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Health Services: Reform

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to section 4.6 of the Ministerial Code, on how many occasions (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have made representations on behalf of constituents over health service reconfigurations in their capacity as constituency MPs in each year since 1997. [118133]

Andy Burnham: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and other Ministers in the Department have regularly made representations on behalf of their constituents to their ministerial colleagues. These have been on a wide range of health-related issues which might include proposed service changes in their constituency.

In accordance with section 4.6 of the Ministerial Code, Ministers are free to make clear their views on matters affecting their parliamentary constituency to the relevant Minister provided they make clear that they are acting as their constituents’ representative and not as a Minister.

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Medway Maritime Hospital: Surgery

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many operations were postponed at Medway Maritime Hospital in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. [119806]

Andy Burnham: The number of operations that are postponed is not collected centrally. An operation that is rescheduled to a time within 24 hours of the original scheduled operation is recorded as a postponement and not as a cancellation. The following table shows the number of operations cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons in the years requested.

Last minute cancelled operations for non-clinical reasons, Medway National Health Service Trust, 2005-06 and 2006-07





Notes: 1. 2006-07 data only covers quarter 1 and quarter 2. Other quarters' data are not yet available. 2. A last minute cancellation is one that occurs on the day the patient was due to arrive, after they have arrived in hospital or on the day of their operation. Source: Department of Health dataset QMCO

NHS Treatment Centres: Basildon

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many applications were considered before the selection of a preferred provider for the independent sector treatment centre at Basildon, Essex; [123024]

(2) what consultation was held prior to the decision on a preferred provider for the independent sector treatment centre for Basildon, Essex; and if she will make a statement. [123025]

Andy Burnham: Phase 2 of the independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) programme was announced in May 2005. Any company interested in the programme was free to register an expression of interest, and complete a pre-qualifying questionnaire (PQQ), issued in late August 2005. Following this process, bidders were short-listed and issued with an invitation to tender (ITT). Bids were then returned for the Essex electives scheme.

The Department received 26 PQQ responses from potential bidders. On the Essex electives ISTC scheme, four bidders were short-listed and issued with an ITT, of which four bids were returned.

The procurement process, including the appointment of the preferred bidder, is being undertaken in accordance with European procurement regulations which set out requirements for each stage of the process from advertisement to the evaluation of bids and through to the negotiation of contractual terms with the successful bidder.

The establishment of ISTCs is a key part of the Government’s health care reforms. The Government’s intention to use private and voluntary organisations to increase capacity and choice were clearly set out in the NHS Plan (2000) and the NHS Improvement Plan (2003). Subsequent policy documents have set out the reform programme clearly.

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Consultation on changes to local services is a matter for local primary care trusts (PCTs) in conjunction with strategic health authorities. A series of local meetings are ongoing between the Department, the preferred bidder on the Essex ISTC scheme (Mercury Health) and the local national health service, including the establishment of steering groups which will enable PCTs, as commissioners of local services, to engage with other relevant stakeholders on the proposed plans for the Essex ISTCs.

NHS: Drugs

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the drug budget for the NHS was in each year from 1997 to date, broken down by (a) the acute trust sector, (b) general practitioners and (c) other sectors. [122919]

Caroline Flint: The following table gives the total expenditure on drugs since 1997, and is broken down by primary care and the hospital and community health service (HCHS), which includes acute trusts. We do not collect drugs expenditure for other sectors.

£ million
Total outturn Of which: primary Of which: HCHS

































1. Figures are net which include pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) receipt savings. 2. The total drugs spend includes drugs expenditure in primary care and the HCHS. The primary care expenditure reflects amounts paid to pharmacy and appliance contractors and amounts authorised for dispersing doctors and personal administration in England. HCHS expenditure includes drugs and medical gases.
3. From 2000-01 figures are in resource terms, prior to this figures are in cash terms. Cash figures relate to February to January prescribing due to delay in prescription processing and payment calculations. Resource figures represent the actual cost between April to March. Source: Prescription pricing division of the NHS Business Services Authority, England and Department of Health's Finance Division.

Patients: Hospital Travel Cost Scheme

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the process is for claiming under the hospital travel cost scheme. [120573]

Andy Burnham: People eligible to claim through the hospital travel costs scheme may do by presenting travel receipts and proof of eligibility at the finance or cashiers office of the care provider where they receive treatment. Alternatively, within three months of treatment they may send a claim form supported by travel receipts to the address identified on the claim form.

