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Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time employees are employed at the National Blood Service Centre at Barrack Road, Newcastle upon Tyne; and what plans she has for the centre. 
Caroline Flint: NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), of which the National Blood Service (NBS) is an operating division, is currently developing a strategic plan. This will address how NHSBT must adapt to the challenges it faces in a rapidly changing health service and to continue to deliver the high quality services that patients need. This strategy is due to be presented to the board later this year, and therefore no decisions have been made yet.
However, one of the draft proposals is for the NBS to consolidate testing and processing into three main centres. These draft proposals will not impact upon the service to hospitals and there are no proposals to close any blood donation sessions. The NBS will continue to provide critical services to hospitals (such as continuing to have a network of local blood banks to meet orders for blood) and is looking to broaden the choice of places where people can donate.
Andy Burnham [holding answer 23 October 2006]: Robust emergency re-admissions data for the last three years are not available in the form requested. The Healthcare Commission has published information broken down by trust as part of annual star ratings assessments, which is available on its website at:
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will change the remit and scope of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence investigations to allow it to take into account the wider benefits to families of patients and society that can arise from drug treatments. 
Andy Burnham [holding answer 18 October 2006]: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) already takes factors such as wider benefits to patients families and society into account where it is appropriate to do so. For example, NICEs economic modelling on its work for the appraisal of drugs for Alzheimers disease has included an assessment of the impact of benefits accruing to carers.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 October to question reference 90232, how many and what percentage of oxygen deliveries have been incomplete since the introduction of the new contract, broken down by trust. 
Andy Burnham: The Department receives reports from all suppliers on the overall number of failed deliveries to track supplier progress by home oxygen service region. These data show evidence of continuing improvement in service delivery to the required response times.
However, the Department does not collect or hold centrally information on failed deliveries in the form requested. Suppliers are required to provide performance data on meeting delivery times directly to primary care trusts, which have responsibility for the day-to-day local management of this service.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints her Department has received in 2006 about the oxygen supply service run by (a) Air Products, (b) BOC and (c) community pharmacists. 
Andy Burnham: From 1 January to 12 October 2006, the Department received 222 letters about the home oxygen service. Of these, 88 mentioned Air Products, 40 mentioned BOC Gases and 94 mentioned community pharmacy. Not all the correspondence relating to these service providers are complaints about the service provided to patients and many of these letters refer to one or more service providers.
However, problems emerged in the delivery of this service in the early days of managing the transfer of patients receiving a cylinder service from community pharmacies to new suppliers such as Air Products and BOC. We have been working closely with the NHS, including community pharmacists, and all new suppliers to address these problems. New suppliers are required to provide primary care trusts with regular data on the number of complaints as part of performance management of this service contract. The Department also receives high-level complaints data from suppliers as part of monitoring the implementation of these service changes. These data demonstrate improved action by new suppliers to reduce the numbers of complaints received.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff are employed under the auspices of partnerships for health and at what cost to the public purse; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: Partnerships for health is a joint venture company established to deliver the national health service (NHS) local improvement finance trust initiative on behalf of the Department. It currently directly employs nine staff, none of whom are direct charges to the public purse. It also funds the cost of one secondee from the NHS.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on private sector consultants working under contract to Partnerships UK in each fiscal year since 2001; and if she will make a statement. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of how the move to payment by results will affect the commissioning and provision of specialised services for those with long-term conditions; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what progress has been made with the implementation of the 11 quality requirements published in the National Service Framework for Long-term (Neurological) Conditions in March 2005; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what advice she has given to (a) local authority social services and (b) NHS trusts on the implementation of the National Service Framework for Long-term (Neurological) Conditions; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Since publication of the national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions, the Department has co-ordinated a range of activity to help local authority social care organisations and national health service bodies take forward implementation of the NSF.
working with key NHS, social care, voluntary and independent sector stakeholders, as well as service users and carers, to identify and address key issues in neurological services and the stakeholders role in implementation;
ensuring that other key delivery programmes, most especially the White Paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say and the long-term conditions strategy help deliver key NSF objectives; and
working with the care services improvement partnership to promote implementation of the NSF through a co-ordinated work programme, including regional workshops, a web-based getting started pack and self-assessment tool for services.
research studies commissioned as part of a national research initiative to underpin implementation of the NSF, to provide baseline data needed to measure the subsequent impact of the NSF;
work to develop a national minimum dataset for long-term neurological conditions; and
implementation of clinical indicators developed as part of the better metrics programme.
The effect of payment by results (PbR) on specialised services for people with long-term conditions will vary. Some specialised services, such as AIDS/HIV anti-retrovirals, are not included in PbR and do not have a national tariff. Others, such as treatment for epilepsy, have a national tariff. We are always seeking to refine PbR so it provides fair reimbursement for specialist activity. To achieve this we regularly solicit feedback from the NHS and other stakeholders, including through an annual questionnaire.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total capital value is of each private finance initiative scheme overseen by her Department which has reached financial close, broken down by scheme; and, for each such scheme, (a) over what period repayments will take place and (b) what the total cost of repayment will be. 
Andy Burnham: The table which has been placed in the Library gives details of private finance initiative schemes which have reached financial close including capital value, unitary payments and period of concession.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information on the number of premature births between 1979 and 1988 is not collected centrally. Information on the number of pre-term births in each year since 1989 is shown in the following table.
|Number of pre-term deliveries and as a proportion of all deliveries, NHS hospitals, England, 1989-2004, type of episode: (2) Delivery episode and (5) Other delivery event|
|Deliveries less than 37 weeks gestation length||Total deliveries||Deliveries less than 37 weeks gestation length as a percentage of all deliveries|
1. There are a large proportion of deliveries with unknown gestation length, therefore these figures should be interpreted with caution as the percentage of unknowns vary from 23 per cent. to 50 per cent. from year to year.
2. The term premature is no longer in use. Births completed before 37 weeks of gestation are defined as pre-term.
Finished consultant episode (FCE):
An FCE is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Please note that the figures do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the year.
Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by over 300 national health service trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England. The information centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data via HES processes. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain.
HES, The Information Centre for health and social care
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the processes for the appointment of medical practitioners within the prison service; what guidance is provided concerning the appointment and use of locums; what assessment she has made of the use of locums in the provision of prison healthcare services; and what funding is available to provide temporary cover for medical services in prisons. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Primary care trusts (PCTs) commission health and medical services for prisons to standards and equivalent in quality and range to that available in the wider national health service (NHS). Mainstream NHS processes therefore apply to the recruitment of medical staff and locum staff in prisons.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government are committed to providing a health service to prisoners that is equivalent in quality and range to that in the wider community. Primary care trusts (PCTs) which host prisons became responsible for commissioning services, including pharmacy, to meet the healthcare needs of prisoners in April 2006.
In June 2003, A Pharmacy Service for Prisoners, published by HM Prison Service and the Department, made a number of recommendations for the development of more patient-focused, primary care-based pharmacy services based on identified need, which support and promote self-care. Regional pharmacy leads were appointed to oversee baseline assessments and action plans for modernising pharmacy services in each establishment and considerable progress to meeting the recommendations of this report has already been made.
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