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Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthfor what reasons Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust is required to pay interest on the money it has borrowed. 
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.
The aim of the scheme is to support good financial management. The scheme is being managed by the NHS Bank. Arrangements with trusts or primary care trusts are for individual SHAs to manage.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reported cases of tuberculosis there were in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) England in each of the last 10 years. 
Caroline Flint: Tuberculosis notification numbers for Northamptonshire and from England from 1994 to 2004 are shown in the table.
The tuberculosis notification rates (per 100,000 population) for Northamptonshire remained similar to the overall rate for England during this 10-year period.
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.
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The initial assessment was awarded in accordance with departmental tendering arrangements. The amount of the contract is to be treated as commercial in confidence.
The cost of the turnaround support will be dependant on the type of engagement.
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; 
(2) what advice she has received about the use of Velcade as a treatment for multiple myeloma in comparison with other possible treatments for that condition; 
(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.
In the interim, there are no national restrictions on or guidelines for prescribing Velcade on the national health service for patients who fit the licensed indication.
How best to treat patients with multiple myeloma will be a matter for local decision. The mechanisms used for making such decisions are also be local arrangement.
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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.
No assessment has yet been made of the comparative cost and effectiveness of Velcade and bone marrow transplants in treating multiple myeloma. NICE may look at this as part of the appraisal process.
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; 
(2) what plans she has to improve vitamin D levels in the UK population. 
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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