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Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will provide an opportunity for hon. Members in the Cheshire and Merseyside strategic health authority area to ask questions directly to the authors of the report on the potential for mergers of hospitals in Liverpool, Southport and Ormskirk NHS trust; 
(2) how many organisations her Department considered in awarding the contract to carry out the review of the potential for merging hospitals in Southport, Ormskirk and Liverpool; which organisation was selected; what estimate she has made of the cost to her Department of compiling the report; and what measures are in place to ensure that the report will be (a) independent and (b) published in full. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The former Cheshire and Merseyside strategic health authority (SHA), which is now part of the NHS North West SHA, awarded the contract to support its work around preparing national health service trusts to apply for NHS foundation trust status. Therefore, this is a matter for the NHS North West SHA.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors account for the difference between the forecast national expenditure on the National Programme for Information Technology, as stated in paragraph (a) on page 25 of the National Audit Office Report the National Programme for IT in the NHS, HC1173, published on 16 June 2006, and the figure given by her Department's Director of Health and Social Services Delivery in oral evidence to the Health Committee in answer to Question 163 on 1 December 2005. 
Caroline Flint: The figure given to the Health Committee as the value of the core national procurement programme contracts placed in 2003 and 2004 was £6.2 billion. This figure has not increased since the contracts were let, and is confirmed in the National Audit Office (NAO) report. The forecast national expenditure figure of £9.2 billion referred to by the NAO includes this sum, but in addition includes other elements, some of which are costs not directly associated with the national programme for information technology.
The other elements are made up of £382 million for contracts and projects added to the original scope of the programme; £239 million for additional services beyond the scope of the core national contracts; and a further £337 million pro rata extrapolation of the cost of the core contracts to cover the period to 2013 to 2014. This last figure is a purely notional sum to allow total expenditure to be projected over 10 years, and needed because two contracts (choose and book, and the new national broadband networkN3) reach the end of their life before the end of 10 years, requiring further provision to take forward the services.
In addition, a further £1.9 billion represents centrally managed expenditure on centrally managed projects and services within the national programme, and the cost of running the Department's NHS Connecting for Health agency. Some of these costs relate to agency responsibilities other than the national programme, including all of the information technology service delivered by the former NHS Information Authority (NHSIA). The NHSIA spent some £219 million in its last year. NHS Connecting for Health will be spending relatively less centrally and doing much more over 10 years.
We expect that actual expenditure will be very significantly less than £1.9 billion since, once the initial stages of system development and deployment are complete, the role and size of the agency will reduce accordingly.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the document, Delivering 21st century IT support for the NHS, when it was decided to move away from the recommendation for a choice of compliant systems for critical local applications. 
Caroline Flint: No such decision has been taken. The strategy for the national programme for information technology requires the integration of multiple systems and applications operating together to functional and technical interoperability standards. Interoperability standards are shared with existing suppliers who are required to demonstrate compliance.
We have always said that general practitioners would have the option of an alternative system to that supplied by the local service providers (LSP), providing the system meets the necessary compliance standards. Under the proposed GP systems of choice initiative, and subject to the same compliance requirements, general practitioners (GPs) will in future have an even wider choice of systems from approved existing GP system providers as an alternative to that provided by their LSP.
The aim of the new initiative is to enable GPs to either choose to upgrade their current clinical system, or migrate to an LSP-provided system in order to continue on the path to integration with the NHS Care Records Service. Providing GPs with this wider range of choice, and a clear roadmap to future integration with the NHS Care Records Service has been widely welcomed by the profession.
The commercial and organisational models chosen for delivering the national programme have produced exceptional value for the taxpayer by avoiding multiple procurements and significantly reducing unit costs for applications and systems. The National Audit Office report acknowledges an independent evaluation that confirms that £4.5 billion has been saved by central rather than local procurement and also acknowledges a further £860 million of savings achieved through centrally negotiated enterprise wide arrangements.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1539W, on Connecting for Health, what targets she has put in place for the roll-out of detailed care record access to (a) the originating organisations, (b) local care communities and (c) larger areas. 
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answers of 26 January 2006, Official Report, column 2333W, on Arms Length Bodies, and 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1537W, on Connecting for Health, what the reasons are for the different figures given for the budget for Connecting for Health. 
Caroline Flint: The budget figure of £178 million for NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) in 2005-06, quoted in my answer on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1537W, included recurrent cash items. These items were as follows.
These items were excluded from the budget figure of £115.23 million for CfH in 2005-06 quoted in my answer on 26 January 2006, Official Report, column 2333W. Non-recurrent funding is for a single year. Capital charges are a non-cash resource; that is no physical cash is used.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her estimate is of the cost to the NHS of engagement in jury service by (a) doctors and (b) other NHS employees in each of the last three years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: It is for national health service trusts to decide how many nurses, including palliative care nurse specialists, are employed in each specialty within hospitals. It is for local cancer networks, working in partnership with primary care trusts, strategic health authorities and their work force development directorates, to assess, plan and review their work force, education and training needs for all staff linked to the delivery of local and national priorities for cancer.
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Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what specialist myalgic encephalomyelitis/encephaliopathy and chronic fatigue syndrome services are being provided under the public patient initiative; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We are not aware of any specialist chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis services provided under the public patient initiative (PPI). The PPI is an initiative to engage local people in monitoring the quality of health trust activities and service delivery.
(2) whether funding for specialist myalgic encephalomyelitis and encephalopathy (ME) services is contained within the baseline budgets of primary care trusts; and what assessment she has made of the impact of the forthcoming restructuring of primary care trusts on the continued funding for specialist ME services; 
(3) what assessment she has made of (a) the impact of any reduction in myalgic encephalomyelitis and encephalopathy (ME) services on the continued viability of whole service provision to people with ME and (b) the availability of other treatments by non-specialists to mitigate such reductions; 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The national service framework for long-term conditions set 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 chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).
Funding for specialist CFS/ME services is included in the baseline budgets for primary care trusts. No assessment of the impact of any restructuring of primary care trusts on the continued funding of these services has been made.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she plans to seek (a) to repeal and (b) to amend section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 in the forthcoming Mental Health Bill. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The current Government plans for amending the Mental Health Act 1983, as announced in March 2006, do not include repeal of section 117. The provisions of section 117 will in addition apply to patients on supervised community treatment.
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