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12 May 2006 : Column 610W—continued

Health Trainers

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her answer of 18 April 2006, Official Report, column 223W, on health trainers, what range of times have been taken by primary care trusts to complete the training scheme for health trainers. [66829]

Caroline Flint: Approximately 150 primary care trusts are involved in the health trainer project with wide variations in the ways health trainers are trained for the role. However, most training starts with an initial classroom-based period of between 14 and 35 days, over several weeks, followed by supported learning and skill development in the workplace. This may then be followed by further classroom-based training to allow reflection upon what has worked and provide ongoing training tailored to the individual and local environment.

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The mandatory competences, upon which the health trainer training is based, were signed off in March 2006. The training programmes are still being developed, evaluated and modified according to local requirements. Therefore, it is likely that the current programmes will be revised and the range of times to provide the training could change.

Healthy Living

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department has (a) taken and (b) plans to take to improve (i) parents' and (ii) children's understanding of the benefits of healthy living; and if she will make a statement. [68838]

Caroline Flint: The Department is working closely with the Department for Education and Skills to ensure an explicit focus on supporting healthy living through children's centres, healthy schools and extended schools—engaging parents, as well as children, is central to each of these programmes. The child health promotion programme and planned life checks will also have a pivotal role to play in communicating health messages.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in implementing her Department's White Paper “Choosing Health: making healthy choices easier”. [68839]

Caroline Flint: A delivery plan was published in 2005 following publication of “Choosing Health”. This sets down plans for delivery against all “Choosing Health” commitments. A progress report will be published shortly to ensure we remain on track to deliver against our 2010 commitments.

Insulin Supplies

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) diabetes sufferers who are reliant on animal insulin will be guaranteed security of supply and (b) the monopoly position of Wockhardt UK is not exploited once Novo Nordisk discontinues its supplies at the end of 2007. [67954]

Andy Burnham: Wockhardt UK has assured the Department of its commitment to continue the supply of its animal insulin products. It has also given assurance that it will be able to meet any increased demand when Novo Nordisk's products are no longer available.

Under the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme, companies are required to seek the Department's agreement for any increases in the prices of branded prescription medicines. These are only granted if the reasons for the application meet the criteria for increases set out in the agreement.

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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what support her Department gives to those most severely affected by myalgic encephalomyelitis; [70192]

(2) what criteria were used to determine which primary care trusts received funding to set up specialist myalgic encephalomyelitis services; and under what terms the funding was granted; [70193]

(3) what commitment primary care trusts (PCTs) have made to continuing to provide funding for specialist myalgic encephalomyelitis services; and what steps her Department plans to take if PCTs do not fulfil that commitment. [70194]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Those most severely affected by chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) have access to the full range of health and social services support as outlined in the national service framework for long-term conditions (the NSF). This includes:

Applications for funding from the £8.5 million budget to establish new CFS/ME services were assessed by an investment steering group consisting of health professionals, as well as patient and carer representatives. The criteria used by the steering group included strategy and partnership working, the proposed service organisation and staffing structure, as well as the need to ensure an even geographic distribution of centres.

National health service organisations are expected to demonstrate that they are making progress towards achieving the level of service quality described in the NSF. The NSF sets out a clear vision of how health and social care organisations can improve the quality, consistency and responsiveness of their services and help improve the lives of people with neurological conditions, including CFS/ME. The Healthcare Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection may undertake performance reviews to assess progress on local implementation of the NSF.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have (a) been diagnosed with and (b) died from meningitis in each of the last five years. [69348]

Caroline Flint: Notified cases of meningitis are collected by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and published as quarterly and yearly reports.

These reports are available on the HPA's website at:

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MMR Vaccination

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her most recent estimate is of the rate of MMR vaccination. [69340]

Caroline Flint: The latest annual estimate of mumps, measles and rubella uptake was published in table two of the statistical bulletin NHS Immunisation Statistics, England: 2004-05 of which a copy is available in the Library. The figure for 2004-05 was 80.9 per cent. Quarterly data are published by the Health Protection Agency in CDR Weekly and are available at:

National Blood Service

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment the Government have conducted of the impact of the closure of the Plymouth unit of the National Blood Service and the transfer of its services to a new super centre at Bristol on (a) service provision to hospitals throughout the South West Peninsula and (b) the willingness of residents of Devon and Cornwall to give blood; and what cost/benefit analysis has been carried out of the regionalisation of blood service provision. [67874]

Caroline Flint: A key factor in the successful delivery of NHS Blood and Transplant's (NHSBT) activities is implementation of its estate strategy. As part of their estate strategy the National Blood Service (NBS) which is an operating division of NHSBT, has proposed the development of a new site at Bristol.

The NBS centre in Plymouth will not be closing. However, some services, such as blood processing will transfer from the Plymouth centre to the new Bristol centre. The NBS will continue to provide critical services from the centre in Plymouth. For example, the centre will continue to have a local blood bank to meet orders for blood. This means that deliveries of blood to hospitals serviced by the Plymouth centre, including emergency requests will not be affected by any change. The proposal to build the new centre in the most cost-effective way will consolidate some services into the new site from centres in Plymouth, Southampton and Birmingham.

