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24 July 2006 : Column 1078Wcontinued
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account was taken by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence of the opinion of health professionals on the efficacy of Alzheimer drugs when drawing up its recommendations. 
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) follows a standard process when developing its guidance. This process encourages bodies representing health professionals to register as consultees. Consultees can submit written evidence, comment on the appraisal documents and appeal against the appraisal committee's final recommendations. All NICE guidance is subject to public consultation on the NICE website and any clinician can log on and give their comments in this way. Two clinical experts nominated by the consultee organisations give their expert personal view by attending the initial appraisal committee discussion
and/or providing written evidence to the committee. Evidence submitted by health professional groups and clinical experts is published on the NICE website throughout the guidance development process.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many babies have been born in each London borough through assisted reproductive technology in each year since 2000. 
Caroline Flint: The information requested is not collected centrally. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does collect data on live births reported to it by HFEA licensed clinics resulting from treatment cycles involving in vitro fertilisation and donor insemination. Data for London are shown in the table.
|Live births resulting from in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and donor insemination (DI) treatment cycles from in London from 2000-04|
|(1) The table identifies the total number of babies born according to their date of birth. HFEA has used the Patients Guide To Infertility definition of regions, which relates to the location in which the IVF or DI treatment took place. This is not necessarily the location of the birth or the place of residence of the patient.|
(2) 2004 is the most recent year for which information is available.
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients within the Coastal primary care trust and East Kent hospital trust areas are awaiting (a) assessment and (b) fitting of hearing aids for the first time. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not collected centrally.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the East Kent hospital trust will switch to the exclusive fitting of digital hearing aids. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not held centrally. It is for primary care trusts to ensure their local population benefits from modernised hearing aid services.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many audiology posts are unfilled in England. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The March 2005 vacancy survey recorded 70 vacancies for audiologists which remained unfilled after three months or more in England. This was a three-month vacancy rate of 4.8 per cent.
The results of the 2006 vacancy survey are due to be published on the 27 July 2006.
Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to inform the South Asian community about (a) high blood pressure and (b) diabetes. 
Caroline Flint: The White Papers, Choosing Health and Our Health, Our Care, Our Say, set out a range of action to improve health and tackle health inequalities that can lead to ill health. General Government action promoting a balanced diet and increased physical activity helps to address the risk factors that may lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. In particular, tackling obesity and action to reduce the intake of salt, fat and sugar can help reduce these risks.
Specific action to inform the south Asian community about high blood pressure and diabetes includes the self-assessment Life Check, supporting individuals and communities at high risk of developing diabetes to get involved in more healthy lifestyles and environments. A Healthy Living DVD was launched recently to help raise awareness of and address potential inequalities in the identification and treatment of people from the Asian population with diabetes. The Department is also funding the Stroke Association to promote a blood pressure awareness campaign within African Caribbean and south Asian communities in England through relevant media, translated materials and pressure testing stations in community settings.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether her Department has issued guidelines to primary care trusts on the funding of brachytherapy; 
(2) what assessment she has made of the availability of brachytherapy on the NHS in (a) the South East and (b) England. 
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of the use of brachytherapy; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department issued Advice on the Development of Permanent Seed Implant Brachytherapy Services (low dose brachytherapy) for Localised Prostate Cancer in England for consultation in summer 2005. The consultation document can be found on the Departments website at:
The advice includes estimated costs for introducing and running a low dose rate prostate brachytherapy service but does not address sources of funding. It also provides the location of the 14 national health service prostate brachytherapy centres in England at that time. The framework is being finalised and will be published later in the year.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has also produced interventional procedures guidance to the NHS on the use of brachytherapy for prostate cancer and cervical cancer. The guidance confirms that these procedures are safe for use.
The Royal College of Radiologists is also producing a report on the development of brachytherapy services in general. This is due to be published in the autumn.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account was taken of her Departments policy on breastfeeding when assessing whether to allow the Patch infant formula trial in NHS hospitals. 
Caroline Flint: The Departments policy on the governance of research is set out in the research governance framework for health and social care (second edition, April 2005), a statement of standards issued by the Secretary of State for Health. Any research study involving national health service patients, their organs, tissues or data or the use of NHS premises or facilities has to have the favourable opinion of a NHS research ethics committee.
In their decision-making, research ethics committees are independent from political, institutional, profession-related and market influences. They reach an opinion on the basis of the ethical issues and not Government policy. They keep their own records. The Department cannot comment on their deliberations in a particular case.
