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Strategic Health Authorities

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much she estimates will be top sliced from strategic health authority budgets in the year 2006–07; [58338]

(2) if she will reverse the decision to top slice primary care trust budgets to meet financial targets. [59395]

Jane Kennedy: The requirement for national health service organisations to bank reserves with their strategic health authority (SHA) was announced by the Department in The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2006–07".

The amount of reserve to be banked and the terms of the agreement will be agreed with their SHA. SHAs are responsible for the financial management of the organisations within their area and for delivering financial planning targets agreed with the Department. Holding financial reserves is a prudent approach to financial management, so the Department is encouraging SHAs to hold reserves because it will help them deliver their financial targets.

There are no plans to top slice SHA budgets, but any net overspending by organisations within a SHA area in 2005–06 will result in a reduced allocation in 2006–07 for that SHA in line with Government resource accounting and budgeting rules on the carry forward of over and under spending.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) on what date the interim chief executive posts for the new strategic health authorities are planned (a) to become operational and (b) to end; [56559]

(2) what job descriptions her Department has produced for the interim chief executive post of the new strategic health authorities; [56560]

(3) when the appointments of the interim chief executive posts for the new strategic health authorities were announced. [56561]

Mr. Byrne: The strategic health authority (SHA) chief executives remain in post until the consultation on SHA and primary care trust reconfiguration has ended and Ministers make decisions about establishing any new SHAs.
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SHA boards remain statutorily accountable until any new SHAs are established.

The Department has designated a transition lead for each potential new SHA area to ensure there is business continuity should new SHAs take over from July 2006. The transitional arrangements started on 1 February 2006 and will operate until any new SHAs are in place from July 2006. The Department has agreed a list of transition tasks which will be overseen by the transition leads. These are:

There is no separate job description for the role.


Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to ensure that syringes required to administer medicines to babies orally will be available on prescription; and if she will make a statement. [58104]

Jane Kennedy: For such a specialist syringe to be prescribed on the national health service by a general practitioner or nurse prescriber it would need to be listed under Part IX of the Drug Tariff. It is up to a manufacturer or supplier to make an application for inclusion of suitable products on this list, which is managed by the Prescription Pricing Authority.

There is provision in certain circumstances for patients to be provided with an oral syringe. When the prescribed dose of an oral liquid medicine is not five millilitres or whole multiples of five millilitres and the pack does not already include a suitable measuring devices, the pharmacy dispensing the medicines should provide a five millilitre plastic oral syringe.

Tourette's Syndrome

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what help and support is available for (a) parents, (b) professionals and (c) individuals dealing with Tourette's syndrome; [58360]

(2) what steps her Department is taking to ensure thathealth professionals are trained to recognise the symptoms of Tourette's syndrome; [58361]

(3) what steps her Department is taking to improve the general awareness of Tourette's syndrome. [58362]

Mr. Byrne: A range of social, psychological and pharmacological interventions are available to support people living with Tourette's syndrome, their families and their carers. It is the responsibility of local healthand social care organisations to commission appropriate services based on local needs.

The national service framework for long-term conditions (NSF) has been published to help drive up quality and reduce variations in the care provided by health and social care organisations. Through its quality requirements, the NSF addresses a key range of issues including the need for equitable access to a range of
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services; good quality information and support for patients and carers and the ability to see a specialist and get the right investigations and diagnosis as quickly as possible.

The Government recognise that one of the key determinants in delivering high quality and effective patient care is that health professionals have an appropriate level of skills and knowledge. Addressing the training needs of health professionals is, however, the responsibility of the appropriate regulatory bodies. They set standards for the pre-registration training of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, approve the education institutions that provide the training and determine the curricula.

Post-registration training needs for national health service staff are decided against local national health service priorities, through appraisal processes and training needs analyses informed by local delivery plans and the needs of the service. Local authorities and health service providers decide how best to provide services to meet the needs of the individuals.

We have no specific plans to raise public awareness of the symptoms of Tourette's syndrome. NHS Direct, NHS Direct on-line and NHS Direct interactive have been established to provide advice and information on health and self-care. Through these services, people have access to information on a range of conditions and illnesses, including Tourette's syndrome.

Training Abroad (Cumbria)

David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff from health trusts in Cumbria have been abroad on training courses in the last five years; and at what cost in each case. [58729]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is not held centrally.

Turnaround Directors

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what she expects the total cost of turnaround directors to be; and whether the costs will be borne by (a) primary care trusts, (b) strategic health authorities and (c) the Department of Health. [58182]

Jane Kennedy: The turnaround teams were announced by the Secretary of State in a written ministerial statement on 1 December 2005, Official Report, column 37WS.

The first stage of this is a baseline assessment, the aim of which is to ensure there is an agreed understanding of the local financial problem and that actions are in hand to address this. This was funded by the Department.

Following the assessment, the local national health service will identify the actions needed to return the organisations to financial balance and what tailored support is needed to support local management. For the most challenged organisations, the first three months of a turnaround director will be funded by the Department. Otherwise, it is for the local NHS to decide on the funding streams.
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The Department will contract for the strategic healthauthority (SHA) turnaround directors to work alongside the transition SHA leaders.

The Department has a budget of £6 million for turnaround work in 2005–06, which is expected to be far outweighed by the benefits of turnaround. Values of individual contracts are to be treated as commercial in confidence.

I envisage that the turnaround teams will be needed to the end of 2006–07, when I expect the NHS to have returned to financial balance.

Waiting Times

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to publish the results of her Department's diagnostics waiting time data collection. [58287]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 13 March 2006]: The new diagnostic data collection began in January 2006. As with many new data collections, it may take a number of months of collection before the data is of sufficient quality to be publishable. We hope to commence routine monthly publication of the data shortly to inform 18 weeks preparations.
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