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The new cancer reform strategy will build on the progress of the national health service cancer plan published in 2000 by spreading best practice and recommending what more needs to be done by cancer networks and the NHS to improve clinical outcomes, drive up quality and increase value for money.
The new strategy will recognise the new challenges and opportunities facing cancer; the number of new cases is rising, as are patients expectations. New medical technologies and more effective drugs are being developed. It will focus on reform rather than spending commitmentsgiving patients more choice, strengthening commissioning and making the new NHS levers work for cancer.
The National Director for Cancer, Professor Mike Richards has been tasked with taking forward the strategy. He will work with doctors, nurses, cancer charities and all those with an interest in cancer to develop a strategy that fits the needs of tomorrow's cancer services.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to table 2 on page Ev 3 of her Departments memorandum to the Health Committee inquiry, Public Expenditure on Health and Personal Social Services 2006, HC 1692-i, what discussions she has had with (a) NHS Finance and (b) the Welsh Assembly Government on how the figures on net NHS spend per head in Wales were calculated; and whether the figures for net NHS spend per head in Wales and net NHS spend per head in England are directly comparable. 
The expenditure figure for Wales excludes spend on departmental administration, and so for consistency, the NHS expenditure for England was adjusted to exclude expenditure on departmental administration.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the evidential basis was for the statement by the Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner) of 7 December 2006, Official Report, column 1290, on the NHS, that since 1997 there are (a) 404,000 extra staff, (b) 122,000 more doctors, (c) 61,000 more allied health professionals and (d) over 16,000 more radiographers and physiotherapists in the NHS. 
Andy Burnham: The information requested is not available. Taken together, changes to strategic health authority and primary care trust boundaries will release £250 million savings annually from management and administration costs for re-investing in frontline services from 2008-09.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what checks are carried out to ensure that exceptional allocation monies for specialist palliative care services are spent on those services; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Ministers set up a central budget of £50 million per annum for specialist palliative care for the three years beginning 2003-04. Cancer networks have provided annual returns on the
use of this funding and reports have been made to Ministers and to the National Partnership Group for Palliative Care, which allocated the funding and monitored its use. The central budget ended in 2005-06 and a final report will be provided to Ministers and the National Partnership Group when analysis of the cancer network returns is complete.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when an exercise was last conducted on the response to an outbreak of pandemic influenza; and what lessons were learnt from the exercise. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the United Kingdom to be at the forefront of preparedness internationally and we are continuing to consider what other measures could be taken to further improve our preparedness for pandemic influenza. The Department and the national health service have already undertaken several exercises in preparation for a possible influenza pandemic. Contingency plans are regularly tested, reviewed and updated in the light of changing domestic and international circumstances.
A requirement for further clarification and definition of the dividing line between WHO pandemic alert level phases 4 and 5, and phases 5 and 6;
recognition by the participating Departments and agencies of the need to update existing procedures for information management;
to further develop the roles and communication channels of key agencies to optimise their joint working;
international bodies such as United Nations or European Union as well as bilateral contacts with key international partners would have been a valuable addition to the exercise;
testing of scientific information flows and access to expert advice was successful and highlighted a number of areas where greater co-ordination is required both within and between UK Departments and with the devolved Administrations in order to ensure consistency of presentation and interpretation of advice;
further development required at the regional level:
more clarity is required as to when strategic co-ordinating groups might be established locally;
the need for flexibility in planned response in order to reflect the potential for variation in the pandemic virus, and
further development required at the national level:
the agreement of clear guidance on the language to be used in describing the type of risk faced by UK at various national and international alert levels, in particular the shift from avian influenza or H5N1 to pandemic (i.e. human) influenza;
the provision of generic travel advice to UK citizens during WHO pandemic phase 5 to be revisited.
The regional and local exercises on pandemic influenza are ongoing. The last regional off-the-shelf exercise, Exercise Cold Play, took place in London on 15 November 2006. This exercise was led by the Health Protection Agency as part of the Department of Health funded exercise programme, and in conjunction with NHS London. These exercises will be followed up with further exercises in 2007 and this is the first part of a series of three exercises.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department has a traffic light system in place for processing parliamentary questions, where questions are categorised using a colour code. 
Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations she has received from pharmaceutical companies on withdrawal from existing pharmaceutical wholesaling arrangements in England; 
Ministers have had no official meetings with representatives of pharmaceutical companies and wholesalers to discuss the potential consequences of the proposed changes on the pharmaceutical distribution network. However, the Department has received a number of letters from wholesalers and their representatives on these matters.
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 13 December 2006]: Referrals from primary care to consultant-led mental health services, including psychological therapies, are included in the 18-week waiting time target from the time of referral to the start of treatment. Mental health referrals are usually made to the care of a multi-disciplinary team or community team, rather than to an individual consultant, so most mental health activity would not be covered by the 18-week target.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she plans to take to retain the expertise built up by existing forums when the present structure of patient and public involvement is changed. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
We intend that local involvement networks (LINks) will build on the valuable work of patient and public involvement (PPI)
forums. We believe that the experience developed by those involved in forums, as well as the good working relationships that many have established with the health service, are important factors to the success of LINks.
Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which staff in her Department are seconded from organisations with charitable status which have (a) costs and (b) salaries met (i) in part and (ii) in whole (A) from public funds and (B) by the charity from which they are seconded. 
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many adult social workers have been employed by local authorities in each of the last 10 years expressed as (a) headcount and (b) whole- time equivalents. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The following table shows the number of social workers employed by local authorities in each of the last 10 years. It should be noted that job roles and titles have changed, and therefore some separate job categories have been combined (detailed in the note below).
|Social care employment in local authorities, England, 1996-2005|
|Childrens social workers||Adults social workers||Field social workers|
|Number||Percentage change||Number||Percentage change||Number||Percentage change||FTE|
Separate job categories introduced have been combined above (field social workers, care managers, senior social workers and team leaders). These relate to the following lines in the DH's SSDS001:
Children's: 2.30-2.33, 2.35
Adults': 2.40-2.43, 2.50-2.52, 2.54, 2.55, 2.60-2.63, 2.70-2.73, 2.80-2.83
Department of Health staffing return SSDS001 (employment)
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