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Chemical Reagents (Tariff Reduction)

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis 12 per cent. was decided to be an appropriate tariff reduction for chemical reagents in primary care; if she will publish the information that provided the evidential basis for that decision, including the range of existing prices in an anonymised form; and if she will make a statement. [92231]

Andy Burnham: The market was informed on 5 September 2006 that Ministers had decided to implement a staged reduction of up to 15 per cent. to the April 2006 drug tariff reimbursement prices for some blood glucose detection strips.

As of 1 October 2006, reimbursement prices for all affected products were reduced by 12 per cent.

The decision in regard to the staged approach is a direct consequence of the consultation process and demonstrates clearly that the Department had regard to the responses received and was willing to adjust its proposals accordingly. The final decision aims to recognise the existing services that are provided by suppliers to the benefit of patient care, while at the same time moving to secure better value for money for the national health service overall.

In arriving at 15 per cent., three sources of information were used: secondary care purchase data, additional secondary care tender data, and information concerning the industry's cost and revenue structures.

In addition, it was in fact clear from both consultation papers on the arrangements for the provision of chemical reagents to primary care in October 2005 and May 2006:

The data underlying these calculations were given to the Department in confidence, and related to commercially confidential transactions within the NHS. In a market for items manufactured by only seven companies, four of whom collectively account for 97 per cent. of sales, it would not be feasible to publish data in any meaningful form without—whether on its face value or by obvious implication that would be evident to companies in that market—revealing to each manufacturer something about its competitors' pricing.


Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of NHS paying patients treated were under the new NHS dental contract in
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each of the three payment bands on 1 September. [91834]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of courses of treatment carried out between April and June 2006 was published on 9 October. This is broken down into payment bands. The information has been placed in the Library and will be updated quarterly at

This information covers courses of treatment delivered rather than patients treated. A patient may receive more than one course of treatment during the measured period.

Information on the percentage of courses of treatment delivered to charge payers and non-charge payers is expected to be available later in the year.

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS dentists had completed (a) 100 per cent., (b) 75 per cent. and (c) 50 per cent. of their allocated annual units of dental activity on 1 September. [91835]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 9 October 2006]: The Information Centre for health and social care plans to publish quarterly information on the number of units of dental activity delivered since 1 April 2006. The information is broken down by strategic health authority and primary care trust. It is not shown broken down by individual dentist or contract. The information could only be provided in the exact form requested at disproportionate cost.

The Information Centre published the information for April to June on 9 October, which is available at and a copy has been placed in the Library. The Information Centre expects to publish the information for July to September later in the autumn.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) circulation, (b) cost and (c) title is of each publication her Department has issued since 1 July 2005. [89416]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: A list of Department of Health publications for the period indicated, including those publications co-authored by the Department and published by the Stationery Office, has been placed in the Library, listing the title of each publication. Department of Health publications are available in electronic form on the Department's website ( The circulation of publications will vary very significantly and it is not possible to specify a circulation list for each document without incurring disproportionate cost.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to protect the elderly and young from heatstroke. [89319]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has taken steps to ensure appropriate advice and guidance is
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available to inform vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and young, of the dangers of prolonged high temperatures, and to ensure that health and social care service providers know what actions to take in preparation for, and in the event of, a heatwave. The Department first published its heatwave plan in 2004 and has done so for each subsequent summer. A public information leaflet “A Guide to Looking After Yourself and Others During Hot Weather” is distributed each year as a part of the Department's heatwave plan preparations. The leaflet is available through general practitioners practices, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare organisations as well as voluntary sector organisations such as Age Concern and Help the Aged.

Copies of the publications are available in the Library.

Hospital Parking Fees

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will undertake research to evaluate the proportion of net disposable income taken by hospital parking fees for patients on income support; [91822]

(2) how much was raised from parking fees by each health authority in the last year for which figures are available; [91823]

(3) if she will make it her policy to protect vulnerable and poor patients from excessive levels of parking charges at hospitals; and if she will make a statement. [91824]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have no plans to undertake research to evaluate the proportion of net disposable income taken by hospital parking fees for patients on income support. However, those patients who are on income support are eligible for the hospital travel costs scheme which allows them to claim reasonable travel expenses when travelling to hospital. This can include the full reimbursement for car parking fees and petrol expenses where this is the cheapest form of travel which is available to them. The Department does not collect any data centrally on the hospital travel costs scheme.

The income from car parking from patients and staff for each national health service trust in 2005-06 has been placed in the Library. These data are as provided by NHS organisations, without amendment, on a voluntary basis and therefore will not be complete. The figures provided represent the income received and not the profit from the provision of car parking as maintenance and running costs such as lighting and security will need to be paid.

It is for NHS trusts to decide what level of car parking to provide and what charges to apply at their sites. In doing so they should take account of guidance from the Department which advises them to consider a range of factors, including offering concessions to certain groups, when implementing car parking charges.

Intensive Care

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been allocated to (a) intensive care unit beds, (b) high dependency unit beds and
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(c) nurses with the critical skills needed to staff those beds in each year since 1999. [89396]

Andy Burnham: The data requested are not centrally collected. It is for local commissioners and providers of critical care to determine, in the light of their case mix and anticipated elective and emergency work load, the appropriate level of investment in intensive and high dependency equipment and staff.

