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Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health trusts are using NHS Professionals; and how many of those that were previously using NHS Professionals have stopped doing so. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 14 December 2006]: As of October 2006, 90 trusts used NHS Professionals nursing service with a total of 66 trusts taking the doctors' service. Approximately 10 trusts take both services and these figures do not take into account the impact of the recent PCT organisation.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account is taken of the size of the patient population affected by a disease when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence decides which topics to select for consideration. 
Andy Burnham: The size of the patient population affected by a disease is taken into account, as part of the topic selection criteria set by the Department, when Ministers decide which topics are to be referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The criteria which are used to inform decisions on the referral of topics to NICE are published at:
Caroline Flint: There has been no research commissioned by the Department on links between obesity and cancer. However, the Department recognises the summary research evidence available from studies in the United Kingdom, which shows that the risk of a number of cancers is increased by obesity, including breast cancer, cancer of the endometrium, uterus, cervix, ovary and gall-bladder in women and cancer of rectum and prostate in men.
The Food Standards Agency is in discussion with stakeholders, including the food industry to develop a strategy to help consumers achieve energy balance. The level of sugars in some foods is being explored as part of this strategy.
Caroline Flint: Tackling Child ObesityFirst Steps, a joint report from the National Audit Office, Healthcare Commission and Audit Commission published in February 2006, put the cost of obesity to the national health service at around £1 billion a year, with an additional £2.3-2.6 billion a year to the economy as a whole. No estimate has been made on the cost of excess weight to the NHS.
Caroline Flint: The most recent information available on the sources of free sugar non-milk extrinsic sugars in the diets of schoolchildren and adults comes from the 1997 national diet and nutrition survey of young people aged four to 18 years and the 2000-01 national diet and nutrition survey of adults aged 19 to 64 years.
|Percentage contribution to average daily intake of non-milk extrinsic sugars|
|Food group||Children aged 4-18 years( 1)||Adults aged 19-64 years( 2)|
|(1) Data from Gregory J, Lowe S, Bates CJ, Prentice A, Jackson LV, Smithers G, Wenlock R and Farron M. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: young people aged 4 to 18 years. Volume 1: Report of the diet and nutrition survey (2000). TSO (London: 2000). (2) Data from Henderson L, Gregory J, Irving K and Swan G. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: adults aged 19 to 64 years. Volume 2: Energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat and alcohol intake. TSO (London: 2003).|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many parliamentary written questions her Department received in each parliamentary Session since 2001; and how many of these questions (a) were not answered because of disproportionate cost, (b) were not answered, (c) received answers referring back to a previous answer (i) asked by the hon. Member and (ii) asked by another hon. Member and (d) were grouped together for answer. 
We do not record separately how many answers referred to the disproportionate cost threshold, how many referred to previous answers or how many were grouped together for answer. Written answers are however a matter of public record and published in the Official Report.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what target her Department has for the maximum acceptable amount of time to answer parliamentary written questions; and what percentage of parliamentary answers met that target in each parliamentary Session since 2001. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with the North Essex Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust on the planned reduction in funds provided by the West Essex, Mid Essex and North East Essex primary care trusts; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 11 December 2006]: Ministers have had no discussions with the Mental Health Trust about the planned reduction in services commissioned by West Essex, Mid Essex and North Essex primary care trusts (PCT). However, officials have begun discussions with the relevant strategic health authority (SHA).
The Department does not expect any mental health provider to be asked to contribute proportionately more in financial savings or costs improvement plans than other NHS providers in the local health economy, unless that service contributed to the deficit in any year. We would expect any local financial planning to reflect this principle.
Should disproportionate savings be identified, these will be followed up by RSU, the relevant strategic health authority (SHA) and primary care trust. The SHA will be required to provide a rationale forthe disproportionate savings, a commitment to reduce the savings expected from mental health providers in 2007-08 by the same amount as any over-contribution this year, and an affirmation of commitment to deliver agreed early intervention crisis resolution and community development services.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether any financial surplus of the Peterborough primary care trust will be used to subsidise the financial deficit of the Cambridgeshire primary care trust following the implementation of the new configuration of primary care trusts in Cambridgeshire in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: ( )Strategic health authorities (SHAs) are responsible for developing and implementing a( )service and financial strategy to help manage and balance the overall financial position( )within their area. This includes creating local reserves to deal with local situations.
The level of these reserves has been determined locally, to enable SHAs to achieve their( )financial planning target. However, in doing so, we expect SHAs to have full regard to the( )financial and service position of each organisation in determining how reserves are( )generated and applied.
Primary care trusts (PCTs) which make a contribution will be repaid, normally within the( )three-year allocation cycle, when organisations currently in deficit start producing surpluses.( )SHAs have been asked to ensure PCTs with the greatest health need are the first to be( )repaid.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2006, Official Report, columns 565W, on prescriptions, how many prescriptions were issued in each month between February 2005 and November 2006. 
Andy Burnham: Data on the number of prescriptions issued in the community are not held centrally. The table shows the number of prescription items dispensed in the community in England. Also included are prescription items prescribed in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man but dispensed in England. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospitals, including mental health trusts, or private prescriptions.
Prescription cost analysis (PCA) system
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to protect the title of psychologist within the proposed statutory regulation of psychologists and related professions; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: It is not possible to protect the title psychologist without either setting standards too low to protect the public who need help with psychological problems, which only a subset of psychologists with applied psychology training provide; or else setting standards too high for other psychologists who do not have this training. If the title psychologist were protected with these high standards other psychologists such as those with academic training only would either have to stop calling themselves psychologist, or would be unfairly criminalised for doing so. The Government's intention is to regulate only applied psychologists.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations she has received from professional bodies representing psychologists on the proposed Health Professions Council; and if she will publish her response to those representations. 
Andy Burnham: The Government set out their proposals for the statutory regulation of applied psychologists in its March 2005 public consultation document Applied Psychologyenhancing public protection: proposals for the statutory regulation of applied psychologists.
More recently, the Department held a four-month period of consultation on our proposals to reform the regulation of medical and non-medical healthcare professionals, following the recommendations made by Sir Liam Donaldson and the advisory group headed by Andrew Foster earlier this year. This consultation ended on 10 November 2006.
Separately from this consultation process, the British Psychological Society (BPS) has written to five Government Departments (eight letters in total, with five of these being the same letter). These letters have had the following response:
Thank you for your letter of xx to xx. I am replying since I am the Minister with responsibility for statutory regulation of applied psychologists across Government.
I have noted your comments and your proposals for an alternative to the Health Professions Council as the statutory regulator for applied psychologists. As you know, there is currently a consultation in progress on our proposals to reform the regulation of medical and non-medical healthcare professionals, following the recommendations made by Sir Liam Donaldson and the advisory group headed by Andrew Foster earlier this year. Your comments will be considered as part of the response to the consultation.
The consultation ends on 10 November 2006 and we will then consider the way forward in the light of responses and the Government's policy objectives.
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