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8 Feb 2007 : Column 1195W—continued


Street Lighting

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the potential for reduction of energy use in street lighting; and if he will make a statement. [118611]

Dr. Ladyman: I have been asked to reply.

Provision of street lighting in England, on local roads, is a matter for individual highway authorities, and the Department for Transport has made no formal assessment of the potential for energy savings in street lighting.

The Department endorses “Well-lit Highways”, the code of practice on highway lighting management (December 2004, TSO) published by the UK Lighting Board. The Board, in conjunction with the Institution of Lighting Engineers, has also produced “Invest to Save”, which provides guidance to local authorities considering adopting energy saving measures such as dimming or mid-night switching off of lights. The effects of reducing lighting levels or turning lights off will vary from case to case. Any financial or environmental savings from reduced energy use would have to be balanced against potential adverse effects, for example on accidents or crime.

The Highways Agency is currently reviewing all its standards for the provision of road lighting on the strategic road network, which will mean less new lighting being installed in future. The agency’s review
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work also includes the development of an energy strategy for the management of existing lighting, which could include reduced lighting levels, and switching off lighting when roads are lightly trafficked. Trials are expected to start in 2007.

Utilities: Small Businesses

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps (a) his Department and (b) Ofgem has taken to encourage energy suppliers to develop industry-wide codes of practice in relation to (i) the billing of and (ii) selling to small business consumers. [119158]

Malcolm Wicks: The existing level of regulatory protection in respect of gas and electricity broadly reflects that in general consumer law. It is open to Ofgem to consider whether additional regulatory protection, including the establishment of industry-wide code of practices relating to billing and selling, is required. The issue of gas and electricity billing is also the subject of a consultation, which closes on 6 February, as part of the Energy Review. I understand that the chairman of Ofgem will write to the hon. Member about the information he has sought.

Wind Farms

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many wind farms with more than two turbines there are in each region of the UK. [118955]

Malcolm Wicks: The following table shows the number of wind farms with more than two turbines in each region of the UK. These figures are from the British Wind Energy Association.

Region Number of wind farms

East of England

5

South East

1

South West

8

West Midlands

0

East Midlands

5

Yorkshire and the Humber

4

North East

7

North West

17

London

0

England

47

Wales

19

Scotland

31

Northern Ireland

11

United Kingdom

108


Health

Agency Nurses

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what sanctions are applied to primary care trusts which use agencies for nursing staff which are not part of the multi regional framework agreement; and if she will make a statement. [119514]


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Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 7 February 2007]: There are no sanctions applied to trusts who work with agencies outside the agency framework agreements. However, trusts are encouraged to use agencies signed up to regional framework agreements to ensure that they meet the cost and clinical governance standards required.

Audiology

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will provide extra help to the NHS in Shropshire to clear the waiting list for the fitting of digital hearing aids. [111873]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: In order to improve access and reduce waiting times for audiology services, a national action plan is being developed for publication soon.

This measure will assist in significantly reducing waiting times and will greatly benefit those who receive hearing aids.

CATS Service

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2007, Official Report, column 1583W, on the Capture, Assess, Treat and Support Service, what steps she has taken to ensure value for money in the Capture, Assess, Treat and Support system; [111722]

(2) how many bidders have tendered for the Clinical Assessment, Treatment and Support (CATS) service in Preston; what contracts have been signed for such provision; and what guarantees have been given to private providers bidding for the CATS service in relation to patient referrals. [111739]

Andy Burnham: The clinical assessment, treatment and support (CATS) scheme aims to deliver best value to the local health economy by procuring cost effective triaging of general practitioners referrals and a range of diagnostics capacity.

The scheme is part of the phase two independent sector treatment centre elective procurement. As part of the final approval process all schemes need to demonstrate to HM Treasury that they offer value for money when compared to equivalent costs in the national health service.

From a pool of interested parties, four bidders were short-listed and issued an invitation to tender of which two bids were returned for the CATS scheme. No contracts have been signed—the commercial terms are still under negotiation with Netcare as the preferred bidder in the negotiation. There are no guarantees in respect of the number of referrals. The commercial terms between the Department and the bidder are commercially sensitive.

Clacton Hospital

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department is aware of plans to transfer any services available at Clacton hospital to other hospitals. [117598]


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Andy Burnham: The Department is not aware of any plans to transfer services available at Clacton hospital to other hospitals. However, the NHS East of England has reported that the North East Essex Primary Care Trust will be moving some services at Clacton hospital to different areas of the site.