Medical Innovations

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding she has given to research and development companies in respect of medical innovations since 1999. [89375]

Andy Burnham: The Department's health technology devices programme was launched in 2002. The cost of the research projects it supports are shared equally between Government and our industrial partners. The programme has to date funded some 25 research projects at a cost of £2.3 million. £834,000 of this total has been paid to industrial partners.

Midwife-led Maternity Units

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how she will respond to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's concerns about midwife-led maternity units. [89351]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) consulted on its draft clinical guideline on intrapartum care between 22 June and 29 August 2006 and the Department, as a registered stakeholder, submitted comments as part of that exercise. Comments from registered stakeholders will be considered by the guideline developers and posted on the NICE website after the final guideline is published.

We want to ensure that women have as many choices as possible, while minimising any known risk to either themselves or their baby, and continue to expect midwifery-led births to be a realistic option for all women with uncomplicated pregnancies. The choices offered should fall within the safety net of an emergency network that is readily available, should the need arise.

Neurological Conditions

Mr. Baron: (1) To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to encourage the recruitment of (a) consultant neurologists, (b) specialist nurses and (c) other staff required to implement the national service framework for long-term neurological conditions; [90046]

(2) To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to develop joint working on the implementation of the National Service Framework for Long Term Neurological Conditions and the Long Term Conditions Strategy; and if she will make a statement; [90047]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The role of primary care trusts (PCT) to work jointly with local authorities, and other
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local partners, to develop and deliver local area agreements (LAAs) for their area has been set out in successive Government guidance on national health service local delivery plans and in correspondence to strategic health authorities.

LAAs have proved an important catalyst for improved partnership working. Many of the pilot areas have reported a step change in effective partnership and cross-agency planning and working, particularly between the PCT and the local authority in the way services are commissioned. This has contributed to strong performance in outcomes, including implementation of the national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions and the long-term conditions strategy as detailed in “Supporting People with Long-term Conditions”.

Local employers are responsible for recruiting and retaining the health and social care workforce they need to provide local services. The national strategies and tools are already in place to support trusts to recruit and retain staff, promote training and development and redesign their workforces to implement the NSF over the 10-year timescale.

NHS Isolation Facilities

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS hospital trusts have undertaken a risk assessment of their isolation facilities in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. [89865]

Andy Burnham: The Department has issued Health Service Circular 2000/02, “The Management and Control of Hospital Infection”, which requires national health service hospital trusts to undertake a risk assessment to determine appropriate provision of isolation facilities within each trust.

The information on how many trusts undertake a risk assessment of their isolation facilities is not collected centrally.


Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) number and (b) cost to the NHS was of (i) temporary and (ii) agency nurses in each year since 1995, broken down by NHS primary care trust area. [89361]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The number of temporary and agency nurses, broken down by primary care trust area, is not held centrally by the Department.

However, expenditure data are available from 1997-98, as are details of the number of whole time equivalent bank nurses from 2001. This information has been placed on the Library.

R and D Funding

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many companies in receipt of research and development funding from the NHS Executive have had their innovations piloted by NHS boards since 1999. [89376]

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Andy Burnham: None.

Reneuron Group

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contracts the Department has entered into with Reneuron Group plc since 1 January 2005. [92256]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 9 October 2006]: The Research and Development Directorate of the Department has not issued any contracts with Reneuron Group plc.

South West SHA

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total financial reserve is for the south west strategic health authority; if she will use the reserve to absorb overspending by health trusts in Gloucestershire; and what guidelines she has issued on this matter. [90171]

Andy Burnham: The Department published “The NHS in England: The operating framework for 2006-07” on 26 January 2006. This document, addressed to all national health service chief executives, sets out the specific business and financial arrangements for the NHS for 2006-07.

In 2006-07, strategic health authorities (SHAs) will take the lead locally in developing and implementing a service and financial strategy for managing the financial position within their locality. This will include creating local reserves. The size of the reserves and any contribution from each primary care trust (PCT) will vary according to local circumstances, but the underlying principle will be fairness. We expect SHAs to maintain the integrity of the allocations system with PCTs entitled to repayment of any contributions over a reasonable period not normally exceeding the three-year allocation cycle.

Sudden Death Syndrome

Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding the Department has made available for research into sudden death syndrome in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [89643]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has not made any funding available for research into sudden death syndrome in each of the last five years. The main agency through which the Government supports medical and clinical research is the medical research council (MRC). The MRC is funding research relating to arrhythmia, which may help further understanding of this condition.

Waiting Lists

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of cancer patients have been waiting longer than four weeks for radiotherapy. [89358]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Data on waiting times for radiotherapy are not collected centrally. The national health service cancer plan set out maximum waiting time targets for cancer treatment which may include radiotherapy where this is given as a first definitive treatment. Since December 2005 there has been a maximum two month (62 day) wait from urgent referral by a GP to start of treatment, and a maximum one-month (31 day) wait from diagnosis to first treatment for all cancers. Over 99 per cent., of patients currently receive their first treatment within 31 days of diagnosis, and 94.5 per cent., of patients receive their first treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral.

To tackle radiotherapy waiting times we are increasing the numbers of therapy radiographers in post and in training, making better use of existing staff, making unprecedented investment in new radiotherapy equipment, and streamlining the patient journey. Professor Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, is also currently working with Royal Colleges, professional bodies, cancer networks and trusts through the national radiotherapy advisory group (NRAG) who are looking into radiotherapy provision and will be reporting in the autumn on recommendations for the future.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were on NHS waiting lists per 100,000 population in each year since 1997. [92034]

Andy Burnham: The information requested is shown in the table.

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