Andy Burnham: The regulations governing prescription charges provide that a charge should be made by national health service trusts and foundation trust in respect of drugs supplied, other than for administration at a hospital, unless the patient is exempt. No information is collected about the manner in which the regulations are applied in respect of day surgery patients or accident and emergency patients.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions her Department has held with health care professionals about the transportation of prisoners who are (a) pregnant and (b) suffering from medical conditions affecting mobility; what related guidance she has issued to (i) health care professionals and (ii) the National Offender Management Service; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: It is a requirement for all prisoners to have their medical needs assessed by a health care professional prior to transportation. The precise arrangements for this are a matter for prisons and primary care trusts. The Department has not issued guidance centrally on this matter, and has had no recent meetings with health care professionals about the transportation of prisoners.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) questionnaires, (b) statistical inquiries and (c) investigations have been carried out wholly or partly at public expense on behalf of or by her Department or public bodies for which she is responsible in each year since 1997; and what the (i) nature, (ii) purpose and (iii) cost was of each. 
Andy Burnham: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 9 August 2006 which set out information on statistical surveys and statistical collections from the national health service and social care services. Information in respect of other parts of the question could not be produced without incurring disproportionate costs.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on redundancy payments by (a) her Department, (b) strategic health authorities, (c) primary care trusts, (d) ambulance trusts and (e) other NHS bodies in each financial year since 1996-97; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham [holding answer 13 July 2006]: Data for the national health service are not collected centrally. In early 2003 the Department began a substantial change programme which led to redundancy costs of £4.32 million in 2004-05 and £0.28 million in 2005-06. Any expenditure in earlier years could be established only at disproportionate cost.
Andy Burnham [holding answer 25 July 2006]: The weighted-capitation formula, used to inform revenue allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs), is continuously overseen by the advisory committee on resource allocation (ACRA). The issues faced by rural areas have been looked at by ACRA on numerous occasions when considering the allocation of funds to PCTs.
In 1997 a team of researchers was contracted to examine the effect of rurality on the cost of providing certain services. Accident and emergency services and patient transport costs were examined but no evidence of unavoidable geographical costs were found for these services. However, geographical cost differences were found for emergency ambulance services. This led to the introduction of an emergency ambulance cost adjustment (EACA) from the 1998-99 health authority allocations. The results of this study are recorded in Study of Costs of Providing Health Services in Rural Areas Progress Report to Resource Allocation GroupVolumes 1 and 2. This research was published by Mallender Hancock Associates/Operational Research in Health Ltd.
Andy Burnham: A review of the market forces factor (MFF) component of the weighted-capitation formula has been commissioned. The review is being overseen by the advisory committee on resource allocation (ACRA). ACRA will report to Ministers on the MFF review in advance of the next allocations round, as the review will inform revenue allocations to primary care trusts post 2007-08.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the members of the Advisory Committee on Resources Allocation were selected; and what steps her Department took to ensure that experts on health services in rural areas were included on the Advisory Committee. 
Andy Burnham: Officials at the Department on behalf of the Secretary of State appoint members of the advisory committee on resource allocation (ACRA) and its subsidiary, the technical advisory group (TAG). In appointing ACRA and TAG members, the aim is to ensure there is the appropriate mix of expertise and experience in all technical and health service issues covered by the groups, including expertise in health services in rural areas.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recommendations have been made by the turnaround team auditors of the Royal Cornwall hospitals' trust in respect of (a) hospital services, (b) hospital sites and (c) hospital staff. 
The first stage was a baseline assessment, the aim of which was to ensure there is an agreed understanding of the local financial problem and that actions were in hand to address the problem. The contract for the baseline assessment, which took place for the royal Cornwall hospitals trust in February 2006, was awarded to consultants KPMG.
immediate priority. Need for urgent intervention to drive turnaround;
additional expertise/resource needed to support the turnaround;
drive/focus. Maintain high priority of actions; and
regular challenge of management. Encourage to share what works and deliver easy wins.
The Royal Cornwall hospital NHS trust was rated by KPMG as an immediate priority and needing urgent intervention to drive turnaround. The KPMG assessment therefore did not make specific recommendations in relation to actions for individual organisations. The trust subsequently appointed advisers to help the trust produce a turnaround plan which describes the actions that the trust plans to undertake.
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the rule of rescue principle applies to NHS treatment of (a) brain tumours and (b) other conditions; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: Decisions on the most appropriate care of any individual patient are usually taken by their treating clinician in consultation with the patient, bearing in mind the individuals clinical circumstances, relevant evidence and the need to make effective use of the national health services resources.
Andy Burnham: Nationally, the Department rural proofs policy across much of its business. In policy development we ensure that all communities, including those in rural areas, are able to benefit from our national objectives for healthcare. Examples of our rural proofing activity can be found in the Commission for Rural Communities annual report on rural proofing at: www.ruralcommunities.gov.uk. This commends our White Paper Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services highlighting policies aimed at providing care closer to the home. Proposals for social care and integration, initiatives to support carers, such as a dedicated telephone helpline, and set of community hospitals will be particularly beneficial to rural populations.
The Departments document Health reform in England: update and commissioning framework, published on 13 July 2006, sets out a framework for strengthening commissioning in the new primary care trusts (PCTs). An essential part of this is the effective assessment of the health needs of all communities, including those in rural areas. PCTs effectiveness is assessed by the strategic health authorities, as well as by the Healthcare Commission.
To further support delivery of health objectives in rural communities, the Department with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs funded the Institute of Rural Health, an independent research charity, for the production of a rural proofing toolkit. This was launched at the House of Commons in October 2005, and now acts as a resource for primary care organisations to help ensure that all health care delivery is accessible and appropriate for people living in rural areas.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for which trusts and strategic health authorities auditors have considered, but not made, section 19 referrals in the last 12 months; 
(3) pursuant to her answer of 29 June 2006, Official Report, column 605W, on the Audit Commission Act, for what reason (a) West Midlands strategic health authority, (b) West Hertfordshire hospitals NHS trust and (c) Avon Ambulance Service NHS trust were absent from her response in the Official Report of 21 June 2006, column 1942W; 
(5) pursuant to her answer of 29 June 2006, Official Report, column 604W, on the Audit Commission Act,
if she will break down the number of (a) Section 8 reports, (b) Section 19 referrals and (c) Qualifications on accounts Section 19 referrals by month since 2003, including any referrals that have been made since that answer. 
Andy Burnham: Consideration of whether or not to make a referral under section 19 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 is a matter solely for the appointed auditor and information is not available centrally on instances where this has been considered, but no referral has been made.
Since the answer of 29 June 2006, Official Report, column 605W, two further referrals have been made in respect of organisations having little prospect of achieving financial balance within a three or five year period.
In the response of 21 June 2006, Official Report, column 1942W, West Hertfordshire national health service trust was included in the list of section 8 reports under West Hertfordshire Quadrant, which also constituted a referral under section 19. The referral for Avon Ambulance Trust was not included as it had not been made at the time of compilation of the answer.
The previous answers referred to above omitted West Midlands South strategic health authority (from the answer of 21 June) and East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (from the answer of 29 June), and the number of qualifications on account referrals in 2003 should have been 16 (in the table in the answer of 29 June).
|Section 8 reports
|Section 19 referrals
|Qualification on account referrals( 1)
|(1 )The section 19 referrals issued to these organisations took the form of regularity reports on accounts and did nor constitute a full report to the Secretary of State. (2) To date. (3) Not yet available.