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13 Feb 2006 : Column 1784W—continued

NHS Employee Grades

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the (a) annual reduction in income expectation and (b) the loss in pension contributions over a five-year period of a Whitley grade 5 NHS employee transferred to the equivalent band 4 Agenda for Change grade. [48913]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 7 February 2006]: There is no automatic equivalence between Whitley and agenda for change pay bands. However, where job evaluation results in assimilation to a pay band with a lower maximum remuneration, and there are no offsetting changes in other aspects of remuneration, staff may be subject to the agenda for change pay protection rules. While these ensure there is no loss in actual income, a person who remains on protected pay this April will forego the benefit of annual pay awards. But the consequent reduction in income expectations cannot be calculated until the relevant pay awards are known.

Similarly, the effect on pension contributions of a person in any protection cannot be calculated until the relevant pay awards are known.

NHS Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 145W, on NHS finance, what the total reduction in provision for clinical negligence declared by the NHS Litigation Authority was in 2004–05; and whether it is expected that further such reductions will be declared in (a) 2005–06 and (b) future financial years. [46607]

Jane Kennedy: The total reduction to provisions for the NHS Litigation Authority in 2004–05 was £1,872 million. This overall reduction reflects a £1,497 million recalculation to record the cumulative adjustment to clinical negligence provisions dating back to 2000–01 as a technical change and a £375 million further reduction in budget requirement due to a change in the methodology for calculating clinical negligence claims in 2004–05. These factors will be built into budget management for current and future years.

NHS Foundation Trusts

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the total cost to an average sized NHS trust of preparing an application for NHS foundation trust status. [48850]

Mr. Byrne: Information on national health service trusts preparing for an application for NHS foundation trust (NHSFT) status is not held centrally, as costs will vary from trust to trust.
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The decision on when to apply for foundation trust status is one which is taken locally and applicant trusts are responsible for meeting the costs associated with their application and establishment as a NHSFT. However, the Department provides some direct financial and advisory support to applicants to assist them in preparing for their application and establishment as a foundation trust.

NHS Private Treatment

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many operations paid for by the NHS were carried out by private sector providers in December 2005 (a) in England and (b) in Kettering. [47624]

Mr. Byrne: As part of the national independent sector procurement, 8,762 diagnostic assessments and 3,786 clinical procedures were carried out by independent sector providers in England in December 2005. During the same period, the Capio Woodlands Hospital national health service treatment centre in Kettering discharged 25 NHS patients referred for treatment under a national contract. Information is not held on operations which are commissioned locally from the independent sector.

NHS Purchasing and Logistics

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she has taken to improve efficiency in NHS purchasing and logistics since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [42371]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer16 January 2006]: The Government recognise the importance of achieving value for money in public procurement and the necessity of a modern supply chain in meeting this and other national health service requirements. It also needs to ensure that national purchasing and supply activity is relevant to the needs of the NHS.

In 1997, the national purchasing body for the NHS in England was the NHS Supplies Authority established in 1991. With a remit to obtain best value on supply spending for the NHS as a whole, it accomplished a great deal in moving towards a more strategic and collaborative NHS purchasing structure. However, as a special health authority NHS Supplies had limited powers and spheres of influence.

In 1998 the Cabinet Office Review of NHS procurement identified the need for a central purchasing organisation, with sufficient authority to exert a genuine influence on the NHS, both directly and via input at policy-making level within government. The review recommended:

The role of the NHS PASA was to act as a centre of expertise, knowledge and excellence in purchasing and supply matters for the NHS. Acting not just as an advisory and co-ordinating body but also as a leader in
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the modernisation of purchasing and supply for the NHS, NHS PASA contracts on a national basis for products and services which are strategically critical to the NHS. It also acts in cases where aggregated purchasing power will yield greater economic savings than those achieved by contracting on a sub-national basis.

NHS PASA contributes to the delivery of fast, responsive patient care by working with suppliers to ensure the availability of cost-effective equipment, goods and services; leading the development of electronic commerce in the NHS to reduce transaction costs and release resources for direct patient care.

The NHS Logistics Authority works to support the operational activity of the NHS by providing best value for the NHS in the supply of goods and supply chain services required in the support of health care.

Since its inception there has been significant progress, most notably in terms of:

In June 2003, the Department established the commercial directorate in support of gaining efficiencies across the NHS and to ensure value for money in particular areas of spend building relationships with the independent sector using a commercially focused approach.

After a review of the NHS supply chain the commercial directorate launched the supply chain excellence programme (SCEP) in March 2004. The three-year programme is focused on the restructure of the NHS supply chain to gain efficiencies and improve the effectiveness of supply management in the NHS. SCEP aims to gain the best value for the money the NHS spends each year on goods and services. This will ensure the greatest possible share of NHS funding is directed towards improving clinical capacity and ultimately patient care. Overall, SCEP is expected to deliver annualised savings of over £500 million by 2007–08.

The healthcare industries task force, a ministerial led initiative which worked in partnership with industry, recommended that a new device evaluation service should be established to help inform procurement decisions and encourage the uptake of useful, safe,
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innovative products and procedures used in health and social care. To effect the necessary changes the centre for evidence-based purchasing (CEP)—formerly the device evaluation service—moved to NHS PASA on 1 October 2005 and a new structure and processes are being established in early 2006.

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