In addition, the permission of each organisation where the research takes place is required. The research governance framework for health and social care provides guidance on the issues they have to take into consideration.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms there are by which NHS organisations can give money to other NHS organisations; and what estimate she has made of capital shifting within the NHS in each month of 2006. 
Andy Burnham: The Department uses the process of inter authority transfers (IATs) to effect revenue and capital resource and cash transfers between national health service organisations during a financial year. These adjustments can be requested on a monthly basis as part of the NHS financial monitoring arrangements and must be agreed by both parties to the transfer and the Department.
The process is also used to transfer funds from primary care trusts to the strategic health authority revenue reserves.
The Department does not collect data on estimates, profiled by month, for individual revenue and capital IATs.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects the recommendations made by the
review of the Carr Hill formula to be published; and if she will make a statement on the conclusions of the first phase of the review. 
Caroline Flint: It is anticipated that the group tasked with the review of general medical services funding will report on its findings and recommendations during 2006-07.
The first phase of the review is now complete. This involved initial assessment of all the factors in the existing formula and of factors, which could be included in a revised formula. The group will continue to carry out detailed modelling to enable a better understanding of the impact of a new formula at different population levels and for different types of practices.
No conclusions have yet been reached by the group.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what responsibility general practitioners have to inform parents and guardians that children are due for vaccination. 
Caroline Flint: Under the terms of their contract, general practitioners are required to provide essential services to their patientswhich includes the provision of health promotion advice, for example on vaccinations and immunisations. Practices may also choose to provide childhood immunisations themselves under a directed enhanced service. This requires practices to offer recommended immunisations to children on its childhood immunisation scheme register and information to parents or guardians about its immunisation programme.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she made of clinical care following the death of Peter Halley of Southend-on-Sea at Southend hospital on 14 May 2004; and what existing policies were amended as a result. 
Andy Burnham: It is for primary care trusts in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services. The local national health service owes a duty of care to any patient it treats.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance she has issued to NHS foundation trusts on provision of practical and clinically safe medical care in a community setting. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
National health service foundation trusts (NHSFTs) are bound to comply with national health care standards and targets under their terms of authorisation (terms and conditions of operation) and are accountable to Monitor (the statutory name of which is the independent regulator
of NHS foundation trusts) for complying with the authorisation. Monitor has powers of intervention in cases of significant failure.
The Healthcare Commission (the statutory name of which is the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection) assesses and inspects NHSFTs performance against standards and targets in the same way as for NHS trusts. National Service Frameworks and guidance by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence are integral to health care standards.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to publish the full guidance following her letter sent in February to strategic health authorities identifying the criteria for enhancing the role of community hospitals for revenue purposes following the recent capital announcement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The further guidance identified in the letter sent to strategic health authorities on 16 February entitled Moving care closer to home was published on 5 July 2006. The publication is titled Our Health, Our Care, Our Community: investing in the future of community hospitals and services and is available in the Library and on the Departments website at:
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many recent (a) letters and (b) representations her Department has received in relation to (i) Ludlow Community Hospital and (ii) Bishops Castle Community Hospital in Shropshire. 
Caroline Flint: The Department has received a large number of letters from both hon. Members and members of the public about the review of services in Shropshire, including letters about Ludlow Community Hospital and Bishops Castle Community Hospital. An accurate figure could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State has also received a petition in relation to Ludlow Community Hospital.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate her Department has made of the number of community hospital beds in the Shropshire Primary Care Trust area in each year since 1997; 
(2) what estimate her Department has made of the number of community hospital beds likely to be needed in (a) the area of South Shropshire district council and (b) the area of Bridgnorth district council over the next (i) five and (ii) 10 years. 
Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for commissioning services, including community beds and community hospital facilities, to meet the health needs of their local population. Shropshire County PCT and Telford and Wrekin PCT
are currently consulting on proposed changes to community hospitals across Shropshire.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate her Department has made of the number of community hospital beds in the Cotswolds and Vale Primary Care Trust area in each year since 1997. 
Andy Burnham: The information requested is not held centrally.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her oral statement of 5 July 2006, Official Report, column 826, on community hospitals, how many community hospitals have (a) opened and (b) closed in Avon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Strategic Health Authority area since 1997; and for how many possible closure is being considered. 
Andy Burnham: The information requested is not collected centrally.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate her Department has made of the number of community hospital beds in Kennet and North Wiltshire primary care trust area in each year since 1997. 
Andy Burnham: It is for local primary care trusts in conjunction with their strategic health authorities to make an assessment of the local health service provision.
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