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Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the transaction costs involved in allowing general practitioners to negotiate and hold individual contracts with providers under practice-based commissioning arrangements. 
Mr. Byrne: Under the proposals for practice-based commissioning, negotiating and holding individual contracts with providers will remain the responsibility of primary care trusts. There will not, therefore, be an increase in transaction costs associated with contracting with providers under practice-based commissioning.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she plans to permit general practitioners holding commissioning budgets under proposals for practice-based commissioning to pool their budgets for the purpose of collective commissioning of services. 
Mr. Byrne: Under practice-based commissioning participating general practitioner practices will be permitted to pool their indicative budgets for the purpose of collective commissioning of services. This subject is covered in paragraph 25 of the publication "Practice Based Commissioningpromoting clinical engagement" which is available on the Department's website at: www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/09/85/65/04098565.pdf.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 14 July 2005, Official Report, column 1199W, on pregnancy-related deaths, if she will break down the figures by primary care trust for each year for which this information is available. 
Mr. Byrne: This information is not available centrally. The data provided previously were taken from the confidential inquiry into maternal deaths, which collects information relating to women dying from pregnancy-related conditions. The data are anonymised with no address details available.
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Prison health, the joint Home Office and Department of Health unit, has been working since 2000 to improve health care provision for prisoners. It has led and managed a work programme to modernise services, step up national health service engagement and improve performance monitoring. Key achievements include developing better mental health provision, including NHS-funded mental health in-reach teams. Nearly £20 million is being spent on mental health provision in 200506. 102 prisons have mental health in-reach teams with some 360 extra staff employed. Prison health has also supported
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improvements in primary care services; developed the prison health workforce and improved the prison health estate.
Funding responsibility for primary healthcare services in the publicly run prisons in England and Wales was transferred in April 2003 from the Home Office to the Department. The NHS primary care trusts started to assume responsibility for the commissioning of prison health services in public prisons in England in April 2004 and will assume full responsibility in April 2006. £118 million was transferred for prison healthcare for 200203: the amount allocated for 200506 is nearly £176 million.
Prison health is now engaged in a further programme to improve health and social care for prisoners. This includes improving the transfer process so that those whose mental ill health means that they require hospital treatment can be moved more quickly. It also includes the development of an integrated drug treatment system; the inclusion of offenders in relevant departmental initiatives; further improving workforce provision, developing a modern prison information technology system which aids the flow of information about prisoners' healthcare on admission, transfer or release, and the further improvement of the healthcare estate.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 July 2005, Official Report, columns 98899W, on the private finance initiative (PFI), what the amount of surcharges paid to PFI contractors was in each year to date. 
Mr. Byrne: The payment mechanism in a private finance initiative contract contains a volume element under which the quantity of variable items such as meals or linen provided is directly related to the throughput of patients, so where the volume of services is above those initially stated in the private finance initiative contract, trusts will make additional payments.
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was paid from NHS funds to private sector treatment centres in 200405; and what the estimate is for (a) 200506, (b) 200607 and (c) 200708. 
[holding answer 15 December 2005]: Expenditure on wave 1 of the centrally procured independent sector elective treatment programme for the year 200405 and estimates for the years to 200708 are shown in the table.
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Expenditure on locally procured independent sector elective provision is not separately identified from the annual financial returns of national health service trusts, primary care trusts and health authorities.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many rehabilitation officers for blind and partially-sighted people are employed by each London borough; and if she will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: As part of an agreement between the Department and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, ownership of that part of the Severalls hospital site owned by the Secretary of State for Health was transferred to the ownership of English Partnerships on 6 April 2005.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps she is taking to ensure that the prevention, detection and treatment of (a) sexually transmitted diseases and (b) HIV/AIDS is a priority for commissioners in the NHS; 
Caroline Flint: Sexual health was identified as a key priority in the public health White Paper, 'Choosing Health', backed by major new investment of £300 million over three years and improved performance management to ensure delivery at local level.
Primary care trusts (PCTs) will receive funding for implementing the targets in the 'Choosing Health' White Paper in their mainstream allocations. Rather than audit PCT spending, we will be monitoring the outcomes from this investment. In particular, the progress towards targets to reduce the level of new infections of gonorrhoea, as a marker for all sexually transmitted infections, to ensure patients have access to
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genito-urinary medicine clinics within 48 hours by 2008 and numbers of screens undertaken in the chlamydia screening programme. These improved performance measures, should significantly strengthen the incentive for local investment and service modernisation.
In addition, a letter has been sent by the Department to strategic health authority chief executives highlighting that when considering any savings from implementing 'Commissioning a patient led NHS', savings should not be identified from those posts working on implementation of 'Choosing Health'. This includes posts in front-line services.
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