Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice the Department offers to pharmacists on the purchase and supply of Mannitol; what information the Department has received on its use in the preparation of cocaine; and if she will (a) increase restrictions on its issue and (b) make it a controlled pharmaceutical. 
Andy Burnham [holding answer 27 April 2006]: None. As far as licensed medicinal products are concerned, Mannitol is available as an intravenous infusion and is a prescription only medicine which means that pharmacists may only dispense it against a prescription issued by an appropriate practitioner. Mannitol is also used widely as an excipient, that is an inactive ingredient, by the pharmaceutical industry in the manufacture of other medicinal products.
There is an established mechanism to allow proper consideration of making drugs of misuse controlled. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the
expert body that advises Ministers, is made aware of problems posed by specific drugs, or where they are requested by Ministers to consider a specific drug, they will undertake a detailed assessment of whether or not a substance ought to be controlled and make appropriate recommendations to Ministers.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many times ambulances attended emergency mental health cases in Coventry South in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: Of the five former mental hospitals in Epsom, The Manor, Long Grove and Horton have been sold. They are or have been redeveloped predominantly for housing. The surplus parts ofSt. Ebba's and West Park Hospitals were included in a portfolio of properties that it has been agreed my Department would transfer to English Partnerships to assist in the Government's sustainable communities programme. Ownership has now transferred and it will be for English Partnerships to release the sites for development.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to recruit the (a) consultant neurologists, (b) specialist nurses and (c) other staff required to fulfil the national service framework for long-term neurological conditions. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Each national health service organisation is responsible for determining the work force it requires to implement the national service framework for long-term neurological conditions and for putting in place measures to recruit and develop the necessary staff.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the effect on the expenditure of each NHS trust if directly employed staff had been used instead of agency staff in each of the last three years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 4 May 2006]: The appropriate use of agency staff and any potential level of saving through using directly employed staffis a matter for local determination. However, the£17 million savings achieved in 2004-05, for nursing
staff alone, from reduced use of agencies indicates that the national health service is starting to take advantage of the opportunities available through NHS Professionals and the Purchasing and Supply Agency's agency framework agreements.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Shropshire and Staffordshire strategic health authority has reported that the historic deficit when the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust was established in October 2003 was in the region of £4.1 million. By the start of 2004-05, this had risen to the figure of £7 million following in-year deficits recorded in 2003-04.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effect on competition between potential and current providers to the NHS information technology programme of local service providers not publishing their application programmer interfaces; and what plans she has to require them to do so. 
Caroline Flint: Technical standards for compliance with the national programme for information technologys systems are made routinely available to existing systems providers, as well as contracted national and local systems providers. This is the basis on which existing suppliers of general practitioner and secondary care systems have achieved compliance for the programmes key components. The same standards will apply to any new suppliers who enter the market, including those supporting the independent care sector.
These arrangements were put in place as part of a commercial and organisational model for the national programme, designed to provide best value for money for the taxpayer. There are no current plans to change them.
Under the terms of their agreements with NHS Connecting for Health, local service providers (LSPs) must meet very specific and exacting quality and delivery standards for their healthcare applications, including high levels of disaster recovery and fault tolerance. These could be put at risk if other providers systems were able to connect freely to the LSPs applications without reference to the LSP, or without demonstrating compliance through NHS Connecting for Healths national integration centre.
Caroline Flint: A consultation document, Delivering 21st Century IT support for the NHS: National Specification for Integrated Care Records Serviceconsultation draft, issued in July 2002, outlined the requirements for a national patient care records service and the national standards and specification which would underpin it. Its purpose was to provide an initial review of electronic patient records and to describe a direction of travel for the whole range of information technology standards in the national health service. Nearly 200 responses were received from organisations and individuals, and these were taken into account in drawing up the specification for acare record service used in the procurements phase during 2003.
In addition, in early 2002, the NHS Information Authority carried out research into possible new ways of managing the confidentiality of patient health information in the NHS. In conjunction with other data, and in the context of operational experience, the research findings were used as a basis for consultation which sought the views of patients, the wider public and medical professionals. Responses to the consultation were used to inform development of the new information systems.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary ofState for Health what assessment she has made of the (a) progress to date, (b) prospective timetable for completion and (c) value for money of the £30 billion expenditure on the NHS IT programme. 
Caroline Flint: The national health service information technology (IT) programme has already implemented the quality management and analysis system (QMAS) into all 8,800 general practitioner practices; there are 170,000 registered users of the secure NHS e-mail service and 14,269 new national network broadband connections have been delivered that are available to serve around 400,000 NHS staff. Over 216,000 users have been authorised and registered for access to new national IT systems using secure smartcard technology. New IT systems are being implemented every week across the NHS. Progress is ahead of schedule in some areas, and, in the context of a 10-year programme, broadly on track in others. The aim is to achieve substantial integration of health and social care information systems in England by 2010.
The aggregated buying power of the NHS has been demonstrated to purchase IT systems and services from suppliers at substantially more competitive rates than would ever have been possible for individual NHS organisations. Independent analysis suggests savings of over £3.8 billion.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the contribution of the (a) timetables, (b) progress and (c) benefits of the NHS IT programme in delivering the aims of Commissioning a patient-led NHS. 
Caroline Flint: The national health service information technology programme focuses on improving patient safety, treatment and the patient experience. The new technology will revolutionise the way patient and health information is accessed and shared, making the right information available to the right people at the right time. As it is rolled out, the national programme will also ensure that significantly greater value can be achieved from baseline spending on health care as information begins to follow patients and improve efficiency. This is absolutely in line with the aims, timetable and progress of Commissioning a Patient-led NHS.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the information technology systems for use (a) by GPs and (b) elsewhere in the NHS are predominantly organised in silos of information. 
Caroline Flint: The new systems and services we are putting in place via the national programme for information technology, being delivered by the Departments NHS Connecting for Health agency, will allow information to follow the patient across and between primary and secondary care settings. They will ensure that the right information is available at the right time to the right people to provide treatment at the point of need. This has not been possible with systems previously implemented that were effectively silos of information usually limited to the site where they originated.
Mr. Khabra: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the net change in the numbers of (a) doctors and (b) nurses in the North West London Strategic Health Authority area has been since 1997. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The table shows the latest figures available for all national health service doctors and qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff including practice nurses employed in the North West London Strategic Health Authority (SHA) area as at 30 September each year from 1997 to 2005. This includes the change in numbers between 1997and 2005.
|All NHS doctors and qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff including practice nurses employed in the North West London Strategic Health Authority area as at 30 September ( 1) each year
|Percentage change 1997-2005
|(1 )Practice nurse figures are as at 1 October for 1997 where 1997 data is estimated based on 2002 organisational structure.
(2) Excludes hospital medical hospital practitioners and hospital medical clinical assistants, most of whom are general practitioners (GPs) working part time in hospitals and General Medical Practitioners retainers and registrars.
The Information Centre for health and social care, non-medical workforce census
The Information Centre for health and social care, general and personal medical services statistics
The Information Centre for health and social care, medical and dental workforce statistics
Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what percentage of children in England are (a) overweight and (b) obese; what the targets are in relation to childhood obesity; and what assessment she has made of the progress made to date in achieving those targets. 
|Overweight and obesity prevalence among children aged 2 to 15 by sex in England in 2004
Health Survey for England, 2004
In July 2004, a public service agreement (PSA) target was set to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity among children under 11 by 2010 in the context of a broader strategy to tackle obesity in the population as a whole. Progress of the PSA on childhood obesity will be monitored through the Health Survey for England.
Caroline Flint: The average cost per attendance in a minor injuries unit in 2004-05 was £37. The average cost per attendance in a non-24 hour accident and emergency department/casualty department in 2004-05 was £32.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what approval primary care trusts require from strategic health authorities for (a) the disposal of buildings and land and (b) the use of associated funds; at what stage in the disposal process strategic health authorities become involved; and if she will make a statement;