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17 Oct 2006 : Column 1171W—continued


Hospitals (Helicopter Access)

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which hospitals have a helicopter landing pad available for use by air ambulances; and what steps are being taken to increase the number of hospitals with that facility. [94322]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not collect these data centrally. Decisions on whether to install or enhance landing facilities for helicopters are a matter for individual national health service trusts.

Lymphogranuloma Venereum

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the incidence of lymphogranuloma venereum was in the past four years, broken down by primary care trust area. [90235]

Caroline Flint: Incidence of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is rare but since 2003 a series of outbreaks across Europe have been reported. In response, in October 2004 the Health Protection Agency launched an initiative to improve LGV surveillance and awareness in the United Kingdom.

To date, there have been a total of 331 cases in England. These have been reported by genitourinary clinic of attendance and not primary care trust of residence, as this data is not collected centrally.


17 Oct 2006 : Column 1172W
Incidence of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), by primary care trusts (PCT) in England, 2004-05
Primary care trust 2004 rates 2005 rates

Brighton and Hove City

(1)

14.69

Camden

11.97

24.88

City and Hackney

(1)

2.78

Kensington and Chelsea

(1)

26.08

Lambeth

4.53

9.32

Southwark

(1)

5.11

Tower Hamlets

(1)

2.39

Westminster

(1)

5.65

(1 )Fewer than five cases of LGV seen annually.
Note: 1. Incidence rate is per 100,000 population. 2. Rates are by PCT areas of the GUM clinic of attendance. Source: Enhanced surveillance of LGV, ONS mid-year population estimates.

Incidence of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), by strategic health authority (SHA) in England, 2004-05
Strategic health authority 2004 rates 2005 rates

North West London

(1)

3.49

North Central London

1.14

4.40

North East London

(1)

0.78

South East London

0.33

2.58

South West London

(1)

0.45

Greater Manchester

(1)

0.35

Surrey and Sussex

(1)

1.47

(1 )Fewer than five cases of LGV seen annually.
Note: 1. Incidence rate is per 100,000 population. 2. Rates are by SHA areas of the GUM clinic of attendance. Source: Enhanced surveillance of LGV, ONS mid-year population estimates.

Myalgic Encephalopathy

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures the Government are undertaking to ensure that adequate research is undertaken into the (a) causes and (b) treatment of myalgic encephalopathy. [92095]

Andy Burnham: The main agency through which the Government supports medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology.

The MRC does not normally allocate funds to particular topics; research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. When appropriate, high quality research in particular areas of strategic importance may be given priority in competition for funds, but research excellence and importance to health continues to be the primary considerations in funding decisions.

The MRC produced a research strategy on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) in May 2003. The purpose of the strategy is to enable researchers to develop research proposals on all aspects of this illness. It was developed by an independent research advisory group in response to a request from the Chief Medical Officer, and was informed by contributions from patients, carers, charities, patient groups, researchers and clinicians via a consultation exercise.

NHS Staff Pay Rises

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the proportion of the £4.6 billion allocated to the NHS in 2006-07 which will be spent on pay rises for staff. [89304]


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Ms Rosie Winterton: The amount of funding to be allocated to the national health service in 2006-07 and 2007-08 is shown in the table.

£ billion
2006-07 2007-08

Total primary care trust allocations

64.3

70.4

Increase on previous year

5.4

6.0


In 2006-07 out of the additional £5.4 billion allocation to the NHS, it is estimated that approximately 31 per cent. will be spent on pay rises.

Nurses

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations her Department has received on specialist nurse recruitment and retention in the NHS; and if she will make a statement. [92265]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Ministers and officials regularly receive correspondence about specialist nurses. There have also been two parliamentary questions.

It is for local managers to determine skill mix within the nursing work force including specialist nurses. The Government have supported the development of a range of specialist roles within nursing, and it is for local trusts to decide how to use those skills appropriately.

Patient Transport Services

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact on patient safety of Parkwood Healthcare providing non-emergency patient transport services to the University of North Staffordshire; and if she will make a statement. [92379]

Andy Burnham: This is a local matter which is being resolved by the University Hospital North Staffordshire Trust and other local national health service organisations.

The trust states that although it recognises there have been some difficulties in the initial stages of the new contract with Parkwood Healthcare, these are being resolved and there have been significant improvements over recent weeks. I am informed that the implementation of weekly monitoring of the new arrangements continues.

Patients Forums

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her Department’s policy is on responding to requests for information from patients’ forums. [92480]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department’s policy in responding to requests for information from patient forums is in accordance with the service and communication guidelines for dealing with all correspondence; that is, to respond to correspondence within 20 working days.


