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Mr. Byrne: There is a well established carry-forward regime in the national health service, whereby over spends in one year are repaid in the following year. The strategic health authority (SHA) surplus incentive scheme includes an uplift to the amount that organisations must repay if they overspend in 200506.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthwhat the (a) terms of reference, (b) powers and (c) expected costs are of the turnaround teams she is sending into Southport and Ormskirk Hospital. 
Following the initial assessment the teams will agree a tailored package of turnaround support with each organisation and the strategic health authority. The teams will then support the chief executives of the organisations in delivering turnaround. The type and length of engagement will be tailored to the needs of specific organisations. The chief executives will remain responsible for delivery in their organisations.
19 Dec 2005 : Column 2649W
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will list the criteria according to which a district prescribing committee in England can overrule the recommendation of a consultant haematologist that Velcade should be prescribed to a patient suffering from multiple myeloma; 
(3) what discretion is available to consultant haematologists in England (a) to arrange bone marrow transplants and (b) to prescribe Velcade to treat multiple myeloma without reference to a (i) district prescribing committee and (ii) any other body; 
(4) what account her Department took of the procedures in place in other parts of the UK for prescribing Velcade to treat multiple myeloma before deciding that district prescribing committees in England could overrule the recommendations of consultant haematologists that it should be prescribed in individual cases; 
(5) what assessment she has made of the comparative (a) cost and (b) effectiveness in treating multiple myeloma of (i) a course of Velcade authorised by a district prescribing committee and (ii) a bone marrow transplant authorised by a consultant haematologist. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answers 8 December 2005]: Velcade is licensed for the treatment of adults with cancer of the bone marrow (multiple myeloma) who have received at least one prior treatment and whose disease is worsening on their last treatment.
Velcade has been referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for appraisal. Velcade is one of the first five drugs to be appraised under NICE'S new single topic appraisal process announced by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health (Ms Hewitt) on 3 November 2005. Guidance resulting from the new process is expected as early as mid 2006.
Funding for licensed treatments should not be withheld because guidance from NICE is unavailable. In these circumstances, we expect primary care trusts to take full account of available evidence when reaching funding decisions. This is confirmed in Health Service Circular 1999/176", which asks NHS bodies to continue with local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies where guidance from NICE is not available at the time the treatment or technology first became available.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has to review (a) the available information on vitamin D daily intake level for different age groups and (b) recommended levels of vitamin D; 
Caroline Flint: The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is considering a draft report on the nutritional health of the population, based on evidence from the national diet and nutrition surveys. This report is due to be published by mid-2006 and will include evidence on vitamin D.
In the United Kingdom, reference nutrient intakes (RNI-the amount of the nutrient which is enough to meet the dietary needs of around 97 per cent. of the population) have only been set for certain age groups considered to be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, which is not common in the UK. Hence there is no RNI for people aged between four and 64-years-old, other than for pregnant and lactating women; it is considered that most people will get the vitamin D they need from exposure to sunlight, which aids synthesis of vitamin D in the skin.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress the Government have made towards its aim to eliminate waiting times of over six months for in-patient treatment by the end of 2005; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: The national health service has made substantial progress in reducing waiting lists and eliminating waits of over six months for in-patient treatment. As shown in the table, in October 2005 the number of patients waiting more than six months was 24,812, down 8,690 (25.9 per cent.) on the previous month and down 45,079 (64.5 per cent.) from October 2004. Waiting lists are now at an all-time low and below 800,000 for the first time.
| Patients waiting over:|
|Data ending||Total waiting(134)||18 months(135)||15 months(135)||12 months(135)||9 months(135)||6 months(135)||3 months(135)|
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