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Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions she has received representations from other Government Ministers on behalf of constituents concerning health service reconfigurations acting in their capacity as constituency hon. Members in each year since 1997. 
Representations from Government Ministers in other Government Departments are received regularly on a wide range of health-related
issues which might include proposed service changes. In doing so, they make clear that they are acting as their constituents' representatives and not as a Minister, in accordance with section 4.6 of the Ministerial Code.
Decisions to reconfigure services within the national health service are made without political interference, though some decisions can be referred to the Secretary of State. Local authorities' overview and scrutiny committees have the power to refer any proposal to the Secretary of State if they believe the proposal is not in the interests of the health service or if consultation has been inadequate. The Secretary of State can refer the matter to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel for advice, require further consultation or endorse the decisions of the local NHS organisations responsible for them. However, very few such local reconfiguration decisions are referred to the Secretary of State.
| Source: Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES), The Information Centre for health and social care.|
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact on the financial viability of hospitals of reductions in the number of GP referrals to secondary care by primary care trusts for out-patient services; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: No such assessment has been made centrally as this is for local determination. However, where providers attract patients through choice and other primary care-generated referrals, primary care trusts (PCTs) are expected to meet these commitments. PCTs should work with practices and service providers to take appropriate action to ensure services are provided within current waiting time standards, having full regard to clinical priorities. The commissioning controls for this year were set out in The National Health Service in England: the operating framework for 2006-07 and reiterated in the operating framework for 2007-08, which was published in December 2006. The framework is available in the Library and at:
Andy Burnham: Any proposals for service change are a matter for the national health service locally. There is a well-established and well-understood process for managing consultations on such changes so that patients, the public and local stakeholders can help to inform the local debate.
We are aware that Northamptonshire Teaching Primary Care Trust is currently preparing to carry out a review of acute service provision across Northamptonshire. Any resulting proposals for major service changes will be subject to full public consultation.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to improve the quality of service from independent sector treatment centres; and if she will make a statement. 
Wave 1 ISTCs are monitored against the 26 key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure quality services are delivered. KPIs include clinical quality, patient experience and productivity of services. Where there are issues with performance, the Department works with the provider and local sponsors to ensure performance is improved.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) budgetary provision and (b) expenditure of each NHS homeopathic hospital was in each of the last three years; and what changes in funding are planned for the future. 
There are five homeopathic hospitals in the United Kingdom: Glasgow, London, Bristol, Tunbridge Wells and Liverpool. These hospitals fall under the jurisdiction of the NHS in the area in which they are based. Any decisions on the services any of these hospitals provide are the responsibility of those NHS healthcare organisations.
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 22 February 2007]: The Government are committed to the continuing improvement of healthcare environments for patients, whether they are receiving care in hospital, in a care home, or in an end-of-life care setting. In September 2006, we announced £50 million to be made available over two years to enable adult hospices to bid to make physical improvements to their buildings.
The total amount of capital funding applied for has exceeded the level of funds available. An independent steering group was established to evaluate applications received, and we are currently considering their assessments. We expect to notify applicants of the status of their bids in March 2007.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of NHS hospital consultants work solely for the NHS; and how many and what proportion of NHS hospital consultants also work in the private sector, broken down by estimated percentage of time spent on such work. 
|Occupancy rate (percentage)|
| Source: Department of Health KH03.|
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the total capital cost was of establishing the new day case and cancer screening centre at Kettering General Hospital including equipment; and how it was funded; 
To ask the Secretary of State for Health which (a) primary care trusts and (b) NHS trusts ask patients to pay (i) wholly or (ii) in part for treatment with (A) Macugen and (B) Lucentis; what
her policy is on such payments; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 23 February 2007]: The national health service does not charge NHS patients for their hospital treatment. In the absence of a funding direction associated with a positive appraisal by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, it is for primary care trusts to decide on funding the provision of treatments by the NHS based on an assessment of the available evidence.
Where a patient elects to pay privately for a procedure that takes place at a NHS hospital, this is handled separately from NHS provision under Section 65 and/or 66 of the NHS Act 1977 (Section 7(10) of Health and Medicine Act 1988 refers) as amended by Section 26 of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990.
Mr. Ivan Lewis
[holding answer 22 February 2007]: No assessment has been carried out centrally. It is for
primary care trusts (PCTs) in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders to determine which models best suit the local needs of women and the midwifery workforce. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community including the provision of maternity services.
Ministers and officials have met with the Independent Midwives Association (IMA) over the past three years to discuss their proposal of a national health service community midwifery model. Following on from these discussions, the IMA have identified a group of midwives and one PCT who are willing to test the model and help to create an outline contract. That process is continuing.
Andy Burnham: The following table shows the national health service three-month vacancies in England, the East of England strategic health authority area and West Hertfordshire hospital NHS trust for qualified midwifery staff.
|Midwives, three-month vacancy rates, numbers of staff in post|
|March 2006||September 2005|
|Three-month vacancy rate (percentage)||Three-month vacancy number||(Staff in post) Full-time equivalent||(Staff in post) Headcount|
| Notes: Three-month vacancy notes: 1. Vacancy data are from the vacancy survey 2006. 2. Three-month vacancy information is as at 31 march 2006. 3. Three-month vacancies are vacancies which trusts are actively trying to fill, which had lasted for three months or more (full-time equivalents). 4. Three-month vacancy rates are three-month vacancies expressed as a percentage of three-month vacancies plus full-time equivalent staff in post. 5. Three-month vacancy rates are calculated using full-time equivalent staff in post from the non-medical workforce census September 2004. 6. Percentages are rounded to one decimal point. 7. Staff in post data are from the non-medical workforce census September 2005. 8. Vacancy and staff in post numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number. 9. Calculating the vacancy rates using the above data may not equal the actual vacancy rates. 10. Due to rounding, totals may not equal the sum of component parts. 11. Strategic health authority figures are based on trusts, and do not necessarily reflect the geographical provision of health care. Source: The Information Centre for health and social care vacancies survey March 2006.|
Caroline Flint [holding answer 22 February 2007]: The term data controller is defined in the Data Protection Act 1998, and relates to either individuals or organisations which either alone, jointly, or in common with others, determine the purposes for which, and the manner in which, any personal data are to be processed. Data controller responsibilities for records held on the spine will therefore be shared between the Secretary of State for Health and organisations which have access to those records.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to respond to the letter of 31 January 2007 from the hon. Member for Billericay on the proposed independent sector treatment centre for Basildon. 
Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the Mental Health Bill on (a) transgender people and (b) lesbian, gay and bisexual people. 
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