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27 Mar 2006 : Column 787W—continued

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthhow much was spent on entertainment by her Department in 2004–05; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. [50889]

Mr. Byrne: The Department spent £592,000 on entertainment during 2004–05. The breakdown of expenditure figures for alcohol, staff and accommodation can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Staff

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many job advertisements were placed by her Department (a) in total, (b) in print newspapers and magazines and (c) on a recruitment website in each year since 1997; and at what (i) total and (ii) average cost in each case. [50741]

Mr. Byrne: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the availability of diamorphine for medical purposes in the UK. [60839]

Jane Kennedy: The Department is in close contact with both suppliers of diamorphine to the national health service, and is continuing to monitor the supply situation carefully. The product is available from both Wockhardt UK and Chiron, but supplies are limited and are likely to remain so for the coming months.

Dr Chai Patel

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what capacity Dr Chai Patel has worked with her Department since 1997. [61041]

Mr. Byrne: Dr. Chai Patel does not currently act as an advisor to the Department. From 1997 to 2002, he was part of the Government's better regulation task force leading on a number of reports including one on long-term care. In 2000, the Health Secretary appointed Dr.Patel to the modernisation action team drawing up a national plan for the new national health service. He was also part of the task force for older people.
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Drug Treatment Programmes

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in drug treatment in England are being prescribed (a) methadone and (b) buprenhorphine; and what proportion of the treatment budget was spent on the purchase of each drug in the last period for which figures are available. [60064]

Caroline Flint: [holding answer 20 March 2006]: The Department does not hold information centrally for the number of people in drug treatment who receive prescribed drugs methadone and buprenorphine.

In 2004, there were 462.785 prescriptions of buprenorphine hydrochloride identified for the treatment of substance dependence at a cost of £11,438.409. In the same year 1,721.074 prescriptions of methadone hydrochloride were identified as having been dispensed, costing £13,972.629 1 . There may be some limited cross-over with buprenorphine, and to a lesser degree methadone, prescribed for analgesia since the same preparation is marketed under different names for the two purposes.

We are unable to calculate accurately the proportion of the treatment budget spent on the purchase of each prescribed drug. The total estimated expenditure drug treatment for the national health service for 2004–05 including local funding was £457 million.

Electronic Social Care Record Implementation Board

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the operation of the electronic social care record implementation board. [59720]

Mr. Byrne: The electronic social care record implementation board, established in 2005, has responsibility for overseeing national implementation of the electronic social care record and ensuring consistency of its implementation by councils with social services responsibilities. The board has been set up under the auspices of the care record development board, and works with the national health service national programme for information technology to enable sharing of information across traditional boundaries.
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The electronic social care record board will establish national standards for the electronic exchange of information between health, education and social care agencies in support of the implementation of the electronic social care record. It will ensure appropriate links are made with NHS electronic patient records and children's electronic information systems.

Energy Saving Measures

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her policy is on energy saving measures in her Department. [58695]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 15 March 2006]: The Department is committed to energy efficiency, and has signed up to the energy reduction targets contained in the framework for sustainable development on the Government estate.


Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 February 2006, Official Report, columns 2315–2316W, if she will list her official engagements for each day over the next six weeks. [31817]

Mr. Byrne: I apologise for the delay in replying.

Ministers meet many individuals and organisations and attend many functions relating to Government business, and as part of the process of policy development. Information about ministerial meetings with outside interest groups are published regularly on the Department's website at: and currently covers the dates from 28 July 2005 to 27 February 2006. Diaries are subject to change and it is not possible to provide information about official engagements in advance.

Expert Patients' Programme

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what resources she plans to commit to supporting the expansion of the expert patients' programme as described in paragraph 5.17 of the White Paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say" in each financial year from 2006–07 to 2011–12; whether she plans to introduce condition-specific expert patients' programmes; and when she plans to establish a community interest company to deliver the expert patients' programme. [57661]

Mr. Byrne: A community interest company to market and deliver the expert patients' programme (EPP) will be established during 2006. The White Paper, Our health, Our Care, Our Say" made a commitment to treble the investment in the EPP and to support the transition to a social enterprise organisation. It is the
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intention of the EPP to diversify and be more responsive to the needs of marginalised and vulnerable groups. This is likely to include disease specific modules or courses.

External Consultants

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much her Department has paid since 2004 to external consultants who had previously been employed by the Department in any capacity within the previous five years. [41198]

Mr. Byrne: The Department does not hold information on numbers of former staff re-engaged as external consultants.

Generic Medicines

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what average time has been taken by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to approve generic product market authorisations in the last five years for which records are available. [57556]

Jane Kennedy: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) publishes statistics for the processing of product licence applications. The published figures relate to the total time taken from receipt of an application to its determination (grant or refusal) and also for the net time in working days taken by the MHRA. Net times for approval do not include the time taken for the applicant to respond to the MHRA's questions or for correction of the application.

The following gross/net average approval times (in days) are for the four most recent full years for which figures are available and include all national and European approval procedures for generic and other products submitted with abridged dossiers:
2001–02198 gross, 100 net
2002–03213 gross, 100 net
2003–04228 gross, 113 net
2004–05288 gross, 122 net

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