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John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 8 February 2006, Official Report, column 1325W, on the private finance initiative (PFI), what the net present value is of payments under the PFI contract for (a) Whipps Cross NHS Trust, (b) Peterborough Hospitals NHS Trust and (c) Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust; what the net present value is of the public sector comparator; and how much of the net present value of the public sector comparator is accounted for by the optimism bias. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 February 2006]: At both Walsall and Whipps Cross National Health Service Trusts, the costs of the private finance initiative option are not yet finalised so net present values of payments are not available.
The outline business case for Walsall NHS Trust is on their website at www.walsall.wmids.nhs.uk. This shows at page 97 that an allowance of 15 per cent. has been made for optimism bias at the time of publication (November 2004). Page 107 contains a table with the economic analysis of all the options considered by the trust; the public sector comparator is option six and shows the net present value as £2,670,240,000.
For Whipps Cross NHS Trust, the trust has halted their current scheme. They are in the process of revising their proposals which will then be submitted in a new outline business case. Figures from their previous outline business case are subject to significant change.
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Peterborough and Stamford hospitals is a NHS foundation trust and their private finance initiative scheme is also still in procurement. In accordance with protocol on foundation trusts, requests for information on this trust should be directed to their chairman.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she last met the Prostate Cancer Charity to discuss the funding of research into prostate cancer; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 14 February 2006]: In his capacity as a signatory to the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, the chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity is a member of the prostate cancer advisory group (PCAG), chaired by the national cancer director, Professor Mike Richards. Research is a standing item on the agenda of PCAG, which meets twice a year. The chief executive of the charity also sits on a number of PCAG working groups. In addition, he met with me on 21 July 2005, and has regular informal meetings with officials.
Prostate cancer is the only cancer with departmental funding target for research. The target of £4.2 million was achieved in 200304 and 200405. This level of funding will be maintained, subject to the quality of research proposals received.
Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the effects of excessive salt consumption on patients at risk of developing kidney disease; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what guidance her Department has issued to health professionals on monitoring salt intake levels for patients at risk of developing kidney disease; and what methods are used to monitor salt intake. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Part two of the national service framework for renal services, published in February 2005, identifies certain groups of people who have an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease, such as those with hypertension, vascular disease or heart failure. It also makes clear that life-style changes which reduce the risk of these diseases, including improving diet and cutting salt intake, are also likely to reduce the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Implementation of the clinical guideline on the management of hypertension in adults published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is identified as a marker of good practice: this includes advice on keeping dietary salt intake low.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the effects on children at risk of developing kidney disease from consuming excessive levels of salt; 
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(2) what guidance her Department has issued to health professionals on recommended levels of salt intake for children at risk of developing kidney disease. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Part two of the national service framework for renal services, published in February 2005, makes it clear that improving diet and cutting salt intake are among measures likely to reduce the risk of developing chronic kidney disease by reducing the risk of associated conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. However, some of the major causes of chronic kidney disease in children are not affected by salt intake in the same way, including congenital abnormalities of the kidneys and/or urinary tract, inherited kidney diseases and infections such haemolytic uraemic syndrome.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost is of implementing the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency's Sentinel IT system; and what assessment she has made of the impact of Sentinel on the time spent by assessors on simple applications for marketing authorisations. 
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total costs have been of implementing MHRA's Sentinel computer system; how many and what proportion of each type of application it is being used for; what assessment she has made of how it has affected the time spent to authorise and approve single applications; and if she will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 February 2006]: The Medical Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) Sentinel programme, began in 2002 following formal Government procurement processes. The expected life of the programme is 10 years and to date has cost around £19 million which incorporates enhancements to the scope of the original programme. The MHRA is currently using Sentinel to handle all applications for marketing authorisations and variations, for clinical trial certificates and for import and export licences, as well as a range of internal corporate functions, and will soon extend Sentinel to pharmacovigilence, including new capabilities for signal generation.
Recently assessment approval times have lengthened, mainly due to delays in validating applications, and assessment targets are not being met in a proportion of cases although urgent cases are being processed promptly. Some technical problems were encountered when parts of the Sentinel programme were implemented, which is not unusual for a project of this complexity, but those have been or are being resolved. Positive improvements have already been achieved and more are forecast. Sentinel's development is founded in its ability to handle electronic submissions and as industry increases its use of the external portal for this purpose, the workflow will be further streamlined.
Sentinel completely revolutionises the MHRA's approach to information management and processing and will put them in a leading position in its ability to handle electronic submissions, attract revenues from within and outside the United Kingdom and to remain
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a centre of excellence for medicines regulation. It will enable improved access to information to assist in the protection of public health and provide a better service to all its stakeholders.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultations have taken place with the Royal College of Surgeons on the estimated costs involved in the surgical instrument sets when super centre sterile services are established. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 February 2006]: Departmental Officials meet representatives from the Royal College of Surgeons regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest concerning the decontamination programme. It is a matter for each national health service trust involved in a project to improve decontamination services to determine what extra instruments it needs in the light of the size and quality of the existing stock.
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