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14 May 2007 : Column 602W—continued

Multiple Sclerosis: Research

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding her Department makes available for research into multiple sclerosis. [132288]

Caroline Flint: The Department funds research to support policy and to provide the evidence needed to underpin quality improvement and service development in the national health service. Spend by the Department’s national research programmes and by the Medical Research Council (MRC) on multiple sclerosis is shown in the table.

Expenditure on multiple sclerosis research
£ million
Department of Health Medical Research Council



















n/a = not available
The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Innovation.

14 May 2007 : Column 603W

Over the last 10 years, the main part of the Department’s total expenditure on health research has been devolved to and managed by NHS organisations. Details of individual NHS supported research projects including a number concerned with multiple sclerosis are available on the national research register at:

Muscular Dystrophy

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the progress made by the MDEX consortium into researching Duchenne muscular dystrophy; and if she will make a statement. [128924]

Caroline Flint: Lord Hunt met with representatives from the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research team on 15 March. The MDEX Consortium research and clinical trial that the Department is funding with £1.6 million is progressing well, with the first patient due to receive the first dose of the experimental molecule within the next few months.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to increase the level of public spending on research into (a) treatments and (b) cures for muscular dystrophy. [132169]

Caroline Flint: Both the Department and the Medical Research Council (MRC) have in recent years invested in research related to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and will continue to do so.

The Department’s policy research programme has recently launched a major new research initiative on long-term neurological conditions. One of the seven, linked studies commissioned under the initiative “Transition to Adulthood: the experiences and needs of young men with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and their Families” is specifically focused on DMD.

Implementation of the Department’s research strategy “Best Research for Best Health” will result in an expansion of our research programmes and in significant new funding opportunities for health research. Awards will be made after open, competitive, peer review we do not plan to ring fence funds for specific conditions.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Answer of 20 March 2006, Official Report, columns 169-170W, on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) appraisals, what progress has been made in the work to ensure NICE’s independent advisory committee takes account of wider societal costs when making its recommendations. [131916]

Caroline Flint: In January 2007, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published two technology appraisals on treatments for drug misuse;

NICE undertook sensitivity analyses to ensure that the Appraisal Committee was aware of the related wider societal costs and benefits associated with the issues addressed in these appraisals.

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National Treatment Agency

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the £50 million allocated to the National Treatment Agency for capital funding has been (a) bid for and (b) paid out to bidders. [130282]

Caroline Flint: On 21 June 2006 the Department announced additional capital funding to improve the capacity and outcomes of in-patient and residential rehabilitation services via a strategic bidding process.

The National Panel received 76 bids totalling £106 million and agreed allocations of £54.3 million to strategic health authorities. On 23 February 2007 the Department wrote to all strategic health authority chief executive officers informing them of allocations and recommendations for spend based upon the outcome of the capital strategic bidding process.

Funding will begin to be allocated to strategic health authorities early in the 2007-08 financial year.

Neonatal Care

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many requests to care for seriously ill premature babies have been turned down in the last two years for which complete data are available, broken down by NHS trust. [103496]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not collected centrally.

NHS-specific Inflation

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 18 April 2006, Official Report, column 247W, on NHS-specific inflation, what the NHS-specific inflation index was for each year since 1997-98. [131926]

Andy Burnham: The following table reports, from 1997-98 to 2005-06 the hospital and community health service (HCHS) pay and prices, HCHS capital, and family health service (FHS) indices, which together account for more than 95 per cent. of total net national health service expenditure.

Pay and prices Capital FHS





































1. Provisional data subject to revision.
2. The indices above cover more than 95 per cent. of total net NHS expenditure.
3. From 2004-05 the FHS index is no longer available due to the introduction of the new general medical services (GMS) contract leading to a discontinuity in the GMS/personal medical services data series. Consequently, from 2004-05, the NHS inflation index is no longer calculable.

14 May 2007 : Column 605W

NHS Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether NHS organisations which underspend against their capital budget may carry forward the underspend into future financial years. [112362]

Andy Burnham: With the implementation of the new capital regime announced in “The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2007-08”, capital funding for national health service trusts is determined solely by the affordability of the proposed investments, financed by a system of loans, and subject to a prudential borrowing regime and national constraints. As part of the arrangements for the transition into the new regime, NHS trusts can access public dividend capital in respect of slippage on earlier financial years’ central capital budgets, and for other capital expenditure where the contract was signed on or before 1 December 2006.

