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24 July 2006 : Column 1108W—continued

24 July 2006 : Column 1109W

Ministerial Meetings

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 27 June 2006, Official Report, column 330W, on ministerial meetings, which two dates were cancelled for a meeting between the hon. Member for Chorley and the Minister of State for Health. [84145]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 10 July 2006]: A meeting was scheduled to take place between the hon. Member for Chorley and the Minister of State for Health on Monday 5 June at 8 p.m. in Interview Room 1, Portcullis House. The meeting was postponed. The Minister of State for Health had hoped to offer the hon. Member further dates for this meeting on the evenings of 12 and 19 June but was prevented from doing so by parliamentary business.

A meeting did subsequently take place between the hon. Member for Chorley and the Minister of State for Health on Mon 26 June at 8.30pm at the above venue.

Another meeting was arranged on 22 June. Representatives of the hon. Member attended.

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS establishments Ministers in her Department have visited in North East Cambridgeshire constituency in the last 12 months. [85981]

Andy Burnham: Departmental Ministers have not visited any national health service establishments in the North East Cambridgeshire constituency in the last 12 months. However, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health visited Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon on 26 May 2005 and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership Trust in Fulborne on 26 June 2006.

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS establishments Ministers in her Department have visited in East Yorkshire constituency in the last 12 months. [85324]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 17 July 2006]: My hon. Friend, the Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint), Minister of State for Public Health visited health trainers from East and West Hull primary care trusts on 23 March 2006.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, Central (Ms Rosie Winterton), Minister of State for Health Services visited the Greentrees facility, a nurse consultant-led service in Willerby, Hull on 4 April 2006.


Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make an assessment of recent research by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina on a possible link between the MMR triple vaccine and autism and bowel disease in children; and if she will make a statement. [84799]

Caroline Flint: The recent study by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine into a possible link between the triple vaccine and autism and bowel
24 July 2006 : Column 1110W
disease in children (the Krigsman study) cannot be given credibility since it did not include any control groups. The same investigation in Dr Wakefield’s own laboratories showed no evidence of measles virus in bowel tissue from autistic children. Several properly conducted studies that include control groups, have failed to find measles virus persisting in the blood cells of autistic children and therefore we believe that there remains no convincing epidemiological or virological evidence for measles, mumps and rubella playing a part in causing autism.

National Blood Service

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how often her Department reviews medical evidence which forms the basis for blood donation rules that (a) permanently exclude men who have had sex with men and (b) temporarily exclude female sexual partners of those men; when the last review of the medical evidence was carried out; and when the next review is scheduled to take place. [76928]

Caroline Flint: Donor selection criteria are set by the Joint UK Blood Transfusion Services and National Institute of Biological Standards and Control Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC). The rules regarding blood donation are guided by epidemiological data relating to the United Kingdom and are regularly subject to review.

The donor selection criterion which excludes men who have sex with men is kept under review by the expert advisory committee on the microbiological safety of blood, tissues and organs for transplantation (MSBTO). MSBTO discussed a recent review of the epidemiological data relating to this issue at a meeting held on 20 June. The Committee considered an evaluation of the effects of changes in the donor selection criterion for men who have had sex with men on the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections in England and Wales, 2002 to 2004. The Committee is expected to discuss this issue again at its next meeting in October.

The current Donor Selection Guidelines (202, November 2005) state that female partners of a man who has had sex with another man must not donate, even if a condom or other protection has been used. There is discretionary provision to accept such an individual if at least 12 months have elapsed since the last sexual contact with a male partner who has sex with another man. This policy is currently under review by the UK Blood Services.

National Procurement

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department will invite primary care trusts to take part in the national procurement process. [84462]

Andy Burnham: An advert was submitted to the Official Journal of the European Union on 13 July which notified of a national procurement of management and support services to help deliver primary care trusts’ (PCT) commissioning obligations.

Applicants will be assessed on quality and financial grounds. Once providers have been accredited and a framework agreement established they will be made
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available to the national health service locally to support PCTs in their commissioning functions, should they need such expertise or support.

PCTs are and will remain public, statutory bodies accountable and responsible for using their growing budgets to commission the best possible services for local people.

