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18 Apr 2006 : Column 396W—continued


Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effects of guidance provided to primary care trusts under factsheets 9, 10 and 11, on recently established orthodontic practices; and if she will make a statement. [61020]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The new arrangements for commissioning orthodontic services drew on the learning from a personal dental services pilot for orthodontic care. The Department subsequently issued guidance to help primary care trusts with the provision of and financial planning for orthodontic services in their area.

Primary care trusts have a duty to commission primary dental services in their area, including orthodontic services, to the extent they consider necessary.

Outsourced NHS Procedures

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place for verifying the (a) professional registration and (b) credentials of private sector providers of outsourced procedures within the NHS; and what the arrangements are for (i) terminating contracts in cases where unlawful treatment has been carried out and (ii) indemnifying patients for any injury caused during unlicensed procedures. [60165]

Jane Kennedy: Documentation to illustrate appropriate professional registration for the contracted casemix is a requirement of the statement of readiness that must be completed prior to the opening of an independent sector treatment centre (ISTC). All ISTCs are registered with, and regulated by, the Healthcare Commission.

The programme is governed by the Official Journal of the European Union procurement guidelines. Potential private healthcare providers are required as part of the procurement process to demonstrate their credentials to deliver the tendered services. Material submitted during the procurement process is independently evaluated as part of the tender evaluation process, prior to the award of a contract for services.
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Where unlawful treatment is carried out, there is an option in the contracts to immediately suspend services on grounds of patient safety, and ultimately the contract is capable of being terminated. If termination of a contract occurs, advice must be sought on the relevant grounds and procedures of the individual contract in question, but the Department will provide support to national health service sponsors if this is required.

Patients referred to an ISTC will have the benefit of the clinical negligence scheme for trusts (CNST) arrangements within the national health service which provides indemnification cover for NHS patients. In those occasions where the provider fails to comply with the terms of the CNST arrangements, the provider is required to indemnify the referring health service body, in relation to any claim by a patient for medical or clinical negligence.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the findings of the Audit Commission's Public Interest Report of 16 December 2005 on Queen Elizabeth Hospital; and if she will make a statement. [63853]

Jane Kennedy: The Department was first alerted to a draft copy of this Public Interest Report in November 2005, at which point it was determined to be factually accurate.

I am informed that Queen Elizabeth Hospital National Health Service Trust has accepted the findings of the report and, as a result, has accepted the recommendations made by the report. Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Trust continues to work with South East London Strategic Health Authority to address the recommendations made.

Resource Accounting and Budgeting

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the application of Resource Accounting and Budgeting funding rules mean that a cumulative deficit will continue to increase even after a trust has moved to a position of in-year breakeven; and if she will make a statement. [63036]

Jane Kennedy: Under the carry forward regime, organisations that underspend in one year receive the funding back in the following year. Organisations that overspend have their funding reduced in the following year by the amount they overspent.

This principle is part of the resource accounting and budgeting rules applied by HM Treasury across Government and which the Department applies to the national health service.

In addition to the resource accounting and budgeting rules NHS trusts must break even taking one year with the next. Any deficit must be matched by a surplus over a three or exceptionally five year period.

A NHS trust that overspends will therefore need to live within the reduced resources in the following year to break even. If they achieve break even then the accumulated deficit will not increase. To clear the accumulated deficit the NHS trust will need to generate a surplus.
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Skin Cancer

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on her strategy for combating skin cancer. [63310]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, both natural and artificial, is the most important modifiable risk factor in regarding skin cancer. Recent decades have seen significant increases in the number of people in the United Kingdom being diagnosed with this condition which kills around 2,000 people each year. Cancer Research UK (CR-UK) therefore advises people about how to enjoy the sun safely, to avoid sunburn by using protective screening methods and about the risks of using sun beds for cosmetic purposes.

CR-UK runs SunSmart, the national skin cancer prevention campaign, on behalf of the UK health departments. The campaign includes raising awareness of skin cancer and highlights the need for early detection and presentation. In 2006, SunSmart is targeting men and outdoor workers as malignant melanoma rates have quadrupled in men in the last 30 years and outdoor workers are exposed to three to four times more UV than indoor workers.

St. Leonard's Hospital

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department plans to (a) develop and (b) release for development, that part of the St. Leonard's Hospital site in East Dorset for which it received planning permission on 17 October 2002 and consent for demolition on 9 July 2004; and if she will make a statement on the reasons for the delay. [62850]

Jane Kennedy: That part of the St Leonard's Hospital site in the ownership of the Secretary of State for Health was included in a portfolio of properties that it has been agreed would transfer to English Partnerships to assist in the Government's sustainability communities programme. Ownership of the site has now transferred to English Partnerships and it will be for them to release the site for development.

Stephen Walker

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what inquiries she has made into the references to the evidence of Stephen Walker of the NHS Litigation Authority given before the Constitutional Affairs Committee made at footnote 89 in the Committee's Third Report, HC 754–1; and if she will make a statement. [59872]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 20 March 2006]: Mr. Stephen Walker, NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) chief executive, was invited by the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (CASC) to give evidence on behalf of the NHSLA, not for the Department. The evidence given by Mr. Walker to the CASC on compensation culture, and footnote 89 in the CASC Third Report, HC 754–1, are a matter between Mr. Walker and the
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committee. We are aware that Mr. Walker and the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) (CASC Chair) have exchanged correspondence subsequent to publication of the CASC report.

Temporary Medical Staff (Costs)

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Northavon, of 12 December 2005, Official Report, column 1819W, on temporary medical staff (costs), what the equivalent figures are for 2004–05. [51882]

Mr. Byrne: I refer the hon. Member to my reply I gave to the right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) on Monday 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 171–73W and to my response to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on Friday 10 March 2006, Official Report, column 1827W. This information has been placed in the Library.

Trusts (Gloucestershire)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with (a) acute trusts, (b) partnership trusts and (c) primary care trusts in Gloucestershire on their recent funding announcements; and what plans she has to ensure that any decisions on reductions in expenditure take account of equity and social disadvantage. [63341]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Secretary of State has not had discussions with any of the trusts in Gloucestershire about their recent funding announcements.

It is the responsibility of strategic health authorities (SHAs) to deliver both overall financial balance for their local health communities and to ensure each and every organisation achieves financial balance. There is a degree of flexibility in how this is managed at a local level. SHAs can agree a recovery plan which phases the recovery of deficits over a number of years.

From 2006–07, SHAs have the responsibility to develop and implement a service and financial strategy for managing the financial position within their locality. They will develop this with primary care trusts (PCT) and national health service trusts in their area. Strategies agreed locally may include the creation of local reserves to deal with local problems. The size of the reserves and any contribution from each PCT will vary according to local circumstances, but the underlying principle will be fairness.

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