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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she plans to introduce regulations obliging (a) general practitioners and (b) other health workers commissioned by a primary care trust who also have an equity interest in care homes to disclose those details to the trust. 
Jane Kennedy: The main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology.
The Department funds research to support policy and to provide the evidence needed to underpin quality improvement and service development in the national health service. The Department's national research programme spend since 2001 on projects related to hepatitis B has been £81,000.
Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by NHS organisations. Details of individual projects, including a number concerned with hepatitis B infection, can be found on the national research register on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/research.
Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not held centrally at present. The Government's new national health research strategy "Best Research for Best Health", published on 25 January 2006, included plans to strengthen the information systems that support health research.
Jane Kennedy: The legislation that governs clinical trials of drugs is the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004. The Medical Device Regulations 2002 govern the trials of medical devices. These regulations apply to trials conducted in hospitals as well as to trials conducted in units attached to hospitals or elsewhere. One requirement of the regulations governing clinical trials is that anyone conducting a trial does it in accordance with the conditions and principles of good clinical practice.
The Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care (Department of Health, 2005) applies the same principles across all health and social care research which relate to the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Health. A core standard for health care organisations is that they have systems to ensure the principles and requirements of this framework are consistently applied. National health service bodies have to take this standard into account in discharging their duty, under the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003, to put and keep in place arrangements for the purpose of monitoring and improving the quality of health care.
The clinical negligence scheme for trusts is a scheme established under the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 for meeting losses and liabilities of health service bodies in England and Wales. Health Service Guidelines HSG(96)48 set out the scope of NHS Indemnity, which includes the liability of NHS bodies for negligent harm to subjects of clinical research.
[holding answer 7 February 2006]: There are no specific waiting time targets for urgent colonoscopies. However, where a patient needs an urgent colonoscopy following urgent referral by their general practitioner for suspected cancer, the whole patient pathway from referral to commencing treatment should not exceed 62 days.
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Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to Islington, South and Finsbury constituency, the effects on Islington, South and Finsbury of her Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
Jane Kennedy: The Government have put in place a programme of national health service investment and reform since 1997 to improve service delivery in all parts of the United Kingdom. There is significant evidence that these policies have yielded considerable benefits for the Islington South and Finsbury areas.
Figures for December 2005 show that all patients within Islington PCT were able to be offered an appointment with a general practitioner within two working days, an improvement from 69.7 per cent. in June 2002.
Between September 1997 and June 2005, the number of consultants at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust has increased from 137 to 224. The number of nurses increased from 784 in September 1997 to 1,101 in September 2004.
Five primary care premises in Islington have been identified for redevelopment through the Islington and Camden Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) scheme. Islington and Camden was chosen as one of the first LIFT sites in the country because of the high health needs among the local people and because of the poor state of many primary care premises. The first two schemes have now achieved full business case approval
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