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10 Dec 2007 : Column 331W—continued

NHS: Finance

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 615WA, on NHS finance, for what reason additional cash limits were given to NHS trusts in 2006-07. [169871]

Mr. Bradshaw: In 2006-07 the informal system of cash brokerage and planned support that had previously operated across the national health service, was replaced for primary care trusts (PCTs) by a formal system of cash limit additions. The requirements for cash limit additions were identified in conjunction with strategic health authorities, and were provided to finance historic working capital issues that had previously been financed informally through the cash brokerage system. Cash limit additions will be reversed over time in line with financial recovery in the PCTs.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 615WA, on NHS finance, which cash limit deductions were applied to NHS trusts in 2006-07, broken down by trust. [169872]

Mr. Bradshaw: Cash limit adjustments were not applied to national health service trusts in 2006-07 in respect of these transactions.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his written ministerial statement of 22 November 2007, Official Report, column 145WS, on primary care trusts (revenue allocations), for what reason the extension has been granted; what steps he has taken to allow primary care trusts to enter into three year agreements with local partners; and what assessment he has made of any risks primary care trusts may incur as a result of the delay in their funding settlement. [169877]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) has requested additional time to finalise its review of the weighted capitation formula to ensure that its proposed recommendations on changes to the formula are as robust as possible. This extension was granted to ACRA, as it is important that the allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs) are fair and equitable.


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As a result of granting ACRA an extension to its work programme, it was not possible to announce three-year allocations to PCTs in time to give them sufficient planning time. Therefore, it was decided to make a one-year allocation to PCTs for 2008-09.

The operating framework, due to be published in December, will set out the national priorities for the year ahead in the context of the comprehensive spending review (CSR), which set out the high level priorities for the period 2008-09 to 2010-11. Together with the high level growth figures announced in the CSR, this should allow each PCT to make reasonable assumptions for their longer term plans.

Therefore, even though PCTs have received a one-year allocation only for 2008-09, they should still be able to plan financially and it should not prevent PCTs from entering into three-year agreements with local partners.

The announcement of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 revenue allocations will be made by summer 2008.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 22 November 2007, Official Report, column 145WS, on primary care trusts (revenue allocations) what the terms of reference are of the review of the formula in support of revenue allocations. [169952]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) continually oversees the development of the weighted capitation formula. Prior to each revenue allocation round, ACRA carries out a work programme to support the allocations to primary care trusts. The main items on ACRA's current work programme cover:

ACRA's terms of reference are:

ACRA is taking forward its work programme under these terms of reference.

In addition, the objective for the review of the need element of the formula is to contribute to:

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his (a) highest and (b) lowest estimate is of the likely NHS surplus in 2007-08. [170181]

Mr. Bradshaw: As stated in ‘The Quarter’, released on 30 November 2007, the projected aggregate surplus for national health service organisations, excluding foundation trusts, at quarter two is £1,789 million (£1.789 billion).

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to manage the risk to the NHS of the drop in its funding growth rate from 2008-09. [170195]


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Mr. Bradshaw: There are a number of factors that mean the national health service is well positioned to manage with a reduced rate of funding growth while continuing to deliver significant improvements to patient care.

In the years covered by the 2007 comprehensive spending review (2008-09 to 2010-11) the NHS will receive real terms growth of 4 per cent. per year. This is significantly higher than the long-term average of around 3 per cent., so we should not consider the next three years as a period of low growth. On top of the growth in funding, the NHS will deliver annual average value for money improvements of 3 per cent., and the cash released will be available to improve patient care. The Department will publish the value for money agreement in December, which will support local delivery of the savings. In addition, the NHS is now in a sound financial position and better able to cope with reduction in the growth in funding.

NHS: ICT

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who has been the senior official responsible for user involvement in the National Programme for IT/Connecting for Health Programme since its inception, with the periods for which each official was responsible. [172487]

Mr. Bradshaw: Since May 2005 to date, Mr. Richard Jeavons, Director of Service Implementation and senior responsible officer (SRO) for service implementation has had this responsibility, reporting to the NHS Chief Executive and overall SRO for the national programme for information technology. Previously the role was filled by Mr. Alan Burns (November 2004 to May 2005), and Professor Aidan Halligan (April 2004 to November 2004). Prior to April 2004 responsibility for arrangements for engaging with key stakeholders across the NHS was part of the responsibility of the then overall SRO for the programme, Sir John Pattison.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the date was on which each renegotiation of his Department's Connecting for Health contracts was completed; and what the additional costs were arising out of each renegotiation. [169955]

Mr. Bradshaw: There has been no renegotiation of primary supplier contracts let by NHS Connecting for Health under the national programme for information technology. There have been ‘resets’ of the contracts within the original terms and conditions to accommodate changes in subcontractor, development and deployment dates and, in one case, novation of the contract. All these changes continue to support the evolving needs of the national health service, but there has been no substantial change in contract scope or risk allocation. Suppliers continue to be responsible for delivering the overall requirements against the original terms and conditions, and within the original costs.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made on its review of health informatics; with which (a) individuals and (b) organisations his Department has
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had discussions for the purposes of contributing to the review; what the content was of these discussions, when he intends to publish the results of the review; whether he intends to consult on any recommendations contained in the review; what interim findings have emerged from the review to date; and if he will make a statement. [170093]

Mr. Bradshaw: The informatics review is in the initial stages of analysing collected data and information, and the process of consulting stakeholders has begun. To date the review team has met with staff from the information centre for health and social care, the Department's Information Services Division and NHS Connecting for Health, suppliers, and the national health service to discuss informatics issues and by its conclusions will have consulted a wide range of other stakeholders.

