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NHS Contracts

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what calculations were made to estimate the cost of (a) the consultant contract, (b) agenda for change and (c) the new general medical services contract, as provided in her Department's public expenditure questionnaire 2005 for the Health Committee; and whether there have been cost overruns on each of these contracts. [36604]

Mr. Byrne: The consultant contract was costed on a methodology agreed with the British Medical Association and on that basis the estimated cost of the contract, and the funding, was £133 million in 2003–04 rising to £250 million in 2005–06. In late 2004, we adjusted the tariff for 2005–06 by £150 million in response to suggestions from the service that this was the further cost pressure. However, our national survey, published in February 2005, indicated that the actual additional cost to the service was around £90 million.

Agenda for change costs were estimated from experience in a number of early implementer sites to be consistent with the agreed funding envelope of £480 million in 2004–05 rising to £950 million in 2005–06.

There are concerns based on monitoring in a number of sample sites that initial costs may have been higher than expected, and follow-up work is currently being carried out on the costs of implementation within each strategic health authority to test this. The agenda for change funding envelope is due to increase in 2006–07 and 2007–08 and it is too soon to conclude whether or not the overall envelope will be exceeded.

For the general medical services contract, forecast spend based on available primary care trust data is shown in the table.
Forecast spend against PCT allocated resources
£ billion

Financial yearAllocationOutturnOver

(23) Forecast outturn, that is still subject to finalised PCT accounts.


Angela Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions her Department has had
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with optometrists concerning their payment system for NHS eye examinations; and if she will make a statement. [34513]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 5 December 2005]: I met with representatives of optometrists and dispensing opticians on 27 October 2005. One of the issues raised was their concern that changes might be made to current arrangements for a nationally negotiated sight test fee, with sight tests funded from a national budget. I assured them that we did not envisage any changes to these arrangements.

The fee for the national health service funded sight test is currently subject to a three-year agreement, which ends in March 2006. Negotiations on the sight test fee for 2006–07 are due to begin shortly.

Primary Care Trusts

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much each of the Suffolk primary care trusts will receive in 2006–07 per head of population; and what the national average is expected to be. [44637]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Revenue allocations per head of population to primary care trusts (PCTs) in Suffolk, as well as the England average, for 2006–07 are shown in the table.

Allocations to PCTs are based on the population weighted for a number of factors. These factors include:

PCT allocations per head of population

PCT2006–07 allocation (£000)2006
2006–07 allocation per head (£)
Central Suffolk106,743100,3981,063
Suffolk Coastal115,68299,2091,166
Suffolk West256,665244,2871,051

Prisons (Health Care)

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans her Department has for the contracting-out of prison health care. [45461]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have no central plans for the contracting out of prison health care in the public prisons. From April 2006, primary care trusts will be responsible for commissioning health care services for prisons in their area. They will do this in conjunction with their prisons according to the needs of their population.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many contracts have been awarded to private sector companies for the provision of healthcare within HM Prison Service; and if she will list the (a) prisons and (b) companies concerned. [45459]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not available centrally. It is for the primary care trusts, working in conjunction with the prisons in their area, to commission services based on the needs of their populations. Large contracts with private sector companies, for the provision of health care, are not the norm in the public sector prisons although Her Majesty's Young Offenders Institute, Feltham has recently entered into a contract with SERCO for the provision of primary health care services.

Worcestershire Royal Hospital

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will investigate the series of complaints made against the Worcestershire Royal hospital concerning poor care in the hospital; and if she will make a statement. [45557]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 26 January 2006]: This is a matter for West Midlands South strategic health authority (SHA) which is responsible for ensuring that its primary care trusts commission services to meet the needs of the local populations and that those services are of an appropriate quality. The SHA is looking into the matter and will write to the hon. Member with its findings.


Brownfield Development (Hammersmith and Fulham)

Mr. Hands: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many hectares of brownfield land have been developed in Hammersmith and Fulham in each year since 1997; and how many new homes have been built in the course of those developments; [45272]

(2) what percentage of new housing development in Hammersmith and Fulham has been on brownfield land in each year since 1997. [45274]

Yvette Cooper: The available estimates are from land use change statistics, shown in the following table.
Previously-developed land developed for all uses (hectares)New dwellings on previously-developed land(24) (number)Proportion of new dwellings on previously-developed land(24) (percentage)

(24) Excludes dwellings from conversions and change of use.

Buncefield Oil Depot

Mike Penning: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to suspend all new developments around (a) oil depots and (b) refineries until the inquiry into the Buncefield oil depot fire by the Health and Safety Executive has reported; and if he will make a statement. [47589]

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Yvette Cooper: Decisions about development in the vicinity of oil depots and refineries are, in the first instance, matters for local planning authorities. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has established consultation zones around these sites. Within these zones, local planning authorities have to consult the Health and Safety Executive about proposed development so that it can advise them about the risk from the sites and their potential effects on nearby development.

The Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency are currently investigating the causes of the incident at Buncefield. So far the investigation has not revealed any grounds to change the basis of HSE's existing advice to planning authorities. Until the causes of the incident are established it would be premature to comment.

Mike Penning: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will take steps to stop the reduction in (a) full-time and (b) retained (i) fire stations and (ii) firefighters in Hertfordshire until the inquiry into the Buncefield oil depot fire by the Health and Safety Executive has reported; and if he will make a statement. [47590]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Fire and Rescue Authorities are required by the Fire and Rescue Service National Framework to have in place and maintain an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) which reflects local need and sets out plans to tackle effectively both existing and potential risks to communities. It is, therefore, for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority to determine appropriate fire cover and the level of service in its area. I am sure that the authority will wish to consider all issues associated with the Buncefield oil depot fire before reaching a final decision.

It is not the role of Ministers to agree the operational proposals in an authority's plan; that is for elected members of the authority concerned. They are best placed to act on the professional advice of principal officers and to balance the competing local demands on available resources for the benefits of the communities they serve.

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