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Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 8 February 2006, Official Report, columns 1325W-27W, on the private finance initiative, what the reasons are for the differences between the capital values listed in the answer and those in her Department's press release of 18 August 2006, entitled “Go-ahead for Billion Pound-plus Wave of New NHS Hospitals”, for the schemes proposed by (a) the University Hospitals of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, (b) the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, (c) Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust, (d) Tameside and Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust, (e) Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust and (f) South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust. [91792]

Andy Burnham: The principal reason for any change to the capital values of the schemes at the University Hospitals of North Staffordshire National Health Service Trust, the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust, Tameside and Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust, Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust and the South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust was that the review of private finance initiative (PFI) schemes led the trusts concerned to reconsider how their schemes could best be structured in order to deliver services in the most cost-effective way and ensure their long-term viability. A key part of this work was an assessment of the capacity assumptions to ascertain if these were realistic and properly suited to the needs of the local health economy; and a review of the estate in terms of current and planned building stock to ensure optimal use.

In consequence all the schemes, with the exception of those at the Salford Royal NHS Trust and the Tameside and Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust, underwent structural changes, details of which have been published and are available locally.

All the figures quoted are on a like-for-like basis except those given in relation to Salford Royal NHS Trust, Tameside and Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. The difference between the capital values given for the schemes at Salford Royal NHS Trust, and Tameside and Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust is because the capital values given in the August press release were at 2004-05 prices, and those given in the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool Wavertree (Jane Kennedy) on the 8 February, Official Report, columns 1325-27W, were at final construction outturn prices.

The February figure for the scheme at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust was the public sector comparator cost at preferred bidder stage which equated to a PFI outturn cost of £761 million. In addition building cost inflation and retail price index increases for the two years slippage in forecast financial close date took the cost to £911 million prior to the review commencing.

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish the results of the checks made on the six hospital private finance initiative schemes announced on 19 August to ensure that each scheme offers value for money and is locally affordable. [91949]


17 Oct 2006 : Column 1175W

Andy Burnham: The six schemes that were announced on 19 August had been subjected to an in-depth review to ensure that they were configured in the most financially cost effective way possible; and that they were financially sustainable over the long-term. The review assessed each scheme on an individual basis and considered their financial viability, from the perspective both of their size and the financial position of the trusts concerned. In addition the review also focused on the capacity assumptions made by each trust in order to ascertain if these were realistic and properly suited to the needs of the local health economy.

Where it was felt that a scheme was neither configured in the most cost effective way or financially sustainable in the long-term, changes to the scheme that would improve its affordability and cost-effectiveness were discussed and worked through with the trust. Information on these changes has been published and is available locally from the trusts concerned. Before decisions were approved by Ministers all the local health economies confirmed that the schemes remained value for money and affordable.

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the termination costs were before and after the refinancing of private finance initiative hospitals. [91952]

Andy Burnham: The compensation payable to the contractor on termination in a private finance initiative contract varies from scheme to scheme both before and after a refinancing depending on the amount and term of the senior debt and the reason for the termination. The amount payable per year under each termination scenario also differs. In the health sector there have been refinancings for the PFI schemes at:

Details on each refinancing are available locally.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in the market testing of private finance initiative projects contracted by NHS trusts. [92390]

Andy Burnham: All private finance initiative (PFI) contracts in England contain a clause which requires all ‘soft’ facilities management services, such as catering, cleaning, laundry services etc., to be market tested at regular intervals or explicitly identifies another means of ensuring that value for money is maintained throughout the life of the contract; this normally involves a benchmarking exercise. A joint Department of Health and private sector best practice guidance document was issued in July this year to assist trusts in conducting these value for money exercises.

No details are held centrally on the progress of these exercises at individual PFI schemes. To collect this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the progress of the
17 Oct 2006 : Column 1176W
Private Finance Initiative scheme at Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust; whether an advert for the scheme has been placed in the Official Journal of the European Union; and when she expects work to commence on site. [92392]

Andy Burnham: There are two private finance initiative schemes being taken forward at Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust.

The outline business case for a new surgical centre, capital cost approximately £80 million, is being developed and is expected to be submitted to the Department for approval later in the year. The scheme has not yet placed a tender notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). It is too early to estimate likely dates for financial close and start on site.

The full business case for the £18 million new cancer centre has received conditional approval from the local strategic health authority. The tender notice was placed in OJEU some time ago. Subject to resolving some final planning issues the scheme can proceed to financial close and start construction on site; this is expected in December.


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