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23 Mar 2006 : Column 585W—continued


Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the efficacy of animal-based insulin as a medication for those with diabetes; and if she will make a statement. [53473]

Jane Kennedy: All animal derived insulins that are licensed as medicinal products in the United Kingdom for human use have been assessed as satisfactory based on the critical parameters of quality, safety and efficacy before being approved.

NHS Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2006, Official Report, column 1306W, on prescribing practice (budget over-runs), whether the representations she has received on the potential impact of local NHS deficits have included representations on occurrences of patients being denied treatments at certain times of the year or month when budgets are likely to over-run. [45419]

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Jane Kennedy: The Department has received correspondence relating to financial deficits but it is notpossible to analyse in retrospect whether those include individual representations without incurring disproportionate cost.

Drug-related Arrests (Peterborough)

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many arrests for drug-related offences have been made in Peterborough constituency in the last 10 years. [49288]

Paul Goggins: I have been asked to reply.

Data on number of arrests for suspected drug-related offences are not collated in the form requested.

The total number of persons arrested for drug offences and other acquisitive offences, a significant proportion of which are likely to be drug-related, in the Cambridgeshire police force area since 1999–2000 is shown in the following table.
Number of persons arrested for recorded crime (notifiable offences) by offence type, Cambridgeshire police force area 1, 2

Type of offence1999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–042004–05
Drug offences842735804711646525
Theft and handling stolen goods4,3044,3624,4294,1454,0683,983
Fraud and forgery416311316340355305

(52) Information prior to 1999–2000 is not available.
(53) Information for 2005–06 will be available in autumn 2006.

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Hospital Referrals

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms are in place to enable primary care trusts to monitor the number of referrals to hospitals by individual (a) GPs and (b) GP's surgeries; and if she will make a statement. [55291]

Jane Kennedy: The Department does not centrally collect the information requested. Mechanisms for monitoring referrals are managed at a local level through primary care trusts working with general practitioners and hospitals.

NHS Operating Framework

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the implications for (a) hospital and (b) ward provision of measures arising from the requirement in the NHS operating framework for 2006–07 for all NHS organisations to return a surplus. [59396]

Jane Kennedy: The Department sets minimum standards for all areas of the national health service that must be delivered. There can be no trade-off between meeting these requirements and eliminating deficits. It isfor local decision making to determine how muchhospital capacity is required locally to achieve these standards and whether progress beyond these standards is possible whilst maintained good financial performance.

NHS Spending

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to tackle the projected overspend in the NHS in the 2005–06 financial year. [59300]

Jane Kennedy: We have made it absolutely clear that deficits and poor financial management in a minority of organisations is not acceptable.

For the organisations with the biggest problems we have sent in financial and management specialists (turnaround teams) to help the organisations address their problems of poor financial management.

We are taking action now with the minority of organisations that are underperforming to ensure that the position improves and financial balance is restored in the national health service by the end of 2006–07.

The turnaround teams will support the NHS in identifying opportunities to deliver services with greater cost-effectiveness and to make financial savings. They will help the local NHS ensure that the NHS delivers both its key targets and financial balance.

Strategic health authorities remain responsible for the performance management of their organisations, but we have imposed a more comprehensive monitoring and performance management regime.

Nurse Assistants

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of changes in the volumes and sources of individual drugs prescribed in hospitals following the commencement in hospitals of the deployment of nurse assistants employed by pharmaceutical companies. [59036]

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Jane Kennedy: The Department does not collect data centrally relating to the volumes, sources of individual drugs prescribed in hospitals, nor the type of clinician who prescribed the medicine. However, in 2004–05 the Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) drugs bill spend, which covers expenditure by hospitals on drugs and medical gases, was an estimated £2.6 billion, an increase of 14 per cent. on 2003–04.

The Department has issued guidance HSG(93)5 Standards of Business Conduct for NHS Staff and Commercial Sponsorship—Ethical Standards for the NHS" that requires the national health service employers to satisfy themselves that sponsorship arrangements are properly conducted and are in the best interests of the NHS. In addition, clinicians are required to comply with professional guidance. The Nursing and Midwifery Council code of professional conduct: standards for conduct, performance and ethics particularly advises that wherever nurses work, are required to adhere to their code of conduct. Specifically, it states they must

In 2003, the Department issued a medicines management framework to the NHS trusts to support the development of good practice standards in medicines management. The framework specifically addresses the need for trusts to have written policies for all relevant staff members to ensure high standards of probity and business conduct, including working with pharmaceutical industry representatives.

The Healthcare Commission is currently carrying out an acute hospital portfolio medicines management review. The review will consider a number of aspects of medicines management and investigate the corporate governance structures that are supporting medicines management which will include management of budgets and expenditure. The outcome of this review is expected to be available in summer 2006.

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many applications received by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Agency for the validation of over the counter medicines are outstanding; and if she will make a statement. [58655]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 14 March 2006]: The total number of applications outstanding with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Agency (MHRA) for new product licences for over-the-counter medicines (on 13 March 2006) was 347. These represent approximately 12 per cent. of the total number of product licence applications undergoing assessment in the MHRA.

Prescriptions (Pre-payment Certificates)

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many pre-payment certificates for prescriptions have been issued in London in each of the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. [60558]

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Jane Kennedy: Information on the number of pre-payment certificates (PPCs) issued for London is not separately identifiable. However, the number of PPCs issued for England, by month for each of the last 12 months is as follows:

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