Clostridium Difficile

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance her Department has given to (a) NHS hospitals, (b) nursing and care homes, (c) dentists, (d) ambulance trusts, (e) general practitioners and (f) other hospitals on listing clostridium difficile as the cause of death on official death certificates; and if she will make a statement. [118964]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Registrar General, who has been asked to reply.

Delayed Discharges Reimbursement Scheme

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2007, Official Report, column 463W, on Delayed Discharges Reimbursement Scheme, what information her Department holds on the liabilities of local authorities to pay charges under the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act 2003. [112559]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department holds data on the number of reimbursable hospital bed days by local authority and national health service trust. Collection of these data began on 5 October 2003 with the last available data being for the week ending 21 January 2007.

The available data held by the Department have been placed in the Library.

Diets

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer requesting that he reverse the recent classification of diet foods recommended as a means of reducing obesity as in a category of food which attracts VAT. [120227]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1734W, to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable).

Doctors: Training

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will extend the period during which doctors can apply for posts via the Medical Training Application System; [119943]

(2) how many times the medical training application system was available during the application period. [119989]


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Caroline Flint: The Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) was available from 25 October to 5 December for applications to foundation programmes, and from 22 January to 5 February, for applications to specialty training programmes. During both application periods, there was only one planned break in the service for two hours on the morning of 29 January for essential maintenance. The deadline was extended by two hours until 2 pm on 4 February, to take account of this break. In addition, there was an unplanned break in the service of five minutes at 11 pm on 31 January.

The deadline for applications to specialty training programmes through MTAS was further extended to 9 am on 5 February to take account of some periods when the service was not performing at optimum level.

Drugs: Misuse

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the funding allocation of the Pooled Drug Treatment Budget was in real terms in (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) Sandwell in each of the last three years. [119881]

Caroline Flint: Information about the pooled drug treatment budget (PTB) for each of the last three years and what this means in real terms within England, West Midlands and Sandwell is shown in the table.

2006-07 2005-06 2004-05 2003-04

National PTB total (£ million)

384.6

299.4

253.4

236.1

Real terms increase (percentage)

25.1

16.0

4.5

West Midlands PTB total (£)

40,062,971

33,181,306

27,174,686

24,614,068

Real terms increase (percentage)

17.6

19.9

7.4

Sandwell PTB total (£)

2,974,806

2,509,961

2,039,042

1,831,207

Real terms increase (percentage)

15.4

20.8

8.4


Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the projected funding allocation of the Pooled Treatment Budget will be in real terms for (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) Sandwell in the next three years. [119882]

Caroline Flint: In 2007-08 the pooled drug treatment budget (PTB) for England will be £388 million, with £3,099,463 indicatively allocated to Sandwell and £43,270,258 to the West Midlands. The young people capital funding allocation for the next three years has not been decided.

No decisions have been made on PTB allocations for 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the likely impact of reducing the Pooled Treatment Budget allocation for Sandwell in 2007-08. [119883]


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Caroline Flint: The National Treatment Agency for substance misuse (NTA) has undertaken an assessment of the potential impact of a 4 per cent. decrease in Sandwell’s pooled treatment budget (PTB) in 2007-08. They are confident that, through timely notification of this reduction to the Sandwell drug action team (DAT), availability of significant resources from previous underspends, and support for the DAT from the NTA’s regional team, Sandwell will be able to deliver against its plans for drug treatment in 2007-08.

General Chiropractic Council

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) is accountable to (a) the chiropractic profession, (b) Ministers and (c) the general public; how much public money the GCC received in the last year for which figures are available; whether the GCC operates a filtering system for trivial or vexatious complaints; and what use is made by the GCC of arbitration before cases are brought before the Professional Conduct Committee. [119868]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The General Chiropractic Council (GCC) is an independent statutory body. The Government provide the legislative framework that governs professional self-regulation for chiropractors.

The Council of the GCC has 10 members elected by fully registered chiropractors—six lay members appointed by the Privy Council, three members appointed by education committee and one member appointed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills.

We are aware of the GCC receiving £2,874.26 of public money in accounting year 2006-07.

Every complaint that the GCC receive is considered by the Investigations Committee, which decide whether there is a case to answer. Cases of alleged personal or professional misconduct or incompetence are referred to the Professional Conduct Committee. Legislation does not make provision for arbitration, every case must be heard.


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