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Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her estimate is of the savings that would accrue to the NHS if the principle of compulsory dispensing of the cheapest generic version of all ex-patent compounds were introduced. 
Data from the Prescription Pricing Authority indicate that for the three months October to December 2005, the estimated savings that could have
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been achieved through the compulsory generic dispensing of the top 40, in terms of the amount of potential saving that could be achieved, proprietary drugs for which a generic alternative is available and where the proprietary drug is suitable for substitution, was £10.3 million.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investigations are undertaken as part of the evaluation of companies bidding for government contracts in the Department; and whether criminal investigations in (a) the UK and (b) other countries are taken into consideration. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 30 March 2006]: As part of the procurement process, the Department has a standard expression of interest (EOI) questionnaire. In parts D, E and F suppliers are asked to declare whether or not they have been subject to criminal convictions, proceedings, or failure to fulfil obligations. The questionnaire asks for details regardless of whether the offences were in the United Kingdom or abroad.
When the completed responses are received a sifting exercise is conducted. Suppliers have always stated no to all questions in parts D to F in the EOI questionnaire. So there has not been a need to take any further action. However, if any supplier did state yes to any of the questions, then the team responsible for awarding the contract would take this into consideration and decide on an investigation and appropriate action.
Additionally the EOI questionnaire also asks the supplier to submit financial information (part G(i)) which is taken into consideration and in some cases requires the Department to conduct a detailed financial analysis.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures she has introduced in Hertfordshire to encourage greater collaboration between GPs and pharmacists; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 30 March 2006]: Nationally the Department has introduced a number of measures to encourage greater collaboration between general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists, such as repeat dispensing and medicine use reviews. While support has been provided nationally, it is for primary care trusts to oversee the implementation of these new services locally. I understand there has been collaborative and educational work in Hertfordshire to encourage GPs to work more closely with pharmacists.
Revenue allocations are made to primary care trusts (PCTs) to enable them to commission health care for their local populations. The most recent round of revenue allocations, covering 200607 and 200708, was announced in February 2005. The 200607 and
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200708 revenue allocations represent £135 billion investment in the national health service, £64 billion to PCTs in 200607 and £70 billion in 200708.
|200607 allocation||200708 allocation||Two year increase|
|PCT||£ thousand||£ thousand||£ thousand||Percentage|
|Ashton, Leigh and Wigan||410,731||449,115||73,829||19.7|
|Heywood and Middleton||102,997||113,338||19,257||20.5|
|Tameside and Glossop||308,593||337,310||55,272||19.6|
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Committee of Public Accounts 42nd Report of 200203, HC 704, on the management of health and safety risks to staff in NHS trusts. 
The development of an occupational health and safety strategy for the NHS in England is being undertaken by the health care health and safety sub-group of the NHS Staff Council. They will take account of recent developments, including the establishment of NHS Employers, the cross-Government ministerial taskforce on health and safety and productivity, the Department for Work and Pensions' health, work and well-being strategy and NHS reforms, all of which will impact on the delivery of a safer, healthier workplace.
NHS Employers issued updated guidance on needle sticks in January 2005. NHS Employers is also currently facilitating the collection of up-to-date data from NHS organisations on the use of safer needles and the implementation of the latest guidance. The guidance will be further updated with the assistance of the safer needles network and new guidance is due to be re-issued through their website in May.
The NHS Pensions Agency is working with NHS Employers on the review of NHS ill health retirement and of NHS injury benefits. The review will consider options including support to facilitate better rehabilitation into work for staff who request ill health retirements due to work-related injuries and proper controls over the extent of payments.
NHS Employers and the Health and Safety Executive will promote new health and safety e-learning materials from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, which are to be released to the NHS in April. These materials provide the basis of health and safety induction and support the hands on training that is already being offered by NHS trusts. The 2005 Healthcare Commission staff survey shows the number of staff receiving training on health and safety has increased to 71 per cent. compared with 60 per cent. in 2003.
New guidance to NHS trusts on their responsibility for the management of health and safety for agency staff and contractors was issued in January 2005. The guidance is available at www.nhsemployers.org/practice/healthy-workplaces.cfm
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department takes to identify individuals (a) employed and (b) seeking employment in the health care profession who might pose a risk to the patients they care for. 
Mr. Byrne: The responsibility for carrying out pre and post-employment checks, including Criminal Records Bureau, Protection of Children's Act and Protection of Vulnerable Adults checks where applicable, rests with the relevant employer, whether a national health service organisation or other regulated provider of health care. The NHS is required to follow the guidance, Safer Recruitment" issued in May 2005 which covers all the pre and post-appointment checks that NHS employers are required to make before appointing anyoneincluding employees, volunteers, students and traineesto a position in the NHS.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what level of expenditure will be committed to support (a) the improvements in renal care announced on 15 October, (b) the provision of more scanning facilities announced on 11 October and (c) the improvements to prostate cancer awareness announced on 31 October by the Minister of State for Health Services; how much expenditure there has been on each programme; and
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whether the expenditure is financed from the centrally funded initiatives and services and special allocations budget of her Department in each case. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: There were no announcements on improvements in renal care on 15 October 2005, although renal patientview was launched at a national renal symposium at Conway Hall, London on 19 October 2005. The event was organised by the South West Thames renal and transplantation unit and the South West Thames institute for renal research, both based at St. Helier hospital in Carshalton where the Department gave £55,000 to the project.
The national framework for the development of positron emission tomography (PET) Services in England was published in October 2005 to support the development of PET-CT services and ensure equitable access for patients. The additional £20 million capital funding has been made available over the next two years (200608) to support the national health service in improving access and developing this service. The funding for 200607 has been issued to strategic health authorities. In addition, a further 25,000 scans per year will be made available from the independent sector, via the wave two diagnostic procurement programme, over the next five years to support the NHS.
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