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Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the legally-aided clinical negligence cases that were closed in the last year with payment of compensation were settled for reasons of the health service defendant seeking to (a) avoid and (b) limit irrecoverable legal costs. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions her Department has had with (a) hon. Members, (b) members of the House of Lords, (c) the British Medical Association, (d) members of the public and (e) the Royal College of Surgeons on clinical trials in hospitals; and if she will make a statement. 
Together with ministerial colleagues and departmental officials, the Secretary of State is in constant dialogue with hon. Members, Members of the
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House of Lords, professional bodies, and members of the public on all aspects of the Department's responsibilities.
The consultation document Best Research for Best Health: a new national health research strategy" that the Department published last year included proposals for the creation of world-class support to the national health service organisations, staff and patients involved in the health research that forms an integral part of high-quality patient care in England. Some 500 organisations and individuals, including the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Medical Association, responded to an invitation to comment. Their response is available on the Department's web site at www.dh.gov.uk/consultations/. The final Government NHS research strategy Best Research for Best Health" has been strengthened by this input.
The Department funds INVOLVE, an organisation that supports and promotes public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research and development. INVOLVE deals regularly with inquiries about public involvement in such research from patients and members of the public.
The UK Clinical Research Collaboration and the UK Clinical Research Network have brought together a number of organisations that are active in patient and public involvement in research, to discuss issues concerned with that involvement and to develop a shared agenda that maximises the impact of individual organisations' activities and minimises unnecessary duplication. One of the first products of this collaborative working will be the production of a guide to understanding clinical trials for patients and the public.
Jane Kennedy: It is Departmental procurement policy to consider the assessment of a potential contractor's financial status at the supplier selection or tender evaluation stage and that the assessment is proportional to the financial risks associated with each individual contract.
A judgment on the financial capability of a company will be made on a case by case basis taking into account factors such as the maturity of the company, changes in turnover and length of time trading.
The Department uses ICC Juniper to provide various levels of financial evaluation. We have also used OGC to carry out financial appraisals. Where more detailed financial analysis is felt to be required, then use of an internal or external financial advisor would be considered.
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The most recent year for which figures are available is 2004. The table below shows the age-standardised death rate in persons of all ages by underlying cause of death in England and Wales for the years 1997 to 2004.
|(a) Coronary heart disease(172)||(b) Stroke(173)|
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many specialist centres for diabetes have had their responsibilities for podiatry and retinal screening devolved to GPs by the primary care trust. 
It is for primary care trusts, in partnership with strategic health authorities and other stakeholders, to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community, including the provision of podiatry and retinal screening.
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Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints her Department received about the domiciliary oxygen supply service in Kingston-upon-Hull in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006 to date. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: A major publicity campaign ran from October 2004 to March 2006 to publicise both the withdrawal of Elll's and the introduction of the European health insurance card. Activities included the Department's press releases, information leaflets distributed through the travel trade pharmacies and general practitioner surgeries and to 17.5 million households through inserts in local free newspapers, national and local press advertising, a public information film, radio interviews and advertising on photo booths and at Heathrow airport.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The vast majority of applications are processed and delivery commenced within two to three days of receipt. Processing may take longer in a small number of cases where further information is required from the applicant.
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