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Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reasons the word consultation in paragraph 4 of page 3 of Annex B to her Departments road-testing guidance for payment by results in 2007-08 is in inverted commas; 
Andy Burnham: The word consultation in paragraph 4 of page 3 of Annex B to the Departments road-testing guidance for payment by results in 2007-08 is in inverted commas to indicate that the exercise was not conducted as a formal consultation as per the Code of Practice on Consultation issued by the Cabinet Office.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent representations Ministers or officials have made to (a) Pfizer and (b) Unichem on Pfizers decision to sell its products through a single distribution channel in the UK from early 2007; and if she will make a statement; 
Andy Burnham: Ministers have held no discussions with either Pfizer or Unichem. However, officials have met with both parties in order to secure the assurances provided that the new arrangements will provide an appropriate and continued supply of United Kingdom-sourced Pfizer products to pharmacists, hospitals and dispensing doctors.
This is a commercial matter for Pfizer. Pfizer have assured the Department that it will make every effort to ensure that these new arrangements will not result in any disruptions in the supply of its UK-sourced branded medicines to national health service patients nor any increase in costs. The Department will monitor these new arrangements with a view to taking corrective action if appropriate.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the cost to her Department of (a) the fitness for purpose review, (b) the assessment centres attended by chief executives of reconfiguring primary care trusts and (c) the assessment of primary care trusts for waves (i) 1 and 2 and (ii) 3a and 3b, broken down by primary care trust. 
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many product assessments the Rapid Review Panel has undertaken since December 2003; how many assessed products were recommended to the Department of Health for use in the NHS; how many products were recommended for use by the NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency; and how many products in use by the NHS were recommended by the panel. 
Andy Burnham: To date 168 products have been reviewed by the rapid review panel (RRP) and their recommendations are on the Health Protection Agencys website. Of these, three products have received a recommendation 1 which means that basic research and development, validation and recent in use evaluations have shown benefits that should be available to national health service bodies to include as appropriate in their cleaning, hygiene or infection control protocols. A further 18 products have received a recommendation 2 which means that basic research and development has been completed and the product may have potential value and in use evaluations/trials are now needed in an NHS clinical setting and this will be taken forward by the companies.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance her Department has issued to health authorities on criteria to be applied when considering cases involving spousal liability for (a) residential care in care homes and (b) sheltered housing for the elderly. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The National Assistance Act 1948 sets out the framework within which local authorities assess what people can afford to contribute to the cost of care in a care home. The charging regulations do not apply to sheltered accommodation.
Under sections 42 and 43 of the Act, where a person goes into residential care and receives assistance from a local authority in meeting the cost of that care, the local authority has discretionary powers to ask the persons liable relatives, in effective their spouse, to make payments towards the costs incurred by the state.
The liable relatives rule is now widely regarded as anachronistic and we intend to repeal it at the earliest opportunity. Additional funding has been provided to meet the cost to authorities of repealing the rule. In the interim, until the rule is repealed, guidance has been issued to local authorities strongly encouraging them to exercise their discretion in favour of not applying the rule.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate she has made of the number of speech and language therapy graduates who completed training in each of the last three years; 
The baseline assessment conducted by KPMG categorised the organisations requiring turnaround intervention from category one (urgent) to category four (under control). This exercise concluded in February 2006.
Several months into the programme, the national programme office for turnaround revisited the composition of the cohort in consultation with the strategic health authority, chief executives/finance directors/turnaround directors. The organisations were re-categorised as high priority and priority.
Andy Burnham: The median waiting times for a first out-patient appointment following General Practitioner referral for the specialties general and chemical pathology and radiology are shown in the table.
|Median waiting times from GP referral to 1( st) out-patient attendance|
|Median wait (weeks)|
|Period ending September:||General and chemical pathology||Radiology|
QM08Rs returns from Primary Care Trusts
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors were taken into account when the decision was made not to grant funding for the Welwyn Hatfield Hospital project; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: This is a local issue for the national health service. I understand the decision not to pursue the proposals for a new PFI Hospital at Welwyn Hatfield was taken by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust in consultation with the Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust and NHS East of England Strategic Health Authority when they met on 8 November.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account was taken of trusts obligations in time of major incidents or pandemics when considering the proposed closures of acute services by West Hertfordshire Acute Hospital Trust. 
In order to gauge progress PCTs and NHS trusts in England have been required to carry out self-audits of their influenza pandemic plans. SHAs were asked to sign off these self-assessments and submit a sample covering the range of trusts in their area to provide a national picture. This sample confirmed that significant progress has been made in strengthening health arrangements, with most organisations considering that they have resilient and sustainable contingency measures in place.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contingency planning her Department has made for the East of England Ambulance Trust when accident and emergency departments outside Hertfordshire are on medical alert and cannot accept patients. 
Caroline Flint: It is expected that local services, including East of England Ambulance Trust should agree local protocols for dealing with issues of capacity. Development of trust procedures should involve discussions with neighbouring accident and emergency departments, local ambulance services and the strategic health authority.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the East of England Ambulance Trust gave assurances to the Board of West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust to provide transport for all category A targets for patients after the closure of the accident and emergency department at Hemel Hempstead hospital; and what effect on patients' travel time is expected after the closure. 
Caroline Flint: The decision about the location of accident and emergency departments and any assurances that the Board of West Hertfordshire Hospital National Health Service Trust may have received from the East of England Ambulance Trust is a local matter. The hon. Member may wish to contact Ms Maria Ball, Chair of East of England Ambulance Trust, at:
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many operational paramedics are able to provide advanced paediatric airway management in the area served by West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) how many paramedics on each shift on average are trained and available to undertake pre-hospital thrombolysis in the area served by West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors are taken into account when deciding whether to make (a) macugen and (b) lucentis available for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence started its review of Macugen and Lucentis as a treatment for the wet form of AMD on 1 August 2006 and the final guidance is expected in October 2007. NICE will consider the clinical and cost effectiveness of Macugen and Lucentis for the classic and non classic forms of wet AMD and will include advice on where Macugen and Lucentis may be effective.
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