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31 Jan 2006 : Column 469W—continued

NHS IT Programme

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many contractors have been involved in the delivery of the NHS IT programme; and for how long each contractor has been involved. [44925]

Mr. Byrne: The national programme for information technology, which is being delivered by the NHS Connecting for Health Agency, has contracts with six primary provider organisations. These are listed, with the date on which contracts were signed.
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Month/year contracted
National service providers
BT (two contracts)December 2003 and February 2004
Cable and WirelessJuly 2004
Atos OriginOctober 2003
Local service providers
CSC AllianceDecember 2003
Accenture (two contracts)December 2003 (both)
Fujitsu AllianceJanuary 2004
BT (with consortium partners)December 2003

Between them these organisations make up the programme's four national application and infrastructure service providers, responsible for delivering services that are common to all users nationally, and the five local service providers, responsible for delivering services at a local level.

The primary provider organisations have contracts with numerous sub-contractor companies providing, for example, hardware, software and consultancy support, many of which are used by more than one of the primary providers. Additionally, other companies not directly involved in delivering systems and services to the national health service provide, or have provided, business support to the Department and NHS Connecting for Health in connection with the national programme.

NHS Professionals

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will place in the Library the current (a) financial forecast and (b) financial position of NHS Professionals. [41117]

Mr. Byrne: The latest annual report and final accounts which give the financial information has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the budget for NHS Professionals was in (a) 2004–05 and (b) 2005–06; and what the anticipated budget is for 2006–07. [44057]

Mr. Byrne: The Department invested £26.6 million in NHS Professionals in 2004–05 and £23 million in 2005–06. Officials are currently working with NHS Professionals to agree a business plan and funding for 2006–07.

NHS Trusts (Chartered Accountants)

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) executive finance directors and (b) non-executive directors of NHS trusts in England are fully qualified chartered accountants. [42535]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is not collected centrally.


Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress she has made in investigating difficulties with access to specialist obesity services since her Department's pledge in June 2004. [39565]

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Caroline Flint: There are 13 national health service-operated obesity clinics for children and adults located across England.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has been commissioned to prepare definitive guidance on the prevention, identification, management and treatment of obesity. This is due in early 2007. Meanwhile, as part of its wider obesity programme, the Department completed consultation on 3 January on:

The Department published guidance for primary care trusts (PCTs) on measuring the height and weight of primary school children on 11 January. In order to help PCTs develop local strategies to prevent and tackle overweight and obesity, the Department has also supported the development of an obesity toolkit to signpost the reader to relevant sources of information regarding evidence of effectiveness of interventions.

Ostomy Care

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many ostomy patients returned to hospital for treatment for complications of their surgery in the last year for which figures are available; [45053]

(2) what steps she is taking to ensure that elderly ostomy patients continue to receive help at home for the related services and appliances they require; [45055]

(3) what estimate she has made of the average age of an ostomy patient; [45057]

(4) what estimate she has made of the number of ostomy patients who also (a) suffer from a disability and (b) need a walking aid. [45058]

Mr. Byrne: Information on the number of ostomy patients returned to hospital due to complications from their surgery is not available.

It is the responsibility of primary care trusts to provide adequate health and social care services, including the provision of appliances, for all ostomy patients in their area.

We have made no estimates on the average age of ostomy patients, or on the number of ostomy patients living with a disability or needing a walking frame.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of surgeries resulting in ostomy performed in (a) England, (b) West Yorkshire, (c) Kirklees and (d) Huddersfield in each of the past 10 years. [45056]

Mr. Byrne: We have made no estimates for the number of people whose surgery results in an ostomy.
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Patient Records

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether a trained doctor will (a) oversee and (b) verify the accuracy of the transfer of a patient's records to the new electronic system; [43010]

(2) what safeguards she has put in place to ensure that general practitioners' handwriting is not transcribed wrongly onto electronic patient records; [43011]

(3) what estimate she has made of the time it will take to transfer handwritten general practitioners' notes on to the new IT system; [43012]

(4) whether a patient's notes will be (a) scanned and (b) transcribed into the new IT system. [43013]

Mr. Byrne: National health service trusts and general practitioners (GPs) will not be required to transfer handwritten notes to the NHS Care Records Service (NHS CRS) when the services goes live locally. Rather, each patient's care record will be populated using data from existing electronic systems. Trusts and GP practices will, however, be free to supplement the transferred data from paper records where they feel it to be clinically and logistically appropriate.

GPs already frequently transfer patient records to another GP when a patient changes their address or GP. It is the responsibility of the individual clinician to ensure that electronic data they have entered or transferred to a new or replacement electronic system is correct. An electronic facility to assist this process is currently under development—the 'GP2GP' record transfer service. This will reduce the amount of re-keying required by enabling the direct transfer of the electronic component of a patient's existing care record.

The Data Protection Act 1998 establishes a set of principles with which users of personal data must comply. These include the duty to ensure that information is accurate and up to date. This duty would extend to individual GPs and other clinicians when transferring local electronic records, or transcribing or scanning paper records, to the NHS CRS. Guidance for transcribing paper records developed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and issued by the Department makes it clear that responsibility for the quality of the necessary processes lies with the individual practice.

When the NHS CRS is deployed locally, a senior clinician, for example, the principle practitioner in a GP practice is responsible for approving the transfer of data. This only occurs after industry-standard testing procedures have demonstrated that the data has been safely transferred. Verification is by a series of quantitative and qualitative pre- and post-validation checks that ensure that the data stored on the new system is the same as the original.

It is considered to be good practice for NHS trusts and GP practices to preserve the existing paper records. The facility exists to easily store a case note reference on the electronic system that allows ready identification of the paper record where this may be required.
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