It is not expected that the changes will impact on the willingness of donors to come forward and give blood. The NBS will continue to promote the vital role that blood donors play in maintaining the blood supply.

NHS Budgets

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether primary care trusts subject to budget top-slicing in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08 will have their contributions repaid in later years. [70467]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The new strategic health authorities (SHAs) should take the lead locally in developing and implementing a service and financial strategy for managing the financial position within their locality. For 2006-07, this will include creating local reserves to deal with local problems. The size of the reserves and the contribution from each primary care trust (PCT) will vary according to local circumstances.

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In relation to the reserves, we expect SHAs to maintain the integrity of the allocations system with PCTs entitled to repayment of any contributions over a reasonable period not usually exceeding the three-year allocation cycle.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she is aware of the letter of 24 February from Surrey and Sussex Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to the chief executives of the SHA's constituent trusts on allocations to primary care trusts, payment by results tariff correction and implications. [70468]

Caroline Flint: Responsibility for performance management of the national health service has been delegated to strategic health authorities (SHAs). The relevant SHA responsibilities are set out in “The NHS in England: the Operating Framework for 2006-07”. These responsibilities include holding reserves on behalf of primary care trusts.

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what measures she is taking to encourage NHS trusts to balance their budgets; and if she will make a statement; [70520]

(2) what initiatives are in place to reward those NHS trusts that operate to balanced budgets; and if she will make a statement. [70521]

Andy Burnham: All national health service trusts are expected to achieve financial balance, or better, each and every year. However, we recognise this has been a challenging year for NHS organisations, and the NHS as a whole was forecasting a deficit of around £620 million for 2005-06, at month six.

In 2006-07, the priority will be to restore overall financial balance in the NHS. In order to restore financial balance, the following measures are in place:

Parkinson's Disease

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease there were in (a) England and (b) Beverley and Holderness in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement; [69899]

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(2) what percentage of people in England with Parkinson's disease are required to pay for prescriptions; and if she will make a statement; [69896]

(3) how many Parkinson's disease specialist nurses there were in (a) England and (b) Beverley and Holderness in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement; [69897]

(4) what percentage of people in (a) England and (b) Beverley and Holderness diagnosed with Parkinson's disease have access to a specialist nurse; and if she will make a statement; [69898]

(5) what percentage of people in England who have Parkinson's disease were referred to a specialist nurse within six months of diagnosis; and if she will make a statement. [69895]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Data on the number of those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease are not collected. However, estimates produced by the Parkinson's Disease Society suggest that around 10,000 people are diagnosed with this disease each year in the United Kingdom (UK).

The number of people with Parkinson's disease required to pay prescription charges is not identifiable.

The number of Parkinson's disease nurse specialists (PDNSs), and the percentage of Parkinson's disease patients with access to such nurse specialists, is not collected centrally.

The Parkinson's Disease Society reports there are currently over 200 PDNSs in the UK.


Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to publish detailed proposals on how pharmacies may operate with remote supervision by a pharmacist. [67341]

Andy Burnham: Clause 25 of the Health Bill, which is currently before Parliament, makes provision for regulations prescribing the conditions that must be complied with if the preparation, assembly, sale and supply of medicines is to be considered as done under the supervision of a pharmacist, including where the pharmacist is not on the pharmacy premises, that is, remote supervision.

Subject to passage of the Bill, we intend to consult on the development of these regulations, with all interested parties, in due course. In the meantime, in January 2006, we published an information paper outlining the Government's thinking on this matter and reinforcing our intention to set conditions that will continue to ensure patient safety. This paper is available on the Department's website at

Post-operative Infections

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many post-operative infections were contracted by patients in each NHS hospital trust in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [67551]

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Andy Burnham: Data on all post-operative infections are not available. However, information by trust, for the first year of mandatory orthopaedic surgical site infection surveillance, is available on the Department's website at:

Queen Mary's Hospital Trust, Sidcup

Derek Conway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the treatment refunding basis applicable to Queen Mary's Hospital Trust, Sidcup is; and what percentage this represents of the national tariff. [67379]

Caroline Flint: In 2006-07, Queen Mary's Sidcup NHS Trust will be paid by national health service commissioners in England at the 2006-07 payment by results tariff rate for elective, non-elective, out-patient and accident and emergency activity. All other activity will be paid via locally agreed contracts between the trust and its commissioners. Information on what percentage this income represents of the total value of national tariff income is not collected centrally.

Strategic Health Authority for London

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the names are of the (a) chair, (b) chief executive and (c) members of the new strategic health authority for London. [67755]

Andy Burnham: I am pleased to confirm that the new strategic health authority (SHA) chair is Dr. George Greener OBE and the chief executive is David Nicholson CBE.

These appointments will commence when the new SHAs come into effect from 1 July.

The additional non-executive appointments have yet to be made. I will arrange for these details be sent to my hon. Friend once they are confirmed.

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