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Cosmetic Surgery Treatments

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has for introducing (a) a formal training and (b) a formal accreditation for cosmetic surgeons; and if she will make a statement. [122686]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Cosmetic surgery is not a medical specialty in the United Kingdom. However, as part of the curriculum for training in plastic surgery there is a requirement for aesthetic surgical training. This means that a surgeon getting a certificate of completion of training in plastic surgery will be trained in all aspects of this.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many long-term health problems caused by unsuccessful cosmetic procedures were treated by the NHS in the last year for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [122687]

Andy Burnham: This information is not collected centrally.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hairdressers and beauty therapists are licensed to inject customers with Botox; and if she will make a statement. [122688]

Caroline Flint: Botulinum toxin is a prescription-only medicine. It can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, a registered dental practitioner, a registered nurse independent prescriber, a registered pharmacist independent prescriber or a registered supplementary prescriber, provided that botulinum toxin is listed in the patient’s clinical management plan that has been agreed with a doctor. Prescribers may administer the medicine themselves or delegate the administration to another suitably qualified and competent person.

Sex: Health Services

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the number of primary care trusts who have diverted funds that were allocated for sexual health care; [122681]

(2) if she will take steps to ring-fence funds allocated for sexual health care. [122682]

Caroline Flint: Sexual health services are funded through revenue allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs). The 2006-07 and 2007-08 revenue allocations separately identify funding to support the initiatives set out in the White Paper, “Choosing Health: making healthy choices easier”, such as sexual health modernisation and Chlamydia screening. A copy of the White Paper is available in the Library. It is for PCTs to determine how to use the funding allocated to them to commission services to meet the healthcare needs of their local populations.

The national health service must be free to make its own local spending decisions and we do not believe it is necessary to increase the burden on the NHS by collecting and monitoring details of their expenditure or by ring fencing funding. Rather we are interested in
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the real outcomes from local investment, and this is why we have introduced sexual health into the local delivery planning process and have now identified this area as a key priority. This will enable us to see where real improvements are being delivered in areas such as waiting times and rates of infections.

Tomography: Hemel Hempstead

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of waiting times for routine MRI scans in Hemel Hempstead constituency. [119993]

Andy Burnham: Information is not available in the format requested. However, the table shows the number of people waiting for a magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scan in the west Hertfordshire primary care trust area and the median time waited.

PCT Total number of MRI scans being waited for Median wait for an MRI scan (Weeks)

West Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust



Watford Hospital: Private Finance Initiative

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in signing the contract for the private finance initiative scheme at Watford hospital; and if she will make a statement. [120012]

Andy Burnham: It is the responsibility of primary care trusts and strategic health authorities to analyse their local situation and develop plans, in liaison with their local national health service trusts and primary care providers, to deliver high quality NHS services.

Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust has been tasked, by NHS East of England, to carry out a review of the ‘Investing In Your Health’ strategy looking at east and north and west Hertfordshire. In particular whether the current configuration plans are financially sustainable and, if not, the degree of change that would be required.

The West Hertfordshire NHS Trust capital investment scheme is one of those included in the private finance initiative reappraisal exercise which the Government announced in January 2006. Decisions have already been announced on a number of the schemes involved in the reappraisal; that concerning west Hertfordshire will be made in due course and will of course have to take into account the factors mentioned above.

Education and Skills

Higher Education: Christianity

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the level of discrimination against Christians in universities; and if he will make a statement. [122155]

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Bill Rammell [holding answer 22 February 2007]: I understand that there are disputes between the Christian Union and the students’ union in a very few universities; that the issues in dispute vary; and that they do not involve other Christian groups on campus. For these reasons, I do not believe that these very few cases represent deliberate or general discrimination against Christians.

Because there are different issues in each case it is important that these disputes are settled locally. I understand that the Christian think tank Ekklesia has studied these disputes and in its report has recommended internal mediation (for example through university chaplaincies) as a way forward. I think this is a helpful suggestion and is preferable to going to law.

We believe that legitimate faith groups on campus should be affiliated with the students’ union provided that they are operating within the law and the students’ union framework. Students’ unions should be inclusive.

The Education Act 1994 requires university governing bodies to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure the student union operates in a fair and democratic manner. I would expect them to do so in these cases or any others. It is important that universities maintain and support freedom of speech within the law.


Courts Martial

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Solicitor-General on (1) what dates correspondence was sent by the Attorney-General to the Ministry of Defence on the subject of prosecutions of officers on active service; and if he will place copies of the correspondence in the Library; [122277]

(2) if he will publish the letter of the Attorney-General sent to the Secretary of State for Defence on 23 March 2005 concerning prosecutions of members of the armed forces. [122279]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 22 February 2007]: The Attorney-General and the Secretary of State for Defence have corresponded about issues relating to military justice. Parts of this correspondence were disclosed in civil litigation proceedings and were referred to in the related Court of Appeal judgment. The correspondence comprises confidential communications between Ministers of a kind exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. There is therefore no intention to publish the correspondence.

Crown Prosecution Service

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Solicitor-General which cases were considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions in each of the last three years. [122079]

The Solicitor-General: In 2006, the CPS dealt with 1,140,000 cases. Cases are handled at a local level, by CPS offices throughout England and Wales, or by one of the three specialist casework divisions in CPS Headquarters.

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