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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) bonuses and (b) pension benefits the outgoing chief executive of Connecting for Health will accrue before leaving Connecting for Health; what severance pay he will be eligible for; and when he will have completed his notice period at the agency. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The outgoing director general of Connecting for Health will be stepping down from his role in the Department and he will not be eligible for severance pay. A final day of service has not been agreed between the Department and the director general and dependent upon his last day of service this will determine eligibility for bonus payments. The director general for Connecting for Health will continue to accrue pension benefits under the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme in the usual way until his final day of service.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the new Chief Executive of Connecting for Health will be empowered to renegotiate contracts with local service providers; 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Chief Executive of NHS Connecting for Health is accountable, through the national health service Chief Executive, to Ministers for the strategic direction of the national programme for information technology and for management of the contracts between the Department and local service providers. The programme contracts provide appropriate mechanisms for negotiating contract changes where that is necessary.
Responsibility for local implementation, and realising the benefits of the technology, rests with the strategic health authority (SHA) chief executives as senior responsible owners for the programme within the NHS. In this way SHAs, together with NHS trusts and primary care trusts, are able to participate in the choice of systems and services, and in the planning and timing of deployments to better match the programme to local NHS priorities.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what team was put on standby to take over iSoft in the case of Connecting for Health exercising its step-in-rights; and at what cost the team was put on standby. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Step-in rights are one of a number of provisions in the contracts between NHS Connecting for Health and its prime contractors under the national programme for information technology whose exercise is reserved, on an exceptional basis and in the event of certain critical circumstances, for the purpose of maintaining continuity of delivery and service for the NHS.
Action was taken to exercise this provision in relation to iSoft on a contingency basis, and a joint team of appropriately experienced NHS and private sector programme managers and software engineers identified for the purpose. There have been no standby costs, but some limited expenditure has been incurred in monitoring the circumstances surrounding the recent uncertainty over the future of iSoft. However, this has not been recorded separately and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in which areas he expects trials of the information prescription to take place; how many people will be involved in the trials; what funding has been allocated for the trials; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: Information prescription pilots are taking place in 20 areas around England in a range of health and social care settings, and they include many different health and social need conditions and needs. A full list has been placed in the Library.
Each pilot site is involving a range of service users, professionals, carers and support staff, but there are no counts of the numbers of people involved, and more people will continue to be involved as the pilots progress. The initiative in total has a funding of £1.35 million in 2006-07, and £2.5 million in 2007-08.
The 20 information prescriptions pilot sites are being assessed by an independent evaluation consortium. They will be producing a final report on
the work of the pilots in February 2008, which will be used to inform the national roll-out of information prescriptions.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he is making for the full roll-out of information prescriptions; and how much he expects the full roll-out of information prescription to cost. 
Ann Keen: The information prescriptions initiative has a funding of £2.5 million in the financial year 2007-08. Plans for full roll-out will be developed based on the learning from the 20 sites which are piloting information prescriptions.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent (a) in the NHS, (b) in each primary care trust area and (c) by each primary care trust on payoffs to staff in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1320W, on NHS: sick leave, what the average sickness absence rate for NHS staff was in each year since 2001, broken down by strategic health authority area. 
The following table shows sickness absence rates from 2001 to 2005. This is broken down by strategic health authority (SHAs) for 2003 to 2005(1). The Information Centre for health and social care advises that the quality of data is not high enough prior to 2003 to break this information down by SHA. Sickness absence rates for 2006 are not included because a refresh exercise is being undertaken. Final 2006 figures will be available in August.
(1) For previous structure of 28 SHAs. It is not possible to reproduce this for the current structure of 10 SHAs.
|n/a = Not applicable, sickness/absence data are not available by SHA area prior to 2002.|
1. Data for 2002 are of insufficient quality to produce data at a SHA level.
2. Sickness absence rate is defined as the amount of time lost through absences as a percentage of staff time available.
3. This does not cover maternity leave, carers leave or any periods of absence agreed under family friendly/flexible working policies.
4. General Practitioners and their staff are not included in the aforementioned figures.
5. Figures for strategic health authority areas are an average of all primary care trusts, other trusts and the strategic health authority organisations in that area.
6.Figures are for the calendar year.
The Departments Sickness/Absence survey 2000-04
The Information Centre for health and social care sickness/absence survey 2005
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