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13 Dec 2006 : Column 1178W—continued

NHS Drugs Budget

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the expenditure has been on (a) branded and (b) generic drugs by (i) primary care trusts and(ii) strategic health authorities in each year for which records are available. [105004]

Andy Burnham: Information on the net ingredient cost of generic and branded drugs, together with appliances and dressings, by primary care trust (PCT) area in England for the years 2003 to 2005 has been placed in the Library.

NHS Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what capital expenditure against budget underspend the NHS was forecasting in the 2006-07 financial year at month six (a) in total and (b) broken down by NHS organisation. [106138]

Andy Burnham: The total forecast charge against the capital resource limit for 2006-07, as reported by the national health service (NHS) at month six was£2,376 million. The total forecast underspend against the capital resource limit at month six was £147 million.

A breakdown of the above figures has been placed in the Library.

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will provide funding to ameliorate the effects of historic debts of NHS organisations in Hertfordshire. [106892]

Andy Burnham: National health service organisations must live within their means, and it is not possible to write off debt when a particular organisation has failed to operate within its budget.

It is the responsibility of strategic health authorities (SHAs) to deliver both overall financial balance for their local health communities and to ensure each and every body achieves financial balance. However, there is a degree of flexibility in how this is managed at a local level. SHAs can agree a recovery plan which phases the recovery of deficits over a number of years.
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This would require other NHS organisations within the health economy to under spend over the same period. Any such arrangements would have to be subject to the agreement of local providers, commissioners and the managing SHA.

NHS Patient Database

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action has been taken to secure the proposed NHS patient database against computer hacking and other data theft. [103958]

Caroline Flint: All systems and services delivered through the national programme for information technology incorporate stringent security controls and safeguards to prevent unrestricted or uncontrolled access to personal information.

Any attacker who had access to the N3 network would have to break through three separate layers of tiered architecture, each of which is protected by twin firewalls of different manufacture, in order to access the database. The firewalls are supported by intrusion detection systems, and other multiple security measures, which routinely monitor network traffic and alert on detection of suspicious activity.

There are four separate levels of control to protect against the danger of data theft by a legitimate N3 user. The first is provided by the requirement that all users must have a smartcard. Smartcards are secure tokens that, together with a password, confirm the identity of staff and determine access rights to information. They are issued only when satisfactory evidence of identity and residence is provided in person by staff, and provide a unique digital identity that enables the system to know precisely who each user is. These arrangements conform with the e-Government Interoperability Framework (eGif) Level 3 standards for the registration and authentication of staff.

The second control is that staff will only be able to access as much information as is needed for the purpose of their role within the healthcare team. For example, a receptionist will be able to see information about an appointment, but would not be able to look at detailed clinical records.

The third control is that the system will not permit anyone to access clinical information unless they are registered within the system as working in a team that is providing the individual patient concerned with care, or are checking the quality of care provided. This safeguard is known as the ‘legitimate relationship’ safeguard.

The fourth control is provided by staff who oversee compliance with security processes. A record is kept of user activity within the system. If an irregularity is suspected these staff will be alerted automatically and will investigate the incident.

Over and above these implemented safeguards, the NHS maintains an effective liaison with the UK's information security authorities and others for the sharing of relevant advice and guidance on known information security threats and vulnerabilities.

Together these safeguards will provide an unprecedented level of assurance compared with existing electronic systems.

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NHS Pension Scheme

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost of employer contributions to the NHS pension scheme was in each year between 1990-91 and 2005-06; and if she will make a statement. [101287]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information from 1990-91 to 2004-05, the latest year that pension scheme accounts are available, is show in the following table. Increases in contributions in 2000-01 and 2001-02 reflect the phased increase in employers contributions following the 1994 valuation of the scheme, which was published in October 1998. The figures from 2003-04 include changes in relation to the Retail Price Indexation for existing pensioners for which funding was devolved from Her Majesty's Treasury to the Department of Health in 2003-04, and which was fully devolved to scheme employers from 2004-05. It is proposed as part of the review of the national health service (NHS) pension scheme that there will be a cap on employers' contributions of 14.2 per cent., from 2012, when the 2008 valuation is expected to be implemented, and of 14 per cent. from 2016.

Employer contributions































Government Actuary's Department, appropriation accounts and NHS pension scheme resource accounts

NHS Posts

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS posts have been (a) lost and (b) held open in the West Sussex Primary Care Trust area in each of the last three years. [105652]

Caroline Flint: This information is not collected centrally.

