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7 Nov 2006 : Column 1267W—continued

Cancelled Operations

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS operations were cancelled in Lancashire due to (a) administrative errors, (b) lack of beds, (c) outbreaks of MRSA or other infections, (d) the lack of correct or clean equipment and (e) missing notes in each year since 1997. [96345]

Andy Burnham: The information is not available in the format requested. Figures for last minute cancellations of operations for non-clinical reasons in the former Lancashire and Cumbria strategic health authority area are set out in the following table.

Number of cancellations









Source: Department of Health dataset QMCO

Capability Review

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she plans to publish the results of her Department's capability review, referred to in the Prime Minister's letter to her dated 15 May 2006. [92378]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The planning for the capability review is still in its early stages. The current provisional expectation is that the report for the Department of Health will be published in the summer of 2007.

Care Homes

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance she has issued to ensure that those resident in hospitals, nursing homes and residential homes managed by independent or voluntary sector organisations are able to gain access to primary care services where such services are not being provided by general practitioners. [93380]

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Caroline Flint: None—such people have the same entitlement to register with a general practice as other citizens.

Climate Change

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the change in costs for the national health service arising as a result of climate change impacts over the next 10 years. [100125]

Caroline Flint: I refer the hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Morley and Rothwell (Colin Challen) on 21 June 2006, Official Report, column 1803W.

Clinicenta Bid

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many bids were made for the development, construction and operation of the new surgical hubs and assessment and diagnostic centres in South London for which Clinicenta has been made preferred bidder; what consideration was given to an in-house NHS bid; and what the difference in cost was between the Clinicenta bid and an in-house NHS bid; [93467]

(2) what the cost is of the contract for the development, construction and operation of the new surgical hubs and assessment and diagnostic centres in South London for which Clinicenta has been made preferred bidder; and on what grounds Clinicenta was made the preferred bidder. [93468]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The South London scheme is part of the second phase of procurement of health services from the independent sector. The procurement is being conducted in compliance with European Union procurement law.

Interested parties responded to an advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Union and were sent a memorandum of information (MOI) and a pre-qualifying questionnaire (PQQ). From the response to the MOI and PQQ, four bidders were invited to negotiate and meet specific criteria including clinical services, workforce, information management and technology, contract management and finance. One of the four invitations to negotiate was issued to a national health service body/private sector joint venture and their bid was evaluated together with the other bids received. The same process of evaluation was undertaken for each bid. The difference in costs between the bids are commercially sensitive and cannot be disclosed.

Clinicenta were appointed preferred bidder as they were considered able to provide high quality medical services for NHS patients and provide best value for money.

Negotiations are ongoing and no contract has been signed. Information on the value of the contract is commercially sensitive and its disclosure would undermine the Department’s ability to obtain best value for money in negotiating this and other schemes.

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Clostridium Difficile

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Health what guidance her Department has givento (a) NHS hospitals, (b) nursing and care homes, (c) dentists, (d) ambulance trusts, (e) general practitioners, (f) other hospitals, (g) St. John’s Ambulance Service and (h) the British Red Cross on preventing Clostridium difficile; and if she will make a statement. [96648]

Andy Burnham: All those providing health care services need high standards of hygiene to prevent infections. Specific measures to control Clostridium difficile are restriction, where possible, of broad spectrum antibiotics, isolation of patients and enhanced environmental cleaning. All of these measures are most relevant to their providing in-patient services.

The following specific guidance on Clostridium difficile has been made available to national health service staff.

A joint professional letter from the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Nursing Officer went out to NHS trusts in December 2005 to remind them of the importance of this infection. This letter listed the key actions to control Clostridium difficile and highlighted the guidance available(1,2). The letter is available on the Department’s website at:

A high impact intervention on Clostridium difficile was added to our delivery programme “Saving lives: a delivery programme to reduce healthcare associated infections including MRSA” in June 2006. This tool will help to reduce infections. Although much of the current guidance is still extant we have asked the health protection agency to review the national guidance, this should be ready in the spring.

A simple guide to Clostridium difficile and the national Clostridium difficile standards group: Report to the Department of Health are also available on the Department’s website at:

Community Hospitals

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State forHealth which strategic health authorities had submitted bids for capital funding for community hospitals by 21 October; for which projects strategic health authorities asked for capital funding; in which primary care trust areas were community hospitals for which bids were received; how much was requested for each community hospital; when she expects capital funding to be made available to successful bidders; and if she will make a statement. [97793]

Andy Burnham: The Department has received bids for capital funding for community hospitals from
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North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, South West, South Central and London strategic health authorities (SHAs).

The Department is now assessing these bids in consultation with these strategic health authorities, and hopes to be able to provide further information by December.