There are no changes to the primary care trusts (PCT) capital allocations and financing arrangements in 2007-08. The 2007-08 PCT capital plans are currently being analysed to determine the affordability of any carry forward of 2006-07 underspending.

NHS Information Technology

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the oral answer of 24 April 2007, Official Report, column 775, on NHS information technology, (1) what assessment she has made of the (a) appropriateness and (b) effectiveness of operating the choose and book system in the area covered by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust; [134986]

(2) what assessment she has made of the (a) usage level, (b) cost of running and (c) effectiveness of the choose and book system in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. [134987]

Caroline Flint: For Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust (PCT) in March 2007, choose and book was used for 46 per cent. of general practitioner referrals to first outpatients. The national average was 38 per cent.

Choose and book has been shown to reduce the number of missed appointments and to improve the accuracy of referrals. Benefits realisation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly specifically is a matter for the PCT. Local budgets are also a matter for local decision.

NHS: Drugs

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations her Department has received on disparities between the medicines approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. [130276]

Caroline Flint: The Department could only identify such correspondence at disproportionate cost.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department will respond to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s proposal
14 May 2007 : Column 606W
for an Ultra-Orphan Drugs Evaluation Committee to undertake the appraisal of medicines for very rare diseases; and if she will make a statement. [131654]

Caroline Flint: Ministers have received the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s report on appraising ultra-orphan drugs and have concluded that it is not appropriate at this time to establish a separate appraisal system for such drugs. This position will be kept under review.

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what advice her Department publishes on the disposal of unused medicines; [133828]

(2) what recent estimate she has made of the value of unused medicines returned to pharmacies. [133835]

Caroline Flint: The Department published “Implementing the new community pharmacy contractual framework—Information for Primary Care Trusts” in April 2005, which includes a section on safe disposal of unwanted medicines as an essential service to be provided by all community pharmacies. “Safe management of healthcare waste” was also published by the Department in November 2006—a best practice guide for the management of healthcare waste including medicines.

The Department has worked with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and other pharmacy organisations to develop a “Community pharmacy sector guide on waste disposal”, which was published by the PSNC in March 2007.

Advice on the safe disposal of controlled drugs, commissioned by the Department, is available in “A guide to good practice in the management of controlled drugs in primary care” published by the National Prescribing Centre in February 2007. The Department is developing a similar guide for the safe management of controlled drugs in secondary care.

Advice to patients and the national health service on the safe disposal of medicines is also made available through a variety of sources such as NHS Direct and Ask About Medicines Week.

The annual cost of medicines returned to pharmacies unused is not held centrally by the Department. It has been previously estimated that such unused medicines are probably worth £100 million per year.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reason a full regulatory impact assessment was not carried out on the proposals in her Department's consultation document Arrangements for the remuneration of services relating to appliances within Part IX of the Drug Tariff; [135194]

(2) what methods her Department used to come to the conclusion that the proposals outlined in the document Arrangements for the remuneration of services relating to appliances within Part IX of the Drug Tariff would not change the market structurally; and which (a) dispensing appliance contractors, (b) trade associations and (c) industry analysts were consulted in reaching this conclusion; [135195]

(3) for what reason the partial regulatory impact assessment on Arrangements for the remuneration of
14 May 2007 : Column 607W
services relating to appliances within Part IX of the Drug Tariff was temporarily withdrawn from the Department of Health website on Monday 26 March 2007. [135196]

Caroline Flint: The regulatory impact assessment (RIA) is a continuous process that is intended to help policy makers think through and understand the consequences of possible and actual Department interventions in the public, private and third sectors. It is also a tool to enable the Department to weigh and present the relevant evidence on the positive and negative effects of such interventions, including reviewing the impact of policies after they have been implemented.

The RIA that was published in November was a partial RIA. The intent was to give interested parties the opportunity to comment and identify potential unintended consequences of, if necessary, the impact of the proposed changes that were set out in the consultation documents relating to service provision entitled:

All responses to the partial RIA will be considered carefully and the Department will not be in a position to complete a full and final RIA until such time as the review has been concluded. At that stage a full RIA will be prepared and published.

The Department has no record of the RIA being temporarily withdrawn from the Department's website.

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