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12 Dec 2006 : Column 1039W—continued

NHS Computer Systems

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she has made an assessment of the compatibility of the English and Welsh NHS computer systems. [106434]

Caroline Flint: The devolved administration in Wales has adopted different approaches to the development of IT support in the health service in Wales from those being delivered through the national programme to the national health service in England, based on its own functional requirements, administrative arrangements, and assessment of priorities. For example, Wales has a different approach to electronic booking of patient appointments, and a different policy on prescribing.

The opportunity was provided for the National Assembly for Wales to join the procurement exercise for England but, at the time, they chose not to do so, which is their right under devolved government arrangements. However, through the UK Information Management and Technology Forum, and the NHS Information Standards Board, national programme officials work closely with officials in the devolved administrations and the Northern Ireland Office to ensure common standards and interoperability of clinical information systems. Where the countries are following a common approach, there are opportunities for using the same systems.

NHS Health Trusts

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of appointees to NHS health trusts in each region (a) have declared political affiliations and (b) have declared that they are members of the (i) Labour, (ii) Liberal Democrat and (iii) Conservative parties. [106833]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has delegated the collection of information on political affiliation to the Appointments Commission and I have asked them to respond to the hon. Member's request.

NHS IT Programme

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost of the new NHS IT programme has been to date, broken down by (a) main budget heading and (b) type of recipient of funding. [106556]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is in the table.

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Cost of the national health service IT programme
Programme area Contractor Expenditure to 31 October 2006 (£ million)




N3 broadband network



Choose and book core contract

Atos Origin (SchlumbergerSema)


London LSP



North East LSP






Eastern LSP



Southern LSP





NHS Treatment Costs

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the cost to the NHS of providing (a) drugs and (b) other treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the last year for which figures are available. [107859]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 11 December 2006]: Each piece of guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) contains an estimate of the cost to the national health service (NHS) of its implementation. NICE’s estimate of the total cost of providing the treatments recommended in its technology appraisal guidance published in the period October 2005 to October 2006 was £214.34 million for drugs and £126.7 million for other treatments. The Department has made no separate estimate of these costs.

Omega 3

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effects of omega 3 supplements for children. [107728]

Caroline Flint: In July 2006 the Food Standards Agency published the results of a systematic review of the evidence on the effects of nutrition, diet and dietary change on children's learning and school performance.

The systematic review was unable to reach firm conclusions on the effect of diet on performance, including that related to omega 3 fish oil supplements. As such Government advice on this issue remains unchanged, recommending two portions of fish a week of which one should be oily.

Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures complainants should follow when complaining about a particular NHS consultation before complaining to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. [108397]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 11 December 2006]: National health service organisations have a statutory duty to consult patients and the public when proposing service changes.

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Any person affected by or likely to be affected by the action, omission or decision of an NHS body may make a complaint to that body under the NHS complaints procedure. The complainant would need to be able to demonstrate how they would be affected by that action, omission or decision. If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint at local level, the complainant may request the Healthcare Commission to consider the complaint. If still not satisfied, the complainant may request that the Health Service Commissioner consider the complaint.

Pseudamphistomum Truncatum

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what warning she has issued to general practitioners about the possibility of the spread of Pseudamphistomum truncatum to humans. [103871]

Caroline Flint: There are no plans to issue any warning to General Practitioners on this issue. Both the Department and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have reviewed the available evidence of risk to human health through the joint Human and Animal Infections Risk Surveillance Group, coordinated by the Health Protection Agency, and concluded that exposure to the metacercarial stage that is infectious to man is likely to be rare and confined to those who handle or consume the parasite in raw fish. Ongoing parasitic surveys of wild fish have revealed no evidence of P. truncata in any fish species in the UK.

Public Appointments

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which public appointments have been made by her Department to former Ministers who have served in the Government since May 1997. [105760]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has delegated responsibility for public appointments to the Appointments Commission. The commission does not collect the information requested.

Seasonal Influenza

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her latest estimate is of the proportion of patients in each of the groups whose health is deemed at risk from seasonal influenza who have received their seasonal influenza immunisation for the 2006-07 winter. [106133]

Caroline Flint: The percentage of people vaccinated in each clinical risk group as at the end of October 2006 is shown in table 1:

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Table 1: Flu vaccine uptake by end October 2006

Under 65 years of age and in a medical risk group

Chronic respiratory disease


Chronic heart disease


Chronic renal disease


Chronic liver disease






Those aged 65 and over


Source: Provisional national uptake data to the end of October have been collected by the Health Protection Agency. This data are collected on a monthly basis. The October figure is based on the response of 6,011 out of 8,475 GP practices in England. Weekly update data from “spotter practice” surveillance scheme .


Data from Qflu, a weekly “spotter practice” surveillance scheme show that by 27 November, flu vaccine uptake for those 65 years and over was 60 per cent. in England.


Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are seconded to the national health service in England from external organisations. [106859]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Sexual Health

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when her Department expects to launch the £50 million advertising campaign to tackle the rise in sexually transmitted infections announced by her predecessor on 26 November 2004; [103208]

(2) what the total cost is of her Department's sexual health campaign launched on 11 November 2006; [103209]

(3) for what reasons her Department's sexual health campaign, launched on 11 November 2006, targets 18 to 24 year olds only. [103210]

Caroline Flint: Improving the nation's sexual health is a key Government priority and the Department launched its new adult sexual health campaign, Condom Essential Wear, on 9 November 2006.

The budget for this campaign is currently approximately £4 million this financial year. This is a significant level of funding, which has enabled us to produce an effective, integrated multi-media campaign targeting some of the hardest to reach young people who are most at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

Condom Essential Wear, which involves TV, radio and press advertising backed by extensive public relations, partnership marketing and web and digital activity, primarily targets 18 to 24-year-olds who engage in sexually risky behaviour and who statistically
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are among the most at risk of contracting STIs. It has been developed on social marketing principles, which means it starts from the position of the consumer with the aim of bringing about long-term positive behavioural change.

It is one of three current Government campaigns working to improve sexual health and reduce teenage pregnancy, complementing the Department for Education and Skills’s teenage pregnancy campaigns R U Thinking, aimed at 13 to 16-year-olds, and Want Respect? Use a Condom, aimed at 16 to 18-year-olds. This integrated communications approach enables us to effectively target young people across the age groups.

Smoking Ban

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when an announcement will be made on the date for implementation of the ban on smoking in public places. [106346]

Caroline Flint: The Government announced on 1 December that the smokefree provisions within the Health Act 2006, which will make virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces smokefree, will be implemented at 6 am on Sunday, 1 July.

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Southampton Independent Sector Treatment Centre

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she has taken to ensure that primary care trusts in Hampshire will not be required to fund any shortfall in the number of patients referred to the proposed Southampton Independent Sector Treatment Centre. [108177]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 11 December 2006]: The Southampton independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) is part of phase two of the ISTC programme. Phase two contracts are between the Secretary of State for Health and the independent sector providers. The referral risk is shared between Secretary of State for Health and the provider. Primary care trusts in Hampshire will, therefore, not be required to fund any shortfall in the number of patients referred to the proposed Southampton ISTC.


Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many urologists were working in the NHS in each of the last eight years. [106339]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The number or urologists employed by the national health service in each of the last eight years is shown in the table.

Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): Medical staff working in the urology specialty by grade and year—England as at 30 September each year
Number (headcount)
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

All Staff












Associate Specialist






Staff Grade






Registrar Group






House Officer and Foundation Programme Year 1(1)






Senior House Officer






Hospital Practitioner/Clinical Assistant







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