Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will postpone any proposals to merge ambulance trusts arising from the current consultation until the urgent care service strategy described in paragraph 4.51 of the White Paper, Our Health, Our Care, Our Say", is developed. 
Mr. Byrne: Organisational reconfiguration does not preclude ambulance trusts being involved in the development and provision of integrated urgent care services nor does it prejudge their role in providing urgent care services.
Primary care trusts will continue to commission urgent care services, including ambulance services, and we expect ambulance trusts to continue to provide services tailored to particular localities within their area, whether or not ambulance trusts are merged. Larger ambulance trusts, if established, would have the strategic capacity and flexibility of resources to help them play an even greater part in working in partnership with other health and social care agencies to develop urgent care services that meet the needs of local people.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the national approach to risk management described in paragraph 4.42 of the White Paper, Our Health, Our Care, Our Say", is expected to be placed on a statutory basis. 
Jane Kennedy: The Chairman of the Healthcare Commission has confirmed that current advice, which is published on its website, is that anyone wishing to complain about the Commission should contact a named member of staff. When complaints are received in this way they are referred to the section of the Healthcare Commission concerned to respond to. The Health Commission's chief executive responds to complaints addressed directly to her. Central guidance for its staff on dealing with complaints made against it is being currently developed.
A number of initiatives are under way to promote healthy lifestyles in people aged 50 and over. As part of the partnerships for older peoples project
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(POPP) initiative the Department has awarded funding of over £39 million to 19 local authority-led partnerships across England to improve health and well being outcomes for older people. Each pilot site, which will be operational by 1 May 2006 will develop, test and evaluate, a range of different ways of providing more support and care for local older people, which will enable them to have a better quality of life and remain in control of their own lives for as long as possible. Several of the pilot sites include health promotion activities as part of their wide-ranging projects. For example:
Nine local exercise action pilots (LEAP) are under way across England, jointly funded by the Department, the Countryside Agency and Sport England. The pilots are testing different community approaches to increasing physical activity in deprived areas. Three of the pilots based at Ashton, Leigh and Wigan, Nottingham city and West of Cornwall Primary Care Trust have a specific focus on older people.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in (a) England, (b) the Tees Valley and (c) Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland were diagnosed as having HIV/AIDS in each year since 1997. 
Caroline Flint: These data are only routinely published at strategic health authority level. These are shown in tables 1 and 2. Full HIV data are not yet available for 2005. The HIV diagnoses are from reports received from laboratories and clinicians by the end of December 2005.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to increase access to HIV (a) testing and (b) treatment among African communities living in England; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: Through the African HIV Policy Network (AHPN) and partner organizations, the Department has funded the campaign It's Better to Know" aimed specifically at increasing awareness of HIV testing among people from African communities living in England. We are working with the AHPN to develop a further HIV awareness raising campaign to be taken forward during 2006. We fund the African AIDS helpline, which provides information in a variety of languages. We have also funded a pilot project exploring the feasibility of providing additional HIV testing facilities outside of the genito-urinary medicine setting. This pilot is currently being evaluated.
Caroline Flint: Awareness of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, will be addressed through a new sexual health media campaign, announced as part of the Choosing Health" White Paper, to modernise and transform sexual health in England. The campaign will focus on the risks of unprotected sex and the benefits of using condoms to avoid the risk of sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
A major aim for the campaign is normalising condom use and implicitly this will contribute to reducing the risk of HIV. The campaign is additional and complementary to, existing HIV Awareness campaigns for those most at risk, in partnership with key voluntary sector organisations.
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the contracts being negotiated with independent sector providers of elective treatment will provide for payments exceeding the NHS equivalent cost by a (a) greater and (b) smaller percentage than the average excess in 200405. 
[holding answer 30 January 2006]: All contracts negotiated with independent sector providers have to demonstrate value for money. Value for money is based upon a combination of price and quality. It is not possible to predict the outcome of current negotiations but we do not expect to pay more than the average excess paid in 200405. From 2008, any new
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provider and existing independent sector treatment centre providers, once their contracts have expired, will be expected to provide services at the agreed national health service price.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the NHS can withhold payment under contracts with independent sector providers where the number of procedures stipulated in the contract is not fulfilled; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: National health service commissioners can withhold payments where the provider of an independent sector treatment centre does not complete procedures in accordance with the terms of the contract. If the referral of patients to the treatment centre is less than that stipulated in the contract, agreed between the provider and the commissioner, the provider will be paid the difference between the value of referrals and the minimum contract value to cover their costs of providing sufficient resources to honour their contractual obligations.