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13 Feb 2006 : Column 1777W—continued

Mental Health

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many inspectors of mental health facilities are employed by the Healthcare Commission; [48179]

(2) how many mental health establishments were inspected by the Healthcare Commission in 2005. [48180]

Jane Kennedy: The Chairman of the Healthcare Commission has confirmed that it does not have specific mental health inspectors. The Healthcare Commission has moved to a model of assessment managers and senior assessment managers, each of whom has a general job description. There are 37 assessment managers and 104 senior assessment managers across the Healthcare Commission.

The Chairman of the Healthcare Commission has also confirmed that between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2005, 197 mental health establishments were inspected (statutory announced and unannounced only).

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation between the Healthcare Commission and independent operators of in-patient care facilities for people suffering from mental illness took place in 2005 on inspection procedures. [48181]

Jane Kennedy: The Chairman of the Healthcare Commission has confirmed that it held a public consultation on revisions to its inspection methods between November 2004 and February 2005. The Healthcare Commission also held consultation meetings on inspection methods in each of its four regions in January 2005 and information exchange workshops in June 2005. All registered providers, including mental health establishments, were invited to these events.

Consultation on changes planned for 2006 started on 2 December 2005 and runs until 24 February. Consultation documents are published on the Healthcare Commission's website at: www.healthcarecommission.org.uk/contactus

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of mental health services in Buckinghamshire were funded by (a) Wycombe Primary Care Trust, (b) Buckinghamshire Mental Health Trust, (c) Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust and (d) Buckinghamshire county council in each year for which figures are available. [51372]

Caroline Flint: Revenue allocations are made direct to primary care trusts who determine their expenditure on services according to local priorities.
 
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This information requested is not centrally held by the Department However, information about spend on mental health services is available from The 2004–05 National Survey of Investment in Mental Health Services" which is available on the Department's website at:

www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/11/52/96/04115296.pdf.

Monitor

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total budget of Monitor was in each year since it was established; what it will be in 2006–07; how many whole-time equivalent staff it has; at what salary grades; how much of its budget has been spent on external consultants; and whether these consultants were commissioned on a basis of contestability. [49759]

Mr. Byrne: This is a matter for Monitor, whose statutory name is the independent regulator of national health service foundation trusts. The Chairman will write to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the contracts placed by the Monitor regulatory body with external consultants. [48800]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 6 February 2006]: This is a matter for Monitor, whose statutory name is the Independent Regulator of National Health Service Foundation Trusts. The Chairman will write to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

National Framework for Continuing Care

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to publish the national framework for continuing care. [48838]

Mr. Byrne: The Department intends to publish the national continuing care framework for consultation in April, subject to the need to take account of any further legal proceedings on relevant issues.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will extend the remit of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to enable it to judge cost-effectiveness with reference to both NHS and social care budgets. [48849]

Jane Kennedy: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) already takes a national health service and personal social services perspective in its economic analysis of clinical and cost effectiveness. This approach is set out in NICE'S 'Guide to the Methods of Technology Appraisal', published April 2004 and is available on the NICE'S website at: www.nice.org.uk/pdf/TAP_Methods.pdf

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to allow the National Institute for Healthcare and Clinical Excellence to fast-track its assessment of cancer drugs; and if she will make a statement. [47019]


 
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Jane Kennedy: On 3 November 2005, the Secretary of State for Health announced a new single technology appraisal process which allows the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce guidance to a faster timetable on important drugs. Work has started on the first tranche of topics, and NICE is consulting in parallel on the detail of the new process.

National Programme for Information Technology

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the progress of the National Programme for Information Technology; and what progress the software supplier has made in supplying systems for use in the programme. [48839]

Mr. Byrne: The national programme for information technology (NPfIT), which is being delivered by the NHS Connecting for Health agency, is an essential part of creating a safer, and more efficient and modern national health service. The foundations have now been laid, and the organisational and commercial infrastructure established, to deploy the systems the NHS needs to provide more effective health care to patients. Implementation work continues to gather momentum and its impact is beginning to be felt more and more widely across the NHS.

The programme has already delivered new systems to thousands of locations in the NHS. The extent of deployment of the programme's many software suppliers' systems across the five regional cluster areas, as at the end of January 2006 has been placed in the Library.

Progress is within budget, ahead of schedule in some areas, and, in the context of a 10-year programme, broadly on track in others. It now has over 180,000 registered NHS users across England. The live IT systems are performing well and are regularly achieving their contracted service and performance levels. Weekly updates of performance and deployment data are being routinely published on the internet.

Altogether, we estimate that well over one and a half million patients have already received improved and safer care as a result of systems and services made available through national programme developments. This figure is increasing every week.

NHS Appointments Commission

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will require the NHS Appointments Commission to change its policy of reappointing chairmen and non-executive members of primary care trust boards where those appointees have presided over trusts that are failing or under investigation. [47656]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 2 February 2006]: The NHS Appointments Commission has recently reappointed members to a number of primary care trusts (PCTs). In making these decisions, the NHS Appointments Commission has taken into account the need to ensure continuity of service pending the outcome of local consultations on potential reconfiguration. All appointments to reconfigured PCTs, will go through a process of fair, open and transparent competition once the outcome is determined.
 
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Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors affected the decision of the NHS Appointments Commission to proceed with the advertisement of the post of Chairman of the new Regional Ambulance Trust in the east of England; and if she will make a statement. [47802]

Mr. Byrne: The decision to advertise these posts is sensible contingency planning that does not pre-empt the outcome of the public consultation. If a decision is made to change ambulance trust configuration, it would be necessary to move quickly to establish the new organisations in order to minimise uncertainty for staff and for service continuity. This includes having quorate boards as soon as possible so that decisions can be taken and staff transferred to the new organisations.


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