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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the cost to pharmacists of providing full patient packs if reimbursement is based on the quantity of drugs prescribed; and if she will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: No estimates have been made by the Department of dispensing patient packs if reimbursement is based on the quantity of medicine prescribed. Work undertaken by the Prescription Pricing Authority has shown that the quantity prescribed matches that of an available pack size in the majority of cases. For example, sample statistics show that drugs available in a pack size of 28 is prescribed in multiples of 28 nearly 78 per cent. of the time. In these cases the cost to the pharmacist of providing full patient packs is nil.
It is not possible to ascertain whether pharmacists would incur cost by providing patient packs when reimbursement is based on the quantity prescribed as providing a full pack could mean that the amount dispensed is varied both upwards and downwards in comparison to the amount prescribed on different occasions, therefore the times more is dispensed may be balanced by the times less is dispensed.
Furthermore, if pharmacists are not obligated to dispense a quantity other than that which is prescribed, they would retain the option of dispensing exactly as prescribed, thereby incurring no costs or losses.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many meetings of the EU (a) Committee on the Community action programme on injury prevention, (b) Committee for the implementation of the Community action programme for the prevention of AIDS and certain other communicable diseases, (c) Committee on the action programme on rare diseases in the framework of the action plan for public health and (d) Advisory Committee on cancer prevention have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; what other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved governments; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) how many meetings of the EU Committee for the implementation of the Community action programme on (a) the prevention of drug dependence in the framework of the action plan for public health, (b) pollution-related diseases in the framework of the action plan for public health, (c) health promotion information, education and training and (d) health monitoring in the framework of the action plan for public health have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; what other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved governments; and if she will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: The European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) is funded in part through fees paid by pharmaceutical companies for work undertaken by the EMEA to assess marketing authorisation applications, and in part by community subsidy, to which the United Kingdom pays a financial contribution.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff have been recruited by (a) Hammersmith andFulham NHS trust and (b) Hammersmith hospitals NHS trust as a result of the European working time directive. 
Implementation of the working time directive (WTD) is the responsibility of local national health service trusts and strategic health authorities were required to draw up affordable plans to meet WTD 2004.
The Government agreed to implement the European working time directive as United Kingdom legislation to improve the health and safety and working lives of all employees in this country. The vast majority of staff groups have been covered by the 48-hour week since 1998. The Government negotiated an extension to the WTD for doctors in training to enable phased implementation from August 2004.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS foundation trusts have (a) closed and (b) downgraded their accident and emergency departments since their establishment. 
Mr. Byrne: The information requested is not held centrally. Information relating to the operational management of national health service foundation trusts (NHSFTs) can be obtained via the chairman of each organisation.
The terms of authorisation for NHSFTs requires them to comply with national healthcare targets and standards, which includes a key target that patients should wait no longer than four hours to be treated in accident and emergency. A significant failure to comply with standards and targets may lead to intervention by Monitor, the statutory name of which is the independent regulator of NHSFTs.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the hospital trusts in England that are considering proposals to downgrade their accident and emergency departments to accept planned admissions only. 
Jane Kennedy: Minimising the development and spread of strains such as gentamicin resistant staphylococcus aureus" requires prudent prescribing of antibiotics as well as strict adherence to infection control measures. This is why prudent prescribing is part of our programme to tackle healthcare associated infections. To support this we have provided £12 million over three years for hospital clinical pharmacists.
Caroline Flint: The most recent data on public attitudes to smoking restrictions is available in the Office for National Statistics publication Smoking Related Behaviour and Attitudes 2004," which surveyed opinion on restrictions on smoking in certain places.
|Smoking should be restricted in certain places (Table 6.13)||Percentage agreeing|
|in indoor shopping centres||87|
|in indoor sports and leisure centres||93|
|in indoor areas in railway/bus stations||82|
|in other public places||93|
|In pubs, would prefer (Table 6.21)||Percentage agreeing|
|no smoking allowed anywhere||31|
|mainly non-smoking with smoking areas||47|
|mainly smoking with non-smoking areas||16|
|smoking allowed throughout||5|
|don't go to pubs/don't know||2|
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will meet local hon. Members to discuss proposals for future provision of (a) health care services and (b) local NHS dentistry provided by (i)
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Kettering general hospital and (ii) Northamptonshire Heartlands primary care trust; and when she plans to respond to previous requests to do so; 
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many job losses she expects as a result of the merger of primary care trusts in West Lancashire; what budget she has allocated for severance payments in (a) West Lancashire and (b) England; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: Ministers have given the go-ahead for all 28 strategic health authorities (SHAs) to begin local consultations on boundary changes to SHAs and primary care trusts. Consultations started on 14 December and will continue for a period of 14 weeks (until 22 March). No decisions on boundary changes will be taken until these local consultations have been completed and their outcomes considered by Secretary of State. Until any boundary changes are agreed, it is not possible to calculate the number of job losses in any particular area.
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