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Patient Care and Support

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health under the health reform in England proposals, what the division of responsibility will be between (a) GP-contracted and (b) local government personal social services for patient care and support. [49624]

Mr. Byrne: Primary care trusts (PCTs), working closely with practices will continue to be accountable for the local use of national health service resources. Local government will remain responsible for the provision of social care.

We are exploring new ways of giving people more control over the support they need through individual budget pilots in local government. In addition, through practice based commissioning we are putting the necessary reforms in place to ensure the maximum benefit for the health and wellbeing of local populations.

Our reforms, combined with the increased use of flexibilities allowed under section 31 of the Health Act 1999 will support the further integration of services through stronger commissioning arrangements and partnerships between practices; PCTs; local government; and local people.

Population Increases

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will adjust the funding formula for NHS trusts to take account of increases in population arising from migrants from EU accession states. [59404]

Mr. Byrne: The weighted capitation formula is used to determine primary care trusts' (PCTs') target shares of available resources to enable them to commission similar levels of health services for populations in similar need.

The advisory committee on resource allocations (ACRA) continuously oversees the development of the weighted capitation formula. This includes determining the populations base to be used in advance of each allocations round.

ACRA made recommendations on the population base to be used for the 2006–08 revenue allocations to PCTs. As a consequence, 2003 based population projections for 2006 and 2007 published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) were used for the 2006–07 and 2007–08 revenue allocations respectively. ONS population projections take account of migration.

ACRA will make recommendations on the populations base to be used in revenue allocations post 2007–08.

Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) longest and (b) average processing time to issue a certificate was by (i) the Postgraduate Medical Education Practitioner Training Board since its creation
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and (ii) the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice in each year from 1997 to its abolition. [62568]

Mr. Byrne: The longest time taken by the postgraduate medical education training board to issue a certificate is 35 days and the average is eight days.

The joint committee on postgraduate training in general practice did not keep statistics on the processing times of full and complete individual applications, however there were strict published timeframes which were adhered to at all times. These were as follows:

Practice-based Commissioning

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her latest estimate is of the number of GP practices engaged in practice-based commissioning (a) in total and (b) broken down by strategic health authority; and if she will make a statement. [63111]

Mr. Byrne: The Department does not currently collect data on take-up of practice based commissioning, although a new data collection will be established for 2006–07.

Preventive Technology Grant

Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether she plans to ring fence payments of preventive technology grant to local authorities; [64146]

(2) how many people aged 65 and over had one or more items of telecare equipment in (a) their homes and (b) other residential settings at 31 March; [64187]

(3) what estimate she has made of the number of new users of telecare equipment aged 65 and over provided with one or more items of telecare equipment in (a) their own homes and (b) other residential settings in (i) 2006–07 and (ii) 2007–08. [64188]

Mr. Byrne: The preventative technologies grant will not be ring fenced. It is for local providers to determine how best to deliver services to their local population, including telecare. However, the Department expects councils, working with local partners, to achieve key public service agreement targets around supporting people with long term conditions and improving the patient and user experience, in particular supporting older people to live at home.

The number of people aged 65 and over with one or more items of telecare equipment in their homes or residential setting is not held centrally. The Department expects councils to help an additional 160,000 older people to live at home with safety and security and reduce the number of avoidable admissions to residential/nursing care and hospital.

Primary Care Trusts

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what restrictions apply to the use primary care trusts can make of funds from the sale of assets. [50156]

Jane Kennedy: Fixed assets held by primary care trusts (PCTs) are public capital financed.
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As a consequence, under the PCTs' finance regime, cash released from their sale can only be reinvested in other capital assets, or repaid to the Department.

In other words, the proceeds of asset-sales cannot be used to fund ordinary operating costs.

Where the PCT chooses to reinvest the cash in its facilities, rather than repaying it, the PCTs management is free to determine what assets will be bought up to its delegated limit for capital investment.

Delegated limits vary between £1 million and £10 million, depending on the organisation's turnover from provider activities and performance. Strategic health authorities have discretion over how amounts in excess of delegated limits are reinvested.

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department (a) has approached and (b) plans to approach the Treasury for a release of additional funds from the sums available in the National Insurance Fund above the minimum working balance to alleviate financial deficits in primary care trusts. [60640]

Mr. Byrne: The Department has no plans to seek additional funding from the HM Treasury.

Public Information

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on her Department's public relations and information services in each of the last 5 years for which figures are available. [48958]

Mr. Byrne: The following table shows the Department's expenditure on publicity and advertising for the last five years.
£ million

Financial yearAdvertising expenditurePublicity


Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the reasons for the difference between the waiting times for radiotherapy patients in Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire. [65173]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 24 April 2006]: There has been a historical under-funding of staffing and equipment for radiotherapy in Leeds. Waiting times for radiotherapy at Leeds Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Trust are currently six weeks for urgent patients and 11 weeks for routine patients. The trust is taking action to further reduce these waiting times.

Two new linear accelerators were commissioned in 2005, and the trust recruited 12 additional radiographers last summer and two experienced radiographers recently. The trust has commenced the process of recruiting radiologists who are due to graduate this summer. The trust is working to maximise its current
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capacity, although waiting times will be fully addressed only when the new oncology wing opens at St. James's University Hospital in early 2008.

The Yorkshire cancer network was subject to a peer review exercise in October and November 2005. The report described cancer services in Leeds as excellent and the radiological services as internationally renowned.

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