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NHS Foundation Trusts: Recruitment

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much has been spent on employment consultants to recruit members of foundation trusts; [137197]

(2) how much foundation trusts have spent on (a) advertising, (b) publicity and (c) public consultations since they were established. [137198]

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Andy Burnham: The information requested is not held centrally by the Department or Monitor (the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts), and is matter for national health service foundation trusts. However, the annual reports and accounts of individual foundation trusts are publicly available on Monitor’s website at:

NHS: Databases

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of the security of each database containing personal details used by the NHS. [136144]

Caroline Flint: Historically each national health service organisation has been responsible for the physical and technical security safeguards, and access arrangements, for the very many local databases containing information about patients and NHS staff. These range in scale and scope from trust-wide patient information systems, to ephemeral personal contact lists held by individual members of staff.

NHS organisations are required to comply with comprehensive guidance on information security standards set out in the NHS information governance toolkit. Performance against these standards by NHS trusts and primary care trusts is collected centrally and monitored for compliance. Legal penalties for individuals and organisations misusing personal health and other information are provided for under section 60 of the Data Protection Act 1998. NHS organisations are responsible, as employers, for the actions taken on their behalf by their employees, and for disciplining their staff when they behave inappropriately. The practice expected of NHS organisations in managing the use and protection of patient information is set out in the document, “Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice”, published in November 2003.

Access to the national systems and services being developed and delivered through the national programme for information technology is determined by the policies, processes and technology provided by the Department's NHS Connecting for Health agency. These include that a user must have a smartcard. Smartcards are issued only after identity and qualifications have been checked under arrangements that conform with the e-Government interoperability framework (eGif) level 3 standards for the registration and authentication of staff. Staff must also be registered as a member of a health care team, for example a general practitioner practice or a clinic, that the patient is registered with or has been referred to, providing that patient with care, and will then only be able to access as much information as is needed for the purpose of their role within the health care team.

Users are required to acknowledge their acceptance of the terms and conditions under which they may operate, including that smartcard will not be shared, smartcards and logged-on computers will not be left unattended, and conformity with the NHS Code of Confidentiality. Nominated information assurance leads in each organisation ensure the access controls
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are being adhered to correctly and that no unauthorised access is allowed.

The security of patient identifiable data travelling over the new NHS broadband network (N3) is further protected using various network security controls, and encryption which ensures the two end points of the communication are valid, speak the same cryptographic language, and encrypts the communication that passes between them. In addition to encryption, the network security controls include each NHS trust, and the national spine database, having a firewall to protect it. The N3 network runs intrusion detection and prevention systems alongside other network management processes. Further, all of the data centres being used for national programme systems meet the highest standards of data centre security as defined by the Communications Electronic Security Group, the information assurance arm of the Government Communications Headquarters. Regular reviews of the end-to-end security infrastructure are also undertaken to identify where industry best practice has changed or technologies improved so that these can be incorporated into the overall system.

While no system can be 100 per cent. secure, together these safeguards have been devised to provide an unprecedented degree of assurance of security for national programme systems and services, and the personal data they will contain, compared with existing local electronic systems. They are evidence of the very great importance that we attach to protecting the confidentiality of patient information. They contrast sharply with the situation with regard to paper records. As well as often being difficult to read, or inaccessible when they are needed, these are inherently insecure and can be easily lost, as exemplified by a recent case where paper copies of patient information from 2001-02 were found in second-hand filing cabinets.

NHS: Drugs

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products has undertaken research into the effectiveness of regulations on the development and licensing of orphan medicines; and whether there has been an assessment of access to these medicines for patients in the UK. [131656]

Caroline Flint: Research findings into the effectiveness of regulations on the development and licensing of orphan medicines are presented in the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) Report to the Commission in relation to article 10 of regulation 141/2000 in orphan medicinal products. It includes an assessment of access to these medicines for patients in the different member states, including the United Kingdom.

The report concludes that while COMP considers that the current legislation framework for orphan medicinal products is suitable overall to achieve public health benefits for patients suffering from rare diseases, it has identified a number of policy areas that require strengthening. COMP makes six recommendations to stimulate and foster European Union policy and makes three suggestions for action to the European Commission.

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This report is published on the website of the European Medicines Agency under document reference EMEA/35218/2005 at and is available in the Library.

NHS: Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her written statement of 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 96-98WS, on the NHS Resource Accounting and Budgeting Regime, whether income reductions as a result of the RAB regime in earlier years than 2006-07 will be reversed. [137364]

Andy Burnham: The reversals set out in the written ministerial statement of 28 March 2007 are for resource accounting and budgeting (RAB) income deductions applied to national health service trusts in 2006-07 as a result of deficits incurred during 2005-06.

Under the new rules, an adjustment will be made to the calculation of performance against statutory breakeven duty for RAB income deductions that were made in years prior to 2006-07. This means that NHS trusts will no longer have to generate a surplus to recover any part of their cumulative deficit that arose solely from the application of RAB income deductions.

