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Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what factors she took into account when deciding not to establish minimum entitlements to care for blind and partially sighted people; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 15 March 2006]: In making decisions about provision of social care, blind and partially sighted people are treated the same as any other potential user of services. Care for all individuals is determined, based on assessment of need, local eligibility criteria and the local provision of services.
Rehabilitation services for blind and partially sighted people are provided by local health and social care bodies. The Department has given the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, in collaboration with other employers, through Skills for Care, £30,000 to redesign hybrid rehabilitation functions in work with visually impaired people. It is, however, the responsibility of local authorities and health trusts to ensure they have an adequate number of trained people to deliver rehabilitation services to the blind and partially sighted people in their area.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will commission a public awareness campaign on (a) cancer risk factors and lifestyle choices and (b) the signs and symptoms of cancer. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 16 March 2006]: We are not planning to commission a national campaign, as this is not the most effective method to encourage people to either change their lifestyle choices, or seek medical help if they have symptoms of cancer. Local campaigns targeted at people at greatest risk of developing cancer have been shown to be more effective, and we are working with the national health service, charitable organisations and experts in social marketing approaches to develop local pilots.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether a representative from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was invited to sit on the care closer to home demonstration group. 
Mr. Byrne: A representative from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was not invited to sit on the care closer to home demonstration group as membership of this group was limited in number to maintain focus.
Mr. Byrne: Minor injuries units (MIUs) provide care for non-life threatening injuries. Urgent care centres (UCCs) aim to provide integrated care for non-life threatening injury and illness. Both MIUs and UCCs are usually led by experienced nurses or general practitioners. Services may be sited in the community or co-located with a major accident and emergency.
Mr. Byrne: In the quarter ending December 2005, national health service trusts and primary care trusts in England reported 484,321 attendances at minor injury units and 614,993 attendances at NHS walk-in centres.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh
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Assembly Government on sharing good practice in the implementation of the Carers Equal Opportunities Act 2004. 
Mr. Byrne: None. However, the Department is committed to ensuring that good practice is captured and that local authorities in England as well as their counterparts in the devolved administrations are able to learn from it. This is why we commissioned the social care institute for excellence (SCIE) to produce a practice guide to the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004.
SCIE aims to improve the experience of people who use social care by developing and promoting knowledge about good practice. The guide translates what is known from research and policy into recommendations for practice and is available on their website at: www.scie.org.uk/publications/ipracticeguides/carersguidance/index.asp.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria were used to assess the performance of the Citizens Advice Bureau in its delivery of the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service; and whether this criteria will be applied to other contractors. 
The Department has conducted a rigorous procurement exercise for delivery of the new contracts which will start on 1 April 2006. Organisations were required to submit bids against a detailed specification setting out our requirements, including performance assessment criteria that differed from the original contract. The successful organisations submitted bids which more closely matched the Department's requirements and offered better value for money than
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the bid submitted by the Citizens Advice Bureau. All successful contractors have been delivering independent complaints advocacy service under contract to the Department since 1 September 2003, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise in general and specialist advocacy service delivery.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice she received in connection with the decision to (a) end the Citizens Advice Bureau's contract in the North West to provide the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service and (b) withdraw support from this model of service delivery. 
Mr. Byrne: The Department conducted a rigorous procurement exercise in which organisations were required to submit bids against a detailed specification setting out our requirements that differed from the original contract. The new independent complaints advocacy service (ICAS) specification, which was produced after extensive stakeholder consultation and which builds on all that has been learned over the life of the existing contracts, will ensure the provision of a high quality, client centred, flexible service which operates to national standards. The successful organisations submitted bids which more closely matched the Department's requirements and offered better value for money than the bid submitted by the Citizens Advice Bureau. All successful contractors have been delivering independent complaints advocacy service under contract to the Department since 1 September 2003, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise in general and specialist advocacy service delivery.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the decision was taken to end the contract to Citizens Advice Bureau in the North West for the provision of the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service. 
Mr. Byrne: After an extensive procurement exercise which included a series of meetings with the citizens advice central management team the decision was made on 16 December 2005 not to offer the independent complaints advocacy service contract for the North West to the Citizens Advice Bureau.
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