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Medicine Use Review (Hertfordshire)

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to educate Hertfordshire GPs about the terms of the medicine use review; and if she will make a statement. [61780]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Medicine use review (MUR) is an advanced service introduced as part of the new contractual framework for community pharmacy. The underlying purpose of this service is, for pharmacists, with the patient's agreement, to improve a patient's knowledge and use of medicines. In particular, the pharmacist can identify side effects and drug interactions that may affect the patient's compliance with instructions given to them by a health professional for taking the medicines and improve the clinical and cost effectiveness of medicines prescribed for patients, thereby reducing waste.
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This is a matter for determination by the local primary care trust and I am advised there are a number of local initiatives underway or being developed. The Department has issued national guidance to all PCTs on MURs and information leaflets publicising the service have been made available to patents. No specific national guidance has been issued to general practitioners.


Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what training requirements there are for doctors in respect of the treatment of meningitis. [61094]

Mr. Byrne: The content and standard of postgraduate medical training is the responsibility of the postgraduate medical education and training board, which is the competent authority for postgraduate medical training in the United Kingdom.

Myasthenia Gravis

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will make a statement on Government support for those who are diagnosed with myasthenia gravis and their families; [62188]

(2) what plans she has to increase the number of consultants and nurses qualified to diagnose and treat myasthenia gravis; [62192]

(3) what steps she is taking to increase awareness of myasthenia gravis in the medical profession. [62193]

Mr. Byrne: The Government are sympathetic to the needs of patients with myasthenia gravis and the impact this condition can have on their independence and quality of life.

Patients with myasthenia gravis are able to access a range of national health service and social care services, which are tailored to meet their individual needs, to help them manage their condition. It is for primary care trusts, in consultation with other stakeholders, to determine which services, including those for people with myasthenia gravis, their local populations require and ensuring the appropriate provision of these services.

The national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions is supporting local sustained improvements in service quality for people with long-term neurological conditions, including myasthenia gravis. The NSF addresses a range of key issues including the need for equitable access to a range of services; good quality information and support for patients and carers; the ability to see a specialist and get the right investigations and diagnosis as quickly as possible.

It is our intention to publish best practice guidance on musculoskeletal conditions later this year. The publication of this framework will help to raise awareness of all musculoskeletal conditions, including myasthenia gravis, among health professionals.

NHS Logistics Authority

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what risk assessment she has undertaken of the outsourcing of the NHS Logistics Authority to DHL/Novation. [62190]

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Jane Kennedy: The potential outsourcing of NHS Logistics and the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency consumables procurement service to DHL/Novation is currently subject to market testing.

The market testing began in August 2004 and throughout this period there has been a thorough examination of risk at every stage. The evaluation of risk has explored the risk of outsourcing at all, and the risk attendant upon outsourcing to each and every one of the bidders, including DHL/Novation.

The Department's risk register has been reviewed by the Office of Government Commerce's Gateway review team and they have been satisfied that it is robust.

Gateway is a review of an acquisition programme or procurement project carried out at key decision points by a team independent of the project team.

NHS Staff

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many temporary NHS (a) staff, (b) doctors and (c) nurses, broken down by specialism, there were in each (i) strategic health authority, (ii) Government office region and (iii) the Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust in the last 12 months for which data are available. [58457]

Mr. Byrne: The Department collects information about locum doctors, including locum general practitioners, and bank nurses.

The information about these staff groups has been placed in the Library. This relates to 30 September 2004, the last date for which information is available.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 1 December 2005, Official Report, column 726W, on obesity, if she will place in the Library a copy of her Department's evaluation of the local delivery plans. [36049]

Caroline Flint: The Department's role is to agree with strategic health authorities (SHAs) local delivery plans (LDPs) in the form of data trajectories to achieve national targets. These then form the basis of a business agreement with the SHA against which they are performance managed and held to account for the performance of the national health service within their area.

The SHA plans are aggregated from their local primary care trust plans and must, as a minimum, meet national target levels and, where appropriate, SHA envelopes or shares of targets, to be signed off by the Department.

The assessment/sign off process is continuing management relationship process and changes may occur during the three-year planning period.

Opportunities for Volunteering Scheme

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many organisations receive grants through the opportunities for volunteering scheme; how many
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(a) clients and (b) volunteers they include; and when she expects to determine their grants for 2006–07. [62444]

Mr. Byrne: The opportunities for volunteering scheme (OFV) funded grants to 271 organisations in 2005–06, involving 13,281 volunteers in the period to October 2005. The Department does not collect data on the number of clients involved in OFV projects. The 16 voluntary sector national agents determine individual OFV grants subject to the allocation of funds to them by the Department. Allocations to national agents will be determined when the Department's central budget review is completed.

Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of members of the principal civil service pension scheme in her Department joined the scheme before the age of (a) 20, (b) 25, (c) 30, (d) 35, (e) 40, (f) 45 and (g) over 45 years old. [62017]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost as it is not available in the required format.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to promote the consumption of foods rich in the mineral selenium; and if she will commission research into raising the selenium content of British soil. [61808]

Caroline Flint: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that an adequate amount of selenium can be obtained from a varied balanced diet, containing meat, fish or nuts.

The FSA is currently funding research to establish whether the decline in selenium in the diet is having an adverse effect on the health of the United Kingdom population.


Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when she expects to produce a stroke strategy; [62545]

(2) whether the stroke strategy will include proposals to ensure that stroke patients are given a scan as soon as possible. [62546]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has commenced work on an 18-month programme to develop a national strategy for stroke. The Department is progressing work on the strategy through a core steering group to oversee development, project groups that will take forward and develop recommendations on the key areas of the strategy and a wider stroke taskforce that will act as a reference group to ensure wide involvement in the process.

One of the key areas of the stroke strategy will focus on accelerating the emergency response to stroke and improving co-ordination between the different agencies and professionals involved, including improved and rapid access to high quality appropriate scanning.
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