The Department is distributing £750 million capital for new community hospitals and services over the next five years.

East of England SHA expects to submit a bid for capital funding by the end of the year, and the Department anticipates that South East Coast SHA will submit a bid in 2007-08.

Connected Care Pilot

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Connected Care pilot project in the Owton ward of the Hartlepool constituency; and if she will make a statement. [98935]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This is not a formal Department project. We will, however, be interested in the outcome of the pilot.

Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Department and its agencies are taking to limit the importation of counterfeit prescription drugs. [90657]

Andy Burnham [holding answer 11 September 2006]: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for dealing with counterfeit medicines in the United Kingdom (UK). Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for specifically tackling the importation of counterfeit medicines into the UK.

The MHRA operates a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting strategy which focuses on domestic and international collaboration with partners and relevant stakeholders to ensure that current safeguards work effectively and that vigilance against counterfeit medicines entering the legitimate UK supply chain is maintained. In the UK, the key stakeholders with whom regular meetings are held to identify ways to collectively deal with counterfeit medicines are HMRC, the police, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), the pharmaceutical industry and pharmaceutical trade associations.

HMRC tackles the importation of counterfeit medicines by using its powers to take enforcement action against goods that breach the import and export prohibitions on counterfeit, pirated or patent infringing intellectual property rights as set out in EC Council Regulation 1383/2003. HMRC has publicised these procedures in Public Notice No 34 “Intellectual Property Rights”, which can be viewed at leaflets and booklets.

HMRC targets counterfeit goods at import and export using profiles set on its central systems in response to information received from intellectual
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property right holders who have submitted an application to have their rights protected. HMRC detains any suspect consignments and provides the right holder with information that has been declared to HMRC, including details of the goods, importer/exporter and manufacturer. HMRC will seize any goods where the right holder confirms in a witness statement that the goods are counterfeit.

Where HMRC detects a consignment of medicines that it suspects is counterfeit, and there is no application from a right holder in place, HMRC will detain the goods and invite the right holder to lodge an application. If the right holder does so within three working days and subsequently confirms in a witness statement that the goods are counterfeit, HMRC will seize the goods.

Dairy Industry

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many inspections of UK milk and dairy products establishments were carried out by the Food Standards Agency in each year since 1997, broken down by region; and if she will make a statement; [96766]

(2) what recent estimate she has made of Government spending on the inspection of UK milk and dairy products establishments, broken down by region in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [96765]

Caroline Flint: I have assumed that the references to regulations relate to the food hygiene legislation applicable to milk and dairy products establishments. Beyond hygiene, milk and dairy products are, as with other foods, required to be compliant with general food law and legislation including labelling, contaminants, additives and composition. Information relating to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved administrations.

I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that between 1997 and 31 December 2005 the hygiene legislation under which milk and dairy products establishments were regulated in England was the Dairy Products (Hygiene) Regulations 1995 (as amended) and the Milk and Dairies (General) Regulations 1959 (as amended). On 1 January 2006, new and directly applicable EC food hygiene legislation came into effect which superseded this legislation (Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 and Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004).

The Dairy Hygiene Inspectorate (DHI) is part of the State Veterinary Service (an executive agency of DEFRA) and acts on behalf of the agency in administering and enforcing the hygiene legislation at registered milk production holdings prior to processing such as pasteurisation, bottling or the manufacture of dairy products. Local authorities enforce the regulations in establishments undertaking activities in relation to milk beyond the remit of the DHI and the remainder of the dairy industry.

The Agency has obtained information from the DHI relating to inspections of registered milk production holdings carried out in England during the period
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requested which is set out in the table. I am advised that information is not collected in such a way that allows it to be presented by region.

Inspections carried out by the Dairy Hygiene Inspectorate in England, 1996-97 to 2005-06
Number of inspections Dairy hygiene inspectorate costs (£) Number of final notices of intention to cancel registration issued









































(1) 2000-01 and 2001-02 figures are reduced due to the suspension of inspections during the foot and mouth outbreak. Source: Dairy Hygiene Inspectorate

Given the remit of the DHI, the final notices to which reference is made in the table will have been issued due to breaches of the hygiene legislation. The agency was advised that the DHI does not collect other information on breaches centrally.

Information on local authority food law enforcement, including breaches resulting in formal enforcement action, is collected by the agency under monitoring arrangements to satisfy European requirements. However, this does not provide the level of detail required for information on milk and dairy products nor does the agency collect information on the costs of these activities.

There are currently approximately 1,100 approved dairy products establishments in England which are required to be inspected in accordance with the statutory food law code of practice at a minimum frequency of six months.

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