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18 Feb 2008 : Column 284W—continued

Consent to Medical Treatment: Mentally Ill

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued on the circumstances under which (a) the Commission on Social Care Inspection and (b) healthcare workers may conduct intimate medical examinations on those with mental incapacities without the consent of guardians ad litem; under what authority such examinations are performed; and if he will make a statement. [186498]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Mental Capacity Act 2005 , which came fully into force on 1 October 2007, sets out a statutory framework for making treatment decisions
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for people who lack the capacity to make such decisions themselves. The Act establishes overarching statutory principles governing these decisions, setting out who can make them and when. It sets out the legal requirements for assessing whether or not a person lacks capacity to make a decision.

Where a person lacks the capacity to make a decision for themselves, any decision must be made in that person’s best interests. The Act introduced a duty on the national health service to instruct an independent mental capacity advocate in serious medical treatment decisions when a person who lacks capacity to make a decision has no one who can speak for them, other than paid staff. The Mental Capacity Act allows people to plan ahead for a time when they may not have capacity to make their own decisions by appointing an attorney to make treatment decisions on their behalf or by making an advance decision to refuse medical treatment. Further guidance is available in the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice.

The Commission on Social Care Inspection (CSCI) does not perform medical examinations. CSCI inspects care providers and does not examine or inspect actual users of services.

Dentistry: Databases

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department uses the General Dental Council dental list to send its communications to dentists. [185789]

Ann Keen: Generally, we make arrangements with the NHS Business Services Authority which has contact details of all dentists with contracts to provide national health service primary care dental services. If however a communication was of interest to all dentists, for example advice on the control of cross-infection in dental practice, we would use the General Dental Council’s register.

Departmental Data Protection

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether personal data for which his Department is responsible is (a) stored and (b) processed overseas; and if he will make a statement. [176020]

Mr. Bradshaw: A limited amount of personal data for which the Department of Health is responsible is stored overseas, and some is processed overseas. This includes national health service payroll and financial systems where the NHS Business Services Authority, an arms length body of the Department, operates a service on behalf of NHS trusts, storing data in the UK but processing pay and finance forms in India under strict data protection controls. The Business Services Authority also uses overseas resources as part of a system for inputting details of NHS dental treatments.

The Department is also responsible for NHS patient data managed by NHS Connecting for Health, but none of this data is stored or processed overseas. The Department is not responsible for patient or other personal data managed by NHS trusts and health authorities.


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Departmental guidance requires measures to be taken to ensure such processing is compliant with our obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998. Reviews are currently in hand, related to the wider government review of data handling arrangements, to confirm that those measures are adequate.

Departmental Freedom of Information

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many requests were made to his Department under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each year since 2005; and how many requests were refused. [183752]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government have published two annual reports that contain statistical information about how many requests have been received by monitored bodies (including central Government Departments) and how many have been refused.

These reports can be found at:

Data is currently being collected across monitored bodies in order to produce the 2007 annual report and Q4 Monitoring report, however, Q1-Q3 Monitoring reports of 2007 can be found at:

Departmental Marketing

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what products featuring departmental or Government branding were procured by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last five years. [179790]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department advises against the use of departmental branding on products, other than on occasional low value promotional items to support specific internal initiatives or conferences. Any such items are procured by individual teams within the Department and the Department does not hold central records on which items were procured and at what cost. To provide this information would therefore incur disproportionate cost.

The two agencies that receive funding from the Department are the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA).

The MHRA has produced low cost branded items in the last five years, these were: mugs, pens, coasters, carrier bags, back massagers, tins with jelly beans, mouse mats and stress balls. All these items have been produced specifically for special events such as conferences, including the United Kingdom Presidency events in 2005, and events to promote the General Practice Research Database and the reporting of adverse incidents and faulty devices. This is part of MHRA's role in protecting public health.

We are informed by NHS PASA that they have not produced or issued any products featuring departmental or government branding in the last five years.


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Departmental Pay

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many civil servants in his Department and its agencies received bonuses in each year since 2002. [178959]

Mr. Bradshaw: The figures provided in the following table include bonuses paid to senior civil servants under pay arrangements common across the civil service and special bonuses paid under schemes operated by the Department and its agencies.

Senior civil service bonuses reward excellent performance during the year, based on a judgment of how well people perform relative to their peers. This covers the extent to which objectives are met and how they are achieved, and has regard to how leadership behaviours and professional skills are demonstrated and how stretching objectives are.

Special bonuses are awarded for a number of different reasons, the most common of which are an outstanding contribution in a particularly demanding situation, job loading becoming temporarily very heavy, a high level of commitment and resolution to get a job done, special efforts to produce results, cover for a high level of absence, and a contribution over and above what would normally be expected for the job and of the person or team concerned. Special bonuses can be paid either to individuals or to a group or team of staff at any point in the year, and only for additional duties undertaken which will not be recognised through annual pay awards.

The figures presented for 2007-08 are up to December 2007.

The Department changed its payroll provider in 2003-04. Information on performance bonus payments prior to 2004-05 is only available from individual payslips. To retrieve this information would therefore involve disproportionate cost.

Numbers of staff receiving bonuses
Year in which bonuses were paid Department DH Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency

2007-08

434

215

15

2006-07

420

377

78

2005-06

581

226

55

2004-05

679

(1)

6

2003-04

(1)

(1)

2

(1) Not available.

Departmental Sustainable Development

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department is working towards an accredited certified environmental management system for (a) its whole estate and (b) some of its buildings. [181319]