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Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS operations were cancelled in (a) Suffolk, (b) Bedfordshire, (c) Cambridgeshire, (d) Essex, (e) Hertfordshire and (f) Norfolk in each year since 1997. 
Andy Burnham: Information is not held in the format requested. The Department collects data on the number of operations cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons. The table shows the latest data available for the period April to June 2006, as published on 25 August 2006, for the number of operations cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons for acute trusts in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, Essex and Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire areas. Information prior to 2001 is not available broken down by acute trust.
|Last minute cancelled operations for non-clinical reasons, national health service organisations in England, 2001-02 to 2005-06|
Department of Health dataset QMCO
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether headcount reductions as a result of staff transfers from the NHS Logistics Authority and NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency to the private sector will be included in the efficiency targets set for her Department by the Gershon Review. 
Andy Burnham: Headcount reductions as a result of staff transfers from the NHS Logistics Authority and NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency to the private sector will not be included in the efficiency targets set for the Department by the Gershon Review.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health authorities have announced reductions in their training budgets; and what the (a) percentage reduction and (b) cash amount of the reduction is in each case. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 19 October 2006]: Strategic health authorities are still in the process of finalising determining their training budgets but some reductions in funding for training compared with the increased budgets of 2006-07 are inevitable.
Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence technology guidance on drugs and technologies automatically ceases if the guidance is subsumed into clinical guidelines; 
(2) whether National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence technology guidance retains statutory force until it is subsumed into guidelines; and at which point in the process of subsumation the statutory force of such guidance ceases. 
Andy Burnham: When a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence technology appraisal is updated within a clinical guideline, the original technology appraisal will be withdrawn when the finished clinical guideline is published. The statutory direction that applies to the funding of technology appraisals applies until a technology appraisal is withdrawn.
Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she made of the extent to which the submissions which the Department of Health has put to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence about the Alzheimer's drugs appraisal have been addressed. 
Andy Burnham: Responses to consultations from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are published on NICE's website. This includes the Department's responses to the two consultations on the appraisal of drugs for Alzheimer's disease together with the appraisal committees comments. I am confident that the appraisal committee has given appropriate consideration to all the responses it received.
Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether primary care trusts may refuse funding for a treatment based on an appraisal consultation document from a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence technology appraisal. 
Andy Burnham: An appraisal consultation document from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) does not constitute NICE's final guidance to the national health service. In the absence of NICE guidance the NHS is expected to take into account available evidence when deciding whether or not to fund a treatment.
Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence on drugs is mandatory; and for what reason such guidance on devices is non-mandatory. 
Andy Burnham: No such distinction exists. Technology appraisal guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) may make recommendations on the use of new and existing medicines, medical devices, such as hearing aids and inhalers, diagnostic techniques, surgical procedures, or health promotion activities.
There is a statutory direction that requires the national health service to provide funding within three months from the date of publication of all NICE technology appraisal guidance regardless of whether it relates to drugs or devices.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The national health service funds and supports pre-registration nursing degree and diploma courses in the higher education sector. Access to nursing courses are usually run by further education colleges. These courses are not generally funded through the NHS. It is the further education colleges responsibility to determine whether a prospective student has the correct immigration status to enable them to apply for a course in line with Home Office requirements.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role local involvement networks will have; and in what ways the role of local involvement networks are intended to be different to that of patient and public involvement forums. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 24 October 2006]: The Government believe that people have a range of opportunities for having real influence over their health and social care services. A stronger local voice, copies of which are available in the Library, set out plans for developing local involvement networks (LINks), which would be set up to gather the views and experiences of people on their health and social care services.
One of the fundamental strengths of LINks is that they will relate to both health and social care, providing a joined-up way of considering the entire patient journey. They are therefore not limited to the remit of patient forums, which focused solely on health issues. In addition, the intention is that LINks should have a flexible structure so that they can best adapt to local circumstances.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 August to question 13422, if she will set out each allocation or target share of each of the four elements used to set primary care trusts actual allocations for each primary care trust based on both present and future restructured boundaries. 
Andy Burnham: 2006-07 allocations were made to 303 primary care trusts (PCTs). The number of PCTs was reduced from 303 to 152 on 1 October 2006. Where the new PCT was a merger of two or more former PCTs, the allocations for the new PCTs are the sum of allocations for the former PCTs. In the few places where former PCTs divided between two or more new PCTs, the weighted capitation targets and distances from targets are estimated for the new PCTs.
Information on the four elements used to set 2006-07 allocations for the 303 PCTs is shown in section 4, tables 4.1 and 4.2 of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 PCT
revenue resource limits exposition book. This is available in the Library and at www.dh.gov.uk/allocations.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many chief executive posts for the reconfigured primary care trusts from October 2006 are (a) vacant and (b) filled by a temporary position. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Based on information from all strategic health authorities (SHAs), at 1 October 2006 there were seven vacant chief executive posts in reconfigured primary care trusts (PCTs). Each of these posts has been filled by an interim appointment. SHAs will conduct their own recruitment exercises to fill these posts substantively. In addition, at 1 October 2006, seven substantive appointees to reconfigured PCTs had still to take up post, with interim chief executives appointed to these PCTs on a temporary basis.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the basis was for the recent statement by the chief executive of the NHS that pregnant women are best served by large consultant-led services; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Any decisions about reconfiguration of services should be made at a local level. Our clear commitment is that by 2009, all women will have choice over where and how they have their baby, and this should include offering services in a range of settings, including hospitals, midwifery-led units and at home. The choices offered to women should fall within the safety net of an emergency network that is readily available, should the need arise.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which hospitals have been earmarked to take patients who would previously have been treated at Ravenscourt Park hospitals orthopaedic unit. 
Most patients who would previously have been treated at Ravenscourt Park hospital will receive treatment at Charing Cross, St. Marys, Northwick Park and West Middlesex hospitals. These hospitals initially referred patients to Ravenscourt Park hospital. From January 2006 patients in England have been able to expect their general practitioners to offer
them choice from four or more national health service trusts or other service providers commissioned by their primary care trusts, so people formerly referred to Ravenscourt Park could have gone to other places as well.
I understand that the decision to close Ravenscourt Park hospital was taken by the Hammersmith hospitals national health service trust after detailed financial and predicted patient analysis. Having successfully reduced waits for orthopaedic services in north west London the extra capacity offered by Ravenscourt Park hospital is no longer required. Improved efficiency and reduced waiting lists now mean that north west London has more capacity than it needs to achieve the 18-week target and to provide patients with a range of choice over where they are treated.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) headcount and (b) full-time equivalent school nurses have been employed in the NHS since 2003, broken down by the primary care trust area in which they were employed. 
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps she is taking to encourage NHS trusts to sign up for the New Start training programme relating to sentinel node biopsy; 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department contributed £150,000 towards the development of the sentinel node biopsy training programme run by the Raven Department at the Royal College of Surgeons in 2004. Data are not collected centrally on the number of national health service (NHS) trusts signed up to undertake the programme, which ones are carrying out the procedure or the number of procedures undertaken by the NHS. It is for cancer networks to work in partnership with strategic health authorities and postgraduate deaneries to put in place a sustainable process to assess, plan and review their workforce needs and the education and training of all staff linked to local and national priorities for cancer including the implementation of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence improving outcomes guidance on breast cancer.
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