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Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many direct payments were taken up by disabled and sick adults for use in purchasing social care services that support them in their parenting role in the latest year for which figures are available; 
(3) what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the direct payment system for disabled parents to purchase appropriate support for their family and parenting responsibilities. 
Local authorities have a duty to make a direct payment to everyone, including sick and disabled parents, who has been assessed as needing social care services and who are able to manage them, even if they need assistance to do so. Councils should fully consider the particular support needs sick and disabled parents may have with their parenting role as part of the assessment process.
The Department has not carried out an assessment regarding the effectiveness of the direct payments system for disabled parents. However, we have commissioned the personal social services research unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics to evaluate the implementation of direct payments. PSSRU will report on their findings later in 2006.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what pay banding district community midwives have been awarded under Agenda for Change in
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(a) Newcastle, (b) Blackpool, (c) Leeds, (d) Lambeth, (e) Southampton, (f) Bristol and (g) Swansea. 
Mr. Byrne: The information requested relating to national health services organisations in Newcastle, Blackpool, Leeds, Lambeth, Southampton and Bristol is not collected centrally. Information for the NHS in Swansea is a matter for the Welsh Assembly.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 446W, on gender reassignment operations, what is meant by combined operations for (a) male to female and (b) female to male gender reassignment operations. 
The office for population censuses and surveys 4.2 codes X15.1 and X15.2, combined operations are intended to cover cases where the patient
2 May 2006 : Column 1539W
has one or more operation at the same time. As part of gender reassignment surgery these may include reconstruction of the genitals, the removal of female breasts, the shaping of a male contoured chest, and the shaping of a female contoured chest. There is no precise definition as to what combined operations may consist of.
Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average take-home pay was for general practitioners in (a) England and (b) Kingston-upon-Hull, North in each of the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: Information on the average take-home pay for general practitioners in England and Kingston-Upon-Hull is not collected centrally. However, figures based on information for Great Britain only are available.
|Intended average net remuneration/income (£)|
|All practices||Single handed|
|Q11||North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire||253||51|
|5KJ||Craven, Harrogate and Rural District Primary Care Trust (PCT)||26||0|
|5E3||East Yorkshire PCT||23||2|
|5E5||Eastern Hull PCT||28||17|
|5KH||Hambleton and Richmondshire PCT||18||1|
|5AN||North East Lincolnshire PCT||34||15|
|5EF||North Lincolnshire PCT||22||6|
|5KK||Scarborough, Whitby and Rydedale PCT||27||2|
|5E2||Selby and York PCT||33||3|
|5E6||West Hull PCT||27||5|
|5E4||Yorkshire Wold and Coast PCT||15||0|
|Intended average net income (£)|
Mr. Byrne: From the start of the Gershon programme in March 2004 up to December 2005, the Department had realised savings of £2,205 million. We currently expect that savings for the final quarter of 200506 and the following two years will continue at a rate that will ensure as a minimum that the Department remains on track to realise our £6,500 million target by March 2008.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what process Dr. Foster was selected as the private partner for the new venture with the Health and Social Care Information Centre; and what steps were taken to ensure this process met the Department's procurement guidelines. 
Mr. Byrne: An independent review of the health informatics market concluded that Dr. Foster was the most suitable private sector partner to work with the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre. A formal due diligence exercise confirmed that although Dr. Foster was relatively new to the market place, it had a robust position. Opinion canvassed among a number of stakeholders confirmed Dr. Foster's strong brand and market position.
Legal opinion supported the approach that the joint venture was not a procurement and there was no legal requirement for a competitive exercise provided that value for money could be demonstrated. The business case has been approved by Secretary of State for Health.
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