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9 Jan 2006 : Column 136W—continued

Information Technology

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money has been spent on information technology systems in the NHS in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [27219]

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Mr. Byrne [holding answer 10 November 2005]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on Monday 5 December 2005, Official Report, column 1063–64W.

Isabel Healthcare

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department plans to meet representatives of Isabel Healthcare; and if she will make a statement. [31292]

Mr. Byrne: Departmental officials have met with representatives of Isabel Healthcare in the past, but there are no current plans for a further meeting.

Latex Allergy

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements she has made to monitor response by NHS trusts to the National Patient Safety Organisation's recent information notice on latex allergy. [37254]

Jane Kennedy: The National Patient Safety Agency's (NPSA) patient safety information on protecting patients with an allergy associated with latex was issued to national health service trusts on 26 May 2005. As it built on existing guidance, this served as a reminder to NHS organisations to put in place policies regarding latex. The deadline for the completion of the recommended action is 27 January 2006.

The information was issued via the Department's safety alert broadcast system (SABS) which is a means of electronically issuing nationally endorsed safety guidance to the NHS.

There are a number of measures to monitor responsesby NHS trusts to the National Patient Safety Organisation's recent information notice on latex allergy. These include the following:

Leicestershire Acute Hospital Trust

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average length of stay is for patients in (a) acute trusts and (b) Leicestershire Acute Hospital Trust; and what the upper quartile length of stay is for all trusts; [31711]

(2) if she will list the acute hospital trusts which achieved upper quartile performance on patient stays across (a) all specialties, (b) all sites and (c) all specialties and all sites in 2004–05. [31890]

Mr. Byrne: The average length of stay for all acute trusts and University Hospitals of Leicester national health service trust is shown in the table.
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TrustAverage (mean) length of stay
All acute trusts (England)5.6 days
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust5 days

Hospital Episode Statistics, Health and Social Care Information Centre 2003–04: Figures have not been adjusted for shortfalls in data; that is, the data is ungrossed.

Data are only available by trust, not hospital site. There are 64 main specialty groupings and no trust is in the upper quartile of all trusts for length of stay in all specialties. About 96 per cent. of trusts have at least one speciality in the upper quartile for that speciality.

Management and Administration Savings

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much each strategic health authority will be required to save in order to achieve her target of £250 million savings in management and administration; over what time these savings will need to be achieved to meet her target; and if she will make a statement. [31014]

Mr. Byrne: The target £250 million savings in national health service management and administration costs represents a real recurrent reduction in the cost of management and administration, the savings from which are to be re-invested in patient services recurrently from 2008–09.

The target £250 million savings will be distributed on a fair share basis across strategic health authorities (SHAs). It is for each SHA to determine a methodology for distributing their target saving between the SHA and the primary care trusts in its area. A fair share approach for distribution to SHAs has the advantages of simplicity and it ensures that re-distribution of savings to clinical services will be spread evenly across the country. The distribution of savings required is shown in the table.
Strategic health authorityPercentage share£ millions
Avon, Gloucester and Wiltshire4.010
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire2.97
Birmingham and the Black Country4.912
Cheshire and Merseyside5.213
County Durham and Tees Valley2.56
Cumbria and Lancashire4.010
Dorset and Somerset2.36
Greater Manchester5.614
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight3.38
Kent and Medway3.08
Leicester, Northampton and Rutland2.77
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge4.010
North Central London2.97
North East London3.69
North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire3.18
North West London4.210
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear3.18
Shropshire and Staffordshire2.87
South East London3.59
South West London2.77
South West Peninsula3.18
South Yorkshire2.87
Surrey and Sussex5.013
Thames Valley3.79
West Midlands South2.87
West Yorkshire4.311

9 Jan 2006 : Column 139W


Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her policy is on the medical use of marijuana in the NHS. [22098]

Caroline Flint: The Government have made it clear it would be willing to legalise the scientifically established medicinal use of a medical preparation of cannabis, and would seek Parliament's agreement to make any necessary changes to the law to enable the prescription of cannabis-based medicine for the purposes of relieving pain. However, this could not take place before the granting of product approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The cannabis-based medicine Sativex has recently been granted a marketing authorisation in Canada where it has been licensed for the relief of neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis under the terms of a conditional licence. Home Office Ministers have recently made clear that imports from Canada of Sativex will be allowed under licence issued by the Home Office.

Media Monitoring

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthif she will make a statement on her Department's policy on the use of broadcast and print media analysis. [36976]

Jane Kennedy: The Department commissions analysis of print media coverage to enables us to measure the impact of our communication activities and plan effective future activity. This is a standard part of best practice in communications in both the public and private sectors as it enables us to measure the impact of our communication activities and so helps us manage future activity more effectively.

In August 2005, the Department published summaries of its national and regional media evaluation and has promised to repeat this every six months as part of its wider commitment to freedom of information. The Department uses its analysis as above, including highlighting inaccuracies in health reporting that can be harmful to public health and sharing analysis with local national health service communication teams, who use it to benchmark the effectiveness of their own activities.

The Department does not, as yet, analyse broadcast media coverage in depth, although judgments are made based on past coverage about the best way to serve broadcast journalists covering health stories.

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