NHS: Loans

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what rate of interest her Department charges on loans to NHS organisations; and how this rate is set. [138418]

Andy Burnham: All long-term loans will attract interest at a rate equivalent to the National Loans Fund (NLF) rate at the date the loan is advanced. The interest rate is determined by reference to the prevailing rate at the date the loan is drawn, as notified on the Public Works Loan Board website, at:

NLF interest rates are determined each night by the Treasury and normally take effect from the start of business on the next working day. Fixed interest rates are based on gilt yields.

NHS: Management

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the likely effects of the management of the NHS being undertaken by an independent board. [137040]

Andy Burnham [holding answer 16 May 2007]: In recent weeks, the British Medical Association has published a report on the issue of greater operational independence for the national health service, and both the King's Fund and the Nuffield Trust are currently engaged in research on this area.

Since 1997, this Government have already entrenched far greater independence in the NHS. This includes the development of foundation trusts free from Whitehall control; the creation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to provide independent advice to the NHS on the clinical and cost effectiveness of different drugs and treatments; and the institution of the independent Healthcare Commission.

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We will watch the public debate on this topic with interest, and use it in our continuing assessment of the best approach to the relationship between the Department and the NHS.

NHS: Personnel Management

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what date (a) the Information Centre and (b) her Department became aware that staff records being collected as part of the 2006 NHS Workforce Census were being double-counted; and whether there were similar problems with the collection of data in previous censuses. [137276]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Information Centre identified potential duplication in the non-medical records being collected as part of its pre-publication processing during January 2007. Further work was done to confirm, analyse and establish the scale of the duplication.

The Department was advised of the duplication as part of normal pre-publication checking processes during March.

NHS: Recruitment

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the change has been in the number of NHS posts since November 2005. [133628]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not collected centrally.

NHS: Training

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what resources were made available for the contingency plan to mitigate the operational risks of delivering modernising medical careers in 2006. [137204]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The funding allocated for modernising medical careers and medical training application system was sufficient to meet the requirements for the project in year.

NHS: Working Hours

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 30 April 2007, Official Report, columns 1514-15W, on the NHS: working hours, what the full URL is of the monitoring information published on the NHS Employers website. [137368]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The full URL is:

Obesity: Children

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many school children in the Easington constituency were classed as obese in each of the last four years. [137177]

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Caroline Flint: The specific information requested is not collected centrally. However, figures on children’s obesity prevalence by Government office region for 2002 to 2004 are available and are published in the Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England 2006 publication produced by The Information Centre for health and social care at:

Copies have been placed in the Library.

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children were treated for obesity in Easington constituency in each year since 2002, broken down by age; and if she will make a statement. [137178]

Caroline Flint: Information on children treated for obesity broken down by ages in the Easington constituency is not collected centrally.

Obesity: Hartlepool

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) children and (b) adults were classified as obese in Hartlepool constituency in each year since 1996; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce levels of obesity. [137358]

Caroline Flint: The information is not available in the format requested.

Data for Hartlepool constituency’s obesity prevalence among adults are not available. However the estimated prevalence of obesity can be given for adults in Hartlepool primary care trust (PCT) for the combined years 2000-02. This information is given in the table.

Data on childhood obesity in the Hartlepool constituency are also not available. Figures on children’s obesity prevalence by Government office region for the combined years 2002-04 are available and are published in the Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England 2006 publication produced by the information centre for health and social care at:

Table 1: E stimated prevalence( 1) of obesity among adults in Hartlepool primary care trust, 2000-02

Estimated prevalence of obesity


95 per cent. lower confidence interval


95 per cent. upper confidence interval


Comparison of estimated prevalence for obesity with national estimate(2)


(1) Please note that these data were created from the ward level estimates which can also be found on the Neighbourhood Statistics website. The PCOs were built up from aggregation of “best-fit” ward data. Since PCOs and wards are not coterminous, this information is not exact.
(2) The national estimate is derived directly from the Health Surveys for England 2000-02 (with associated confidence intervals) and therefore is not a synthetic estimate.
(3) Overlapping.
Synthetic Estimates of Healthy Lifestyle Behaviours at PCO Level, 2000-02, The Information Centre, Neighbourhood Statistics 2005

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Obesity: Surgery

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many gastroplasty procedures have been undertaken by the NHS in each year since 1997-98; and what the average cost was of a gastroplasty procedure in the latest period for which figures are available. [137390]

Caroline Flint: Data are given in the following table on gastroplasty procedures for 1997-98 to 2005-06. The data are split into two groups: one for where the procedure is for a gastroplasty and the second for where the procedure is on the stomach but the area is unspecified so it could include gastroplasty among other procedures.

Count of total gastroplasty procedures—Data for national health service hospitals England, data years 1997-98 to 2005-06
Data year Total procedures for G24.5 Antireflux operations, Gastroplasty and antireflux procedure, G30.1 Plastic operations on stomach, Gastroplasty nec and G30.2 Plastic operations on stomach, Partitioning of stomach Total procedures for G30.8 Plastic operations on stomach, Other specified and G30.9 Plastic operations on stomach, unspecified




























Note: The data provided is not related to a count of patients treated. As the question stated, these are data for the number of procedures taking place, and it may be possible for patients to have more than one of the procedure codes attached to their episode.

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