NHS Professionals

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were recruited through NHS Professionals in each of the last five years for which information is available. [103952]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: NHS Professionals did not exist in its current form as a special health authority until April 2004.

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NHS Professionals recruited 13,000 people in 2004-05 and 15,000 in 2005-06.

For the first six months of this year, over 6,600 hospital doctors and nursing staff have been recruited to the NHS Professionals bank.

NHS Projects

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the cases of cancellation of NHS projects costing over £5 million since 2001; and if she will make a statement. [107125]

Andy Burnham: To collect this information would incur disproportionate cost. All national health service trusts and the Department must report all abortive costs over £250,000 in value incurred in abandoned or scaled down projects in their annual report and accounts which are available locally.

NHS Trusts: Copyright Licences

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice Connecting for Health provides on copyright licences for NHS trusts. [103525]

Caroline Flint: A statement issued via the website of the National Library for Health advises that negotiations have been entered into with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) in consideration of a single licensing agreement for all national health service bodies. NHS trusts are advised not to enter into individual discussions directly with the CLA while such negotiations are taking place.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her estimate is of the number of NHS trusts which hold copyright licences; and what the average cost of such licences is. [103526]

Caroline Flint: No information is collected centrally that would enable such an estimate to be made.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the possible liability of those NHS trusts which do not hold copyright licences in respect of copyright lawsuits brought against them. [103527]

Caroline Flint: No such assessment has been made. In the event that a national health service (NHS)-wide licensing arrangement with the Copyright Licensing Agency cannot be agreed, it will be the responsibility of individual NHS bodies to assess their legal obligations in relation to the relevant legislation, and to act accordingly.

NHS Vacancies

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many unfilled NHS posts were held vacant in the Peterborough primary care trust (PCT) area and its predecessor PCT area in each year since 2001; and if she will make a statement. [104139]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not held centrally.

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NICE-approved Treatments

Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to ensure access to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence-approved treatments for those with a clinical need. [106341]

Andy Burnham: We have ensured that compliance with National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance features in the ‘Standards for Better Health’.

Interventional procedures guidance and technology appraisals from NICE are reflected respectively in core standards C3 and C5 of ‘Standards for Better Health’ published by the Department in July 2004. In addition clinical guidelines and public health guidance is covered by developmental standard D2. The Healthcare Commission published its first assessment of national health service trusts against these standards this year.

The Department issued in 2001 a statutory direction that requires the NHS 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.

Office for Disability Issues

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many times the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for Care Services has attended meetings of the Office for Disability Issues since its establishment. [108986]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have attended three Office for Disability Issues ministerial group meetings on “Improving Life Chances of Disabled People”.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral answer to my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Milton Keynes (Mr. Lancaster) of 22 November 2006, Official Report, column 543, on engagements, to which area she was referring. [105876]

Caroline Flint: The Prime Minister was referring to the area covered by NHS south central area.

Payment by Results

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contingency arrangements are in place for the suspension of payment by results in the event of a substantial public health emergency. [101694]

Andy Burnham: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has an overarching duty to secure the provision of a health service in England and may make temporary or permanent changes to national guidance in pursuit of these obligations and to the extent provided for in law. For example, the code of conduct for payment by results includes provision for the Secretary of State to make in-year changes to the national tariff, at her discretion and in exceptional circumstances.

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Pfizer and Alliance Unichem

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the occasions on which she has met representatives of (a) Pfizer and (b) Alliance Unichem in the last six months. [107735]

Andy Burnham: Ministerial colleagues and I regularly meet representatives from industry in the course of our duties as part of the process of policy development. However no official meetings with Pfizer and Alliance Unichem have taken place in the last six months.

Physical Activity Promotion Fund

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Physical Activity Promotion Fund was established; how much has been allocated to it; and how many physical activity co-ordinators have been employed. [105360]

Caroline Flint: The physical activity promotion fund was announced in the “Choosing Health” White Paper in November 2004, to roll out evidence-based physical activity interventions. £55 million was allocated for 2006-07 and 2007-08 directly to primary care trusts for action on diet, physical activity and obesity.

Regional physical activity co-ordinators are now employed across seven of the nine English regions. Although local arrangements differ for hosting and funding these posts, they are all based upon the role originally piloted in the North West of England.

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