The informatics review is planned to report in alignment with the next stage review being led by my noble Friend the Lord Darzi. So far there have been no interim findings.

NHS: Negligence

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to answer question 167022, on the NHS Litigation Authority, tabled by the hon. Member for Billericay on 19 November. [172850]

Ann Keen: A reply was given on 6 December 2007, Official Report, column 1438W.

NHS: Personal Records

Jeremy Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that the version of the patient record that can be accessed by the patient can be invisibly edited so that selected information can be removed at the patient's request, while remaining visible in the summary care record accessible to clinicians. [169178]

Mr. Bradshaw: We are aware that both clinicians and patients may find functionality of this nature desirable and we are considering whether the clinician's sealed envelope functionality that is to be deployed in detailed care records might also be used in the summary care record.

NHS: Procurement

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions over the last 12 months NHS suppliers have been required to resupply stock at their own expense. [170615]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not collect this information centrally.

Suppliers to the national health service through NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency or NHS Supply Chain national framework agreements are required to adhere to terms and conditions. It is part of these standard terms and conditions that if goods are not delivered within specified timescales, the NHS body that placed the contract is able to purchase replacement
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goods from an alternative source and recover any difference in cost from the contracted supplier.

It is also possible that suppliers may be asked to re-supply goods at their own expense, for example where the original goods supplied are damaged, faulty or sub-standard.

NHS: Property

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS properties are vacant and awaiting final disposition. [170624]

Mr. Bradshaw: This information is not collected centrally.

NHS: Reform

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to make (a) agendas and (b) other papers of each Government Professional Health Reform Implementation Programme work stream meeting available on his Department’s website in advance of each such meeting. [169775]

Mr. Bradshaw: All working groups have agreed to make agendas, papers and minutes of meetings available after working group meetings, where agreed by working group members. It would not be appropriate to publish papers widely before members of working groups have had the opportunity to comment on them.

NHS: Repairs and Maintenance

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions NHS contractors have been required to provide repairs at their own expense over the last 12 months. [170539]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Nutrition: Medical Equipment

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether nutritional screening equipment for use in the NHS is purchased through the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency. [170077]

Mr. Bradshaw: Nutritional screening equipment for use in the national health service is not purchased through the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency.

Obesity

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Quality Outcome Framework for GPs will be reviewed; whether there are plans to make tackling obesity part of the framework; and if he will make a statement. [171690]

Mr. Bradshaw: Quality and Outcome Framework (QOF) is kept under ongoing review and discussions between the General Practitioner Committee (GPC) and NHS Employers (NHSE) over contractual matters, including QOF continue to take place. Arrangements for improving the health of patients and delivering
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heath services for key components of the general practitioner contract, are covered by essential, additional and enhanced services as well as the QOF. Decisions on the most appropriate interventions detailed by general practice form part of the on going negotiations between GPC and NHSE. It would be inappropriate for the Department to pre-empt the outcome of those confidential contract discussions.

Paramedical Staff: Private Sector

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on underwriting indemnity insurance for private sector paramedic providers; and if he will make a statement. [170544]

Mr. Bradshaw: There is no departmental policy held on underwriting indemnity insurance for private sector paramedic providers. This is a matter for the private ambulance providers to manage themselves.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on competition in service provision by paramedics; and if he will make a statement. [170545]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has not issued guidance on competition in service provision by paramedics. It is up to the NHS Ambulance Trust locally to decide how to resource its front-line response to meet demand.

The Department has however made clear that in commissioning patient transport services, contracts/service level agreements with providers should set out standards and requirements relating to a range of areas to ensure high quality, safe services.

Part IX Drug Tariff

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many errors, inaccuracies and omissions were identified by industry within his Department of Health's new part IX drug tariff categories; and if he will make a statement. [171196]

Mr. Bradshaw: Following publication of arrangements under the Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of stoma and incontinence appliances and related services to Primary Care revised proposals on 6 September 2007, the Department received a number of representations that indicated that some errors highlighted in the item classification table in the November 2006 consultation had not been corrected in the latest published consultation document.

In summary, 478 editorial changes have been requested; the majority could be considered errors, for example incorrect reference codes.

In addition, 124 omissions have been identified mainly as a result of companies change of ownership during the course of this consultation.

Departmental officials are currently considering the best way to incorporate these corrections. All stakeholders will be advised once a decision has been made.


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