|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to answer the question on private management of new primary care trusts (19208) tabled by the hon. Member for Romsey on 13 October. 
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to answer the Questions (a) 21145, (b) 21220, (c) 21219 and (d) 21776 tabled by the hon. Member for Romsey on 19 and 20 October. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave on 21 November 2005, Official Report, column 1715W for question 21219; on 24 November 2005, Official Report, column 2282W for questions 21145 and 21220; and on 14 December 2005, Official Report, columns 212526W for question 21776.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthwhat assessment she has made of the impact onthe use of magnetic resonance imaging scans in the NHS when the EU physical agents directive comes into force. 
Mr. Byrne: An initial impact assessment carried out by the Health Protection Agency suggests that the European physical agents directive may affect about 3.5 per cent. of all magnetic resonance imaging scans in England. The Department are considering how to handle the impact of this on the national health service.
Mr. Byrne: The child health development programme, which provides for health and development checks for young children, is informed by professional guidelines, principally Health for all children" edited by Professor David Hall and Dr. David Elliman. This includes guidance on detecting abnormalities in skull development.
Positional plagiocephaly is caused by allowing consistent pressure to be applied to one part of a baby'sskull over a period of time. This is commonly remedied by enabling babies to experience a range of positions rather than remaining in one position. The Department's guidance to parents on the first five years of their child's life Birth to five", and on reducing the risk of cot death, advocates this procedure.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what research her Department has evaluated on the transfer of chemicals through plastic water bottles; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what regulatory body is responsible for dealing with complaints from the public about possible contamination of bottled water (a) during (i) retail and (ii) wholesale storage and (b) after purchase; 
Caroline Flint: I have had no direct discussions with bottled water producers, but I am advised that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been in contact with producers regarding the recent press reports of taints of bottled waters stored near household chemicals. There have been some studies on the transfer of chemicals through food packaging, because of the possibility of taint. The thinner and more porous the packaging material, the greater the possibility of taint. The FSA advises that food is not stored near cleaning products or other strongly smelling chemicals.
The FSA is responsible for food labelling, including the requirements that apply to bottled waters. Local authorities are responsible for enforcing food legislation and for investigating any complaints from the public about possible contamination of bottled water both before and after purchase.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with representatives of professions allied to medicine on her proposals to divest primary care trusts of their provider status; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultations were held with (a) hon. Members, (b) primary care trusts (PCTs) and (c) strategic health authorities before the publication of 'Commissioning a Patient-led NHS'; who will make the final decisions on merger of PCTs; and what research was commissioned on the optimum size for PCTs. 
Mr. Byrne: The document issued by Sir Nigel Crisp on 28 July entitled 'Commissioning a Patient-Led NHS' was the beginning of a process whereby strategic health authorities (SHAs) were asked to engage their stakeholders to develop proposals for reconfiguration which would then be subject to consultation. The draft proposals from the SHAs were submitted to the Department by 15 October so that they could be assessed before being sent out for full local consultation.
SHAs submitted their proposals for the reconfiguration of primary care trusts (PCTs) and these proposals were assessed by an independent external panel drawn from and representing a wide range of interests, to determine whether the SHA proposals met the criteria stipulated in 'Commissioning a Patient-Led NHS'. Following consideration by the external panel and Ministers, all proposals for reconfiguration of SHAs have gone forward for local consultation and a wider range of proposals for PCT reconfigurations has
9 Jan 2006 : Column 157W
also gone forward for local consultation. These local consultations will last for 14 weeks and began on 14 December.
The Department commissioned a piece of research earlier in the year which concluded that there is no blueprint for the optimum size of PCTs but the criteria for reconfiguring PCTs were clearly set out in the document published on 28 July.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will set up discussion groups of NHS staff affected by her proposals for primary care trusts, moderated by Opinion Leader Research; and if she will pay participants for attendance. 
Mr. Byrne: A 14 week local consultation on the proposed reconfiguration of primary care trusts began on 14 December. Strategic health authorities have received guidance on the consultation process, which stresses the importance of involving a range of stakeholders in consultation, including staff. The most effective way of involving those staff is a matter for local determination.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her written statement of 18 October 2005, Official Report, column 49WS, on primary care trusts/strategic health authorities and to the oral answers of 25 October 2005, Official Report, columns 15152, on primary care trusts, whether the statements made in the chronology placed in the Library in relation to new primary care trusts divesting themselves of the majority of service provision have been superseded. 
Mr. Byrne: My right hon. Friend's written ministerial statement of 18 October and oral answers on 25 October supersede the statements made in the chronology placed in the Library in relation to new primary care trusts (PCTs) divesting themselves of the majority of service provision.
Since the document issued on 28 July we have listened to stakeholders and the policy moving forward, in relation to service-provision, is that this will be a matter for PCTs to determine locally. Any move away from direct provision of services by PCTs will be a decision for the local national health service within the framework set out in the forthcoming White Paper and after local consultation, including professions allied to medicine.
We will support PCTs which want to do that, but we will not instruct PCTs to do it, nor will we impose any timetable. What matters is getting the best services for each communityand that is what the White Paper will focus on.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to make a decision on the reorganisation of Hertfordshire primary care trusts; and if she will undertake a public consultation on the matter. 
On 15 October, strategic health authorities (SHAs) submitted their proposals for the reconfiguration of primary care trusts (PCTs), which set out how they intend to strengthen their commissioning function. These proposals were assessed by an independent external panel drawn from and representing a wide range of stakeholder interests, to determine
9 Jan 2006 : Column 158W
whether the SHA proposals meet the criteria stipulated in the document, Commissioning a Patient Led NHS" (July 2005).
Following consideration by the external panel and Ministers, proposals for PCT reconfiguration were notified to all SHAs and hon. and right hon. Members. Consultations began on December 14, running for 14 weeks. No decisions on the reorganisation of PCTS, including those in Hertfordshire, will be taken until this process has been completed.
Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the likely effect of allowing varying sizes and configuration of primary care trusts on the level of consistency and equality of access to services across England. 
Mr. Byrne: The criteria for assessing proposals for the reconfiguration of primary care trusts (PCTs) was set out in the document, Commissioning a Patient Led NHS". These included improving health and reducing inequalities, improving commissioning and effective use of resources and improving co-ordination with social services. I expect overall the new PCTs to improve consistency of performance and equality of access as a result.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|