Previous Section Index Home Page

18 Apr 2006 : Column 241W—continued

Merlin Biosciences Ltd.

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she has met (a) Sir Christopher Evans and (b) representatives of Merlin Biosciences Ltd. on official business in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement. [61477]

Mr. Byrne: The Secretary of State for Health has not met Sir Christopher Evans or representatives of Merlin Biosciences Ltd. on official business since she took up post in May 2005.

Between March 2005 and May 2005, the then Secretary of State for Health did not meet with Sir Evans or Merlin Biosciences on official business in his capacity as the Secretary of State for Health.


Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what clinical guidelines are in place on best practice for diagnosis and management of mesothelioma; [59003]

(2) if she will make mesothelioma a priority for the National Cancer Director. [59013]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has a lung cancer and mesothelioma advisory group which is chaired by the national cancer director. This group has established a mesothelioma working group to ensure that the needs of mesothelioma patients and the services they require are given due consideration.

The British Thoracic Society has published guidance entitled Statement on malignant mesothelioma in the United Kingdom" (Thorax (2001), 56; 250–265). There is insufficient evidence at this time for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to be asked to produce evidence-based clinical guidelines on mesothelioma.

However, the advisory group and its associated mesothelioma working group are developing a framework to provide advice to strategic health authorities, cancer networks, primary care trusts and national health service trusts in England on how best to organise services for mesothelioma patients in order to improve standards of care to a uniformly high level across the country.

Midwifery Vacancies

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2006, Official
18 Apr 2006 : Column 242W
column 1853W to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew), on midwifery vacancies, how the information was gathered; and whether NHS trusts which fail to respond to surveys are recorded as having no vacancies. [48025]

Mr. Byrne: The data are collected by national health service trusts on 31 March each year, on the number of vacancies that trusts are actively trying to fill that have lasted three months or more (full time equivalents).

The 2005 vacancy survey did not receive a valid return from one trust and it has been excluded from all applicable vacancy totals and calculations. This information is highlighted in the release notes of the vacancy survey.

Morning-after Contraception

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many morning-after pills have been distributed by the St. Albans Primary Care Trust in each of the last five years. [62205]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information available is shown in the following tables. Information on emergency hormonal contraception supplied under a patient group direction (PGD), by school nurses and pharmacists is not held centrally.

Information for St. Albans and Harpenden Primary Care Trust (PCT) is not available separately. Family planning clinic services for that PCT are provided by West Hertfordshire Hospitals national health service trust, which provides services also for Dacorum PCT and Hertsmere PCT.

West Hertfordshire took over these services from April 2001 and comparable data prior to this are not available.
Occasions on which hormonal post-coital contraceptives dispensed at family planning clinics provided by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, 2001–02 to 2004–05


Information Centre return KT31

Number of items (prescriptions) for hormonal post-coital contraception prescribed by general practitioners for the last four years in St. Albans PCT, January 2002-March 2006

2001–02 (Fourth quarter only)184
2005–06 (up to third quarter only)509

ePACT data

National Blood Service

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the National Blood Service uses predictive dialling. [59146]

18 Apr 2006 : Column 243W

Caroline Flint: The National Blood Service, an operational division on National Health Service Blood and Transplant, uses predictive dialling.

National Physical Laboratory

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions her Department has had with the National Physical Laboratory on the funding of radiotherapy calibrations; and if she will make a statement. [59106]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has been discussing the transitional arrangements with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) following the withdrawal of the DTI subsidy for the radiotherapy calibration services. The withdrawal of the subsidy means that health users will pay for the services they require in the same way as other users of the measurement services.

Officials continue to participate in discussions with regard to the future development of NPL's services.

NHS (Complaints Procedure)

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had on reforming the (a) arrangements for and (b) approach to dealing with complaints within the NHS. [62072]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 28 March 2006]: Following devolution, responsibility for the policy on handling complaints about the National health service in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive Health Department.

With regard to the NHS in England, NHS Complaints Reform—Making Things Right", published on 28 March 2003, set out a programme to improve management of the whole complaints system, elements of which were included in the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003. Between 1 January 2003 and 31 March 2004, the Department undertook a public consultation on a set of draft regulations aimed at taking forward the proposals set out in Making Things Right" Following an approach from the solicitor to the Shipman Inquiry, Ministers decided on a phased implementation of the new framework to ensure that the findings of recent public inquiries were included in the longer-term development of a patient centred complaints procedure.

During 2004 and 2005, workshops were held with a range of key NHS stakeholders, patient oriented organisations, and front line NHS staff to consider what a patient centred complaints procedure might look like and how it would operate.

Our health, our care, our say", the White Paper published in January 2006, outlined the Government's commitment to develop by 2009 a comprehensive single complaints system across health and social care",
18 Apr 2006 : Column 244W
that will focus on resolving complaints locally with a more personal and comprehensive approach to handling complaints".

The merger of the Healthcare Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection, planned for 2008, provides an opportunity to review the current systems to deal with individual's feedback generally as well as complaints about the services they have received.

The individual voices for improvement (IVI) project has been set up to design and implement an approach to capture a holistic view of individual's experience of using services and promote the routine use of that experience to inform service improvement. The IVI project is supported by a policy forum, consisting of senior representatives from major stakeholders across health and social care, including the health service and local government ombudsmen and health and social care regulators.

NHS Deficits

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the deficit was in each (a) primary care trust and (b) NHS hospital trust in Suffolk in each of the last four years. [57237]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The end-of-year financial position for national health service trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities for the years 2001–02 to 2004–05 is available in the Library.

In addition, the 2005–06 month six forecast outturn position for individual NHS organisations is also available in the Library.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the financial position is of each (a) primary care trust and (b) NHS hospital trust in Suffolk for 2005–06; and what financial penalty will be incurred as a result of a deficit. [57247]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The 2005–06 month six forecast outturn position for individual national health service organisations (strategic health authorities (SHA), primary care trusts and NHS trusts) is available on the Department's website at:

Copies of this information are also available in the Library.

Any net overspending by the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA at the end of 2005–06 will be deducted from the resources available to them in 2006–07. This is in line with Government resource accounting and budgeting rules on the carry forward of over and under spending. In addition, the net overspend for the SHA will be subject to a penalty of 10 per cent., as part of the scheme developed by the NHS bank to incentivise sound financial management. The SHA has discretion in how the carry forward and penalty are applied to individual organisations.

Next Section Index Home Page