NHS Bursaries

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her Department's press release of 29 June, on NHS bursaries, what size bursary uplift (a) nursing, (b) midwifery, (c) medical, (d) dental and (e) allied health professional students received in each year since 1997. [84020]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The table shows the national health service bursary rates for the basic awards, not including additional allowances, for the period 1997 to
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2007 and the annual percentage increases. The majority of nurses and midwives receive the non-means tested bursary. Medical and dental students and the majority of allied health professional students receive the means-tested NHS bursary. The NHS bursary scheme has supported allied health professional students since 1998 and medical and dental undergraduate students since September 2002 from their fifth and subsequent years of study. During the first four years’ of study medical and dental students receive support under the Department for Education and Skills regulations.

In addition to the basic NHS bursary awards there are a number of other allowances. These include allowances for students aged 26 and over and dependents’ allowances. Since 1999, we have also provided better support for student travel costs in respect of practice placements. In 2004, we introduced the childcare allowance and in 2005 continuing payments for students on maternity leave.

Basic NHS bursary rates for academic years 1997-98 to 2006-07
1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

NHS means tested bursary























Parental home











NHS non-means tested bursary












Elsewhere/parental home











Percentage increase on previous year










NHS Commissioning

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when she intends to publish her Department’s framework for commissioning, practice-based commissioning and the national contract template for 2007-08; [84453]

(2) when she plans to publish her Department's framework for (a) the future of provider reform, (b) future workforce development and (c) the management and regulation of the healthcare system. [84457]

Ms Rosie Winterton: On Friday 14 July, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health made a written statement announcing the publication of “Health Reform in England: Update and Commissioning Framework”. This document contains a detailed commissioning framework, which includes proposals for strengthening practice based commissioning and a new model of contracting. It also provides updates on the future of provider reform, workforce development and system management and regulation. A copy of the framework is available in the Library.

A consultation document on system management and regulation will be published in the autumn and further information on workforce will be published later this year.

NHS Direct

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Answer of 26 June 2006, Official Report, columns 231-2W, on NHS Direct, what proportion of total NHS Direct sites the proposed closure of 12 sites represents; and what proportion of the total NHS Direct workforce 573 posts represents. [81937]

Ms Rosie Winterton: NHS Direct currently has 54 sites. A number of the 12 sites proposed for closure, representing 22 per cent. of the estate, are small and do not provide suitable accommodation that meets the future needs of NHS Direct for either facilities or good support for staff through supervision.

The consultation document sets out that the organisation has 2,796 posts. The possible reduction in posts in the organisation could be around 400, representing 14 per cent. of the current posts.

24 July 2006 : Column 1113W

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment her Department has made of the impact of NHS Direct on front line services; and if she will make a statement; [81974]

(2) what assessment she has made of the likely impact of proposed (a) site closures and (b) staff redundancies on NHS Direct front-line services. [82035]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The proposals set out in the consultation document are designed to ensure that NHS Direct can continue to provide a high quality service to patients and can improve the value for money offered to commissioners and to taxpayers. The proposals aim to increase efficiency of NHS Direct operations, improve the patient experience, improve the working experience for staff, and make better use of specialist skills throughout the organisation. NHS Direct recognise that this is a difficult time for staff and are working to ensure that all staff have the opportunity to comment on the proposals, through formal and informal means, as well as working closely with union representatives.

NHS Employees

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the progress of the review by her Department of the financial support available to students studying for employment in the NHS. [83683]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have started to review the national health service bursary scheme, in particular to ensure it complies with age discrimination and eligibility legislation. We will also introduce a formal policy to pay for students absent due to maternity and childbirth to replace the current interim arrangements. A consultative meeting has taken place with the Royal College of Nursing, Unison and the British Medical Association. Further meetings are planned during the summer with student representatives and other stakeholders.

NHS Finance

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional net resources will be available to the NHS in 2006-07 after taking into account (a) NHS inflation and (b) the 2005-06 deficit. [58168]

Andy Burnham: There will be £6,540 million additional net resources available to the national health service in 2006-07. This represents a real terms increase of 5.8 per cent. on NHS expenditure in 2005-06. This growth takes into account the 2005-06 deficit position. The following able provides the total net NHS expenditure in each of the years.

2005-06 (Estimated outturn) 2006-07 (Plan)

Net NHS expenditure (£ billion)



Percentage increase (cash)


Percentage increase (real-gross domestic product deflator 29 March)


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