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Ms Rosie Winterton: The national health service is prepared to deal with a range of incidents and has been responding effectively to major incidents. Specifically, well developed plans and preparations are in place to handle chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incidents, however caused. The Department has issued extensive additional guidance to the NHS on handling pandemic influenza, infectious diseases, anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularaemia, botulism and CBRN release. Contingency plans are multi-agency, cross Government and are regularly tested, reviewed and updated in the light of changing domestic and international circumstances.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which of the measures outlined in the UK pandemic contingency measures plan her Department has taken to prevent a pandemic of the H5N1 avian influenza virus, in terms of (a) human vaccine supplies delivered as stockpile, (b) non-pharmaceutical protection measures such as masks, clothing and body bags in the event of a pandemic and (c) the award of pharmaceutical research contracts to produce human vaccine once the strain causing the pandemic is identified. 
We are currently considering whether we should centrally procure and stockpile FFP3 respirators and facemasks for health professionals, and a decision will be reached as soon as possible. We are also considering whether to stockpile other non-pharmaceutical protection measures.
As regards body bags, the World Health Organization and the Health Protection Agency have advised that they will not normally be necessary. Therefore, the United Kingdom influenza pandemic contingency plan does not include any proposal to procure a central stockpile of these.
In October 2005, the Chief Medical Officer announced that we are inviting manufacturers to tender for a contract to supply pandemic vaccine to the UK population once the pandemic emerges and the viral strain is identified. The tendering process for these contracts is ongoing.
Andy Burnham: We published the NHS financial performance for the second quarter of 2006-07, on the 9 November 2006, which provides details of the forecast year end position reported by national health service organisations.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many drugs have been (a) approved, (b) partially approved and (c) rejected for prescribing on the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence since its inception. 
Andy Burnham: Since the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was established in 1999, it has completed 111 technology appraisals. Of the 77 appraisals of pharmaceuticals, NICE has approved 25 drugs, partially approved 49 drugs, and rejected one drug. It has also recommended further research on two drugs.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress is being made on the implementation of the proposals in the Foster Review for the regulation of non-medical professions; and what steps she has taken following responses to consultation on the complaints procedures for misconduct; 
(5) what she estimates the effect on the number of cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to be if nurses and hospital staff were not allowed to leave their places of work wearing their uniforms; 
(6) what the terms of reference are for her Departments review of uniform policy in the NHS; when the review is expected to be completed; who the members of the review team are; what their qualifications are; and if she will make a statement. 
Earlier this year, the Departments working group on uniforms commissioned a literature review to examine the possible risks of uniforms in respect of healthcare associated infections. The reviewers concluded that there was no evidence that uniforms posed a significant risk. The Department has also commissioned research into laundering of uniforms. This work is still ongoing. The results will inform the recommendations of the working group.
The available evidence suggests that although it is possible to isolate micro-organisms from uniforms, many of these will be the wearer's own skin flora, and good hygiene practice, including the appropriate use of aprons and gloves, will minimise transmission.
To develop a national policy statement on the wearing of uniforms in respect of professional appearance and patient confidence, healthcare associated infection and changing facilities; and
To refresh HSG (95)18 on laundry and linen management, including guidance on temperatures for washing uniforms In keeping with the principles of devolved authority, the output will be good practice guidance, and will not be prescriptive.
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David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the number of additional (a) consultant paediatricians and (b) staff grade paediatricians required to be recruited to the NHS in each of the five financial years commencing with 2007-08. 
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the additional cost to primary care trusts of extending patient transport services to procedures which were traditionally provided in a hospital but which are now provided in a community setting as stated in her Department's document Eligibility criteria for Patient Transport Services published on 17th November; and for what reasons she has decided not to introduce uniform, national eligibility criteria for access to patient transport services. 
The draft guidance currently under consultation sets out broad, national eligibility criteria, also allows local PCTs the flexibility to better design services around the need of the patient. PCTs may choose to develop more detailed guidance to aid local implementation.
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