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Ambulance Response Times

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the ambulance response times are for (a) Bridlington, (b) Driffield and (c) England for the past 12 months for which figures are available. [42333]

Mr. Byrne: The Department collects ambulance response time data by ambulance trust rather than by geographical area. Therefore, the information for parts (a) and (b) of the question is not centrally collected in the requested format.

The data that the Department does collect on ambulance response times are published in tables 5a, 5b, 6 and 7 of the statistical bulletin, "Ambulance services, England: 2004–05", which is available in the Library and on the Department's website at:

This publication includes ambulance response time data for the Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Trust, which covers Bridlington and Driffield (East Yorkshire), and for the whole of England for 2004–05.

Ambulance Staff (Assaults)

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many private prosecutions for assault of ambulance staff while on duty were brought in conjunction with the Legal Protection Unit in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many of these resulted in convictions. [25510]

Jane Kennedy: The NHS Security Management Service Legal Protection Unit (NHS SMS LPU) became fully operational from March 2004, and provides for the first-time ever the national health service with nationally consistent legal advice on what can be done to deal with those who abuse and assault NHS staff.

Since its creation, the NHS LPU has provided advice to 12 ambulance trusts on a number of cases involving violence and abuse against NHS staff. It has also undertaken a successful civil action on behalf of Mersey regional ambulance service involving an individual who had abused NHS staff over a number of years.

The overall number of identified prosecutions involving physical assaults on ambulance staff in England for 2004–05 totalled 100.

Calcium (Children)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the impact on intake of calcium in children's diets of the proposed withdrawal of the provision of milk in schools, with particular reference to areas of social deprivation; [42039]

(2) what assessment she has made of the effect of the provision of milk in schools on children's health. [42040]

Caroline Flint: The Department recognises the nutritional value of milk within the context of a healthy balanced diet, particularly as a good source of calcium in children's diet. Indeed many low income families receive free milk as part of the welfare food scheme.

Although there is no statutory requirement for milk to be provided in schools, the Government encourages local education authorities and schools to make milk
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available for those pupils who want it. The European Union school milk subsidy scheme and the national top-up scheme subsidise the provision of milk to children in those primary and nursery schools wishing to participate. Appropriate Government departments have considered the recommendations from the recent independent report on the national top-up and agreed that the subsidy for school milk should remain unchanged.

Cancer Services

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how payment by results will operate in respect of cancer services; and if she will make a statement. [42475]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 16 January 2006]: Under payment by results (PbR), hospitals are paid according to the number and complexity of cases treated. PbR is being implemented incrementally over a four-year transition period and will cover 67 per cent. of commissioning expenditure by 2008–09.

From 2008–09, the intention is to expand the scope of PbR to include chemotherapy and radiotherapy through the introduction of revised casemix classifications known as Healthcare Resource Groups, that is, HRGs Version 4.0. In addition, HRGs are being developed for specialist palliative care. In the meantime, commissioning of these services remain outside the scope of PbR and prices for these services continue to be negotiated locally.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 7 November 2005, Official Report, column 278W, on waiting times, what meetings her Department has held with stakeholders about the (a) resourcing, (b) implementation and (c) monitoring of the 2005 Labour party manifesto commitment that all women with breast symptoms should be seen within two weeks of referral by their general practitioner; which groups attended these meetings; what the content of these meetings was; what the timetable is for developing a framework determining the (i) resourcing, (ii) implementation and (iii) monitoring of this commitment; and if she will make a statement. [41954]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Breakthrough Breast Cancer was closely involved in the early thinking about this commitment and representatives from the Department met with the charity early in 2005 and will be meeting with the charity again shortly to further discuss this commitment. The Department has assessed the need for additional staff required to meet the commitment and we have commissioned Skills for Health, which is the Sector Skills Council for Health, to develop competencies in breast assessment. Once these competencies are agreed they could be used to develop training programmes to increase the number of breast assessment staff. Skills for Health are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in the development and piloting of the competencies including charities, Royal Colleges, professional groups and national health service organisations. The Department will also be engaging with further stakeholders to determine resourcing, implementation and monitoring arrangements.

Capital Schemes

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the capital cost was of each publicly funded capital
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scheme over £10 million for which her Department is responsible (a) at the outline business case stage, (b) as reported in the 2004–05 financial year and (c) in the 2005–06 financial year; and what the percentage change in capital costs (i) has been since the outline business case stage and (ii) is in the last 12 months. [35148]

Mr. Byrne: The Department does not hold the information requested.

Care Homes

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2005, Official Report, column 1799W, on care homes, whether local authorities have (a) a duty and (b) discretion (i) to contract with a care home for an individual's accommodation and care and (ii) to charge the individual under the charging rules according to their financial circumstances. [41907]

Mr. Byrne: Section 21 of the National Assistance Act 1948 (NAA) provides for a local authority (LA) to make arrangements to provide residential accommodation where, as a result of their age, illness, disability or other circumstances, a person over 18 is in need of care and attention which is not otherwise available to them. LAs have a duty to arrange accommodation in such circumstances for persons who are ordinarily resident in their area or who are in urgent need of the accommodation concerned. They have a power to arrange it for persons with no settled residence or, with the agreement of that authority, for persons who are ordinarily resident in the area of another LA. Where the person is assessed as not needing care and attention or as having care and attention otherwise available to them, for example because they have both the resources and the ability to arrange their own care, there is no power or duty under the NAA for a LA to make arrangements for a person to be accommodated in a home. In this case, if requested, a LA may provide information and advice to help the person find an appropriate care home.

Where the LA arranges accommodation, it is required to charge the person to whom the accommodation is provided in accordance with a statutory scheme.

Cerebral Palsy

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to improve the care offered to those with cerebral palsy. [31906]

Mr. Byrne: The national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions, published in March 2005, specifically focuses on improving services for people with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy. People with these conditions will get faster diagnosis, more rapid treatment and a comprehensive package of care under the NSF.

Services in the NSF include:

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Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of people suffering from cerebral palsy in each year since 1997. [31913]

Mr. Byrne: Information on the number of people living with cerebral palsy is not collected.

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