audited summarisation schedules of the primary care trusts 2000–01 to 2004–05
Audited summarisation schedules of the NHS trusts 2000–01 to 2004–05

Medical Care Practitioners

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to initiate training courses for medical care practitioners; on what date she expects medical care practitioners to start work in the NHS; and what estimate she has made of the number of medical care practitioners who will be working in the NHS in 2010. [27551]

Mr. Byrne: It is for local employers to decide how many medical care practitioners they may wish to employ and when to start the requisite training. There has been no central estimation of the 2010 medical care practitioner work force.

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's performance in assessing applications for new marketing authorisations. [33048]

Jane Kennedy: All applications for new marketing authorisations made to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) under the European licensing procedures are being assessed well within the statutory timelines. The MHRA continues to assess new active substance applications with a mean assessment time of less than 40 days. However, it is acknowledged that performance with regard to the assessment of national abridged applications is currently below MHRA norms. This is due to a combination of reasons. As a result of new European requirements regarding the format of applications, the MHRA experienced a surge in applications in 2003 resulting in a backlog of applications to be processed. This, coupled with some difficulties in recruiting appropriate professional assessment staff as a result of market forces and the recent introduction of Sentinel, the MHRA's new information management system, has had an adverse effect on MHRA's overall efficiency in this area. Steps are currently in progress to actively address these issues, including a recent successful recruitment campaign, overtime exercises and the implementation of a range of steps to improve efficiency.

Mobile Communications

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the contribution made by mobile communications to the NHS and other health professionals in Greater London in terms of (a) achieving savings and (b) the provision of improved services to NHS users; and if she will make a statement. [27368]

Jane Kennedy: The Department is currently undertaking a strategic review of assistive technology. The potential for mobile and other technologies, including text messaging services, to help keep individuals out of acute or institutional care where appropriate and to help individuals or professionals manage long term conditions will be assessed as part of that review.

The Department has contracted to provide digital radio communication systems for ambulance trusts in England. This should save money compared to trusts holding individual contracts for the same services. It will also bring further benefits in terms of higher quality communications, standardisation and interoperability between ambulance services and with other emergency services.

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