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Mental Health

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timetable is for introducing payment by results funding for mental health provision; and if she will make a statement. [75672]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The introduction of a payment by results funding system for the provision of mental health services depends on the results of an ongoing project to determine currencies that could be used to describe and cost mental health activity. If the project is successful in producing meaningful currencies this summer, these will be piloted and evaluated.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the findings of the Royal College of Psychiatrists that Irish-born people living in London have the highest rates of death and depression of any migrant group; and if she will make a statement. [76631]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has not made a direct assessment of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' findings. However, the Department published guidance entitled “Celebrating our Cultures: Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion with Black and Minority Ethnic Communities” in December 2004 which includes a specific chapter on promoting the mental health of people from the Irish community.

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England (2002) recognised the risk of suicide in black and minority ethnic groups and consequently a black and minority ethnic suicide research project has been commissioned to provide comprehensive information on the risk factors for suicide and suicide attempts in different ethnic groups, including the Irish community. This information will be published in due course.

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“Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care”(2005), a five-year action plan for improving black and minority ethnic communities’ access to, and experience of, mental health care includes Irish communities, and the Federation of Irish Societies is represented on the “Delivering Race Equality” national steering group.

National Recruitment and Retention Premium

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons NHS employers are not paying the national recruitment and retention premium to the building craft grade; when the review of that non-payment is planned to take place; and if she will make a statement. [78581]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There is no nationally agreed recruitment and retention premium for building craft workers working in the national health service. It is for employers to decide whether or not there is evidence to justify payment of local recruitment and retention premiums.

NHS employers in partnership with national trades unions have recently agreed to review the national recruitment and retention premiums set out in the agenda for change agreement.

NHS Direct

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total expenditure on NHS Direct (a) is in 2006-07 and (b) was in each of the last three years. [75661]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Expenditure by NHS Direct is only available for 2003-04 and 2004-05. For 2005-06 and future years, information is not yet available.

In 2003-04 the expenditure by NHS Direct was £121,988,000 and in 2004-05 £148,362,000. These figures are from the audited statutory accounts and are publicly available on the NHS Direct website at www.nhs

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it a condition of NHS Direct becoming a foundation trust that it does not outsource to overseas call centres. [79232]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We are in the early stages of considering how the foundation trust model and application process could apply to NHS Direct. There are no plans to transfer NHS Directs call services abroad.

NHS Drug Budget

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the NHS drug budget has been in each year since 1997. [75340]

Andy Burnham: Primary care and national health service trust drugs budgets are not determined centrally. Trusts are responsible for setting their own budgets. Decisions on the level of funding will depend on local priorities.

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The following table gives the total drugs bill since 1997.

Outturn (£ million)

















Notes: 1. Figures are net which include pharmaceutical price regulation scheme receipt savings. 2. The total drugs spend include drugs expenditure in primary care and the hospital and community health service (HCHS). The primary care expenditure reflects amounts paid to pharmacy and appliance contractors and amounts authorised for dispending doctors and personal administration in England. HCHS expenditure includes drugs and medical gases. 3. From 2000-01, figures are in resource terms, prior to this figures are in cash terms. Cash figures relate to February to January prescribing due to delay in prescription processing and payment calculations. Resource figures represent the actual cost between April to March. Source: Prescription Pricing Division, England and Department of Health Finance Division.

NHS Facilities

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what NHS facilities have been closed in 2006-07 to date, broken down by (a) primary care trust and (b) reason for closure; and if she will make a statement. [78358]

Andy Burnham: The Department does not routinely collect and hold operational management information on closures of national health service facilities.

Local authority overview and scrutiny committees have the power to review and scrutinise health services from the perspective of their local populations. NHS bodies which have proposals under consideration to substantially vary or substantially develop NHS services in the area of a particular local authority have a duty to consult that local authority's committee. The committees have the power to refer any proposal to the Secretary of State if they believe that they have not been consulted when they should have been consulted or if they believe the plans are not in the interests of the health service.

NHS Finance

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health about which NHS trusts and organisations she has received warnings under section 19 or section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998; and on which organisations auditors are considering posting Public Interest Reports. [76386]

Andy Burnham: Auditors appointed by the Audit Commission to audit the accounts of national health service bodies have the discretionary power under section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 to issue a report in the public interest.

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Section 8 of the Act requires auditors in auditing the accounts to consider whether, in the public interest, they should report on any matter coming to their notice in the course of the audit, in order for it to be considered by the body concerned or brought to the attention of the public. The auditor can issue an immediate report if the public interest requires it, or can issue a report at the conclusion of the audit.

Since 1 April 2005, auditors have issued section 8 reports to the following NHS organisations:

There will be other cases where the auditors are considering when/whether to issue reports. Comprehensive information on these is not held centrally.

Section 19 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 requires an appointed auditor to refer matters to the Secretary of State if he/she has reason to believe that an NHS organisation has made a decision which involves, or may involve, unlawful expenditure (known as referrals to the Secretary of State). These reports are not published.

Since 1 April 2005, auditors have made referrals, under section 19, in respect of the following NHS organisations.

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The section 19 referrals issued to these NHS organisations were in respect of spending above the PCTs allocated limit and did not have a full report to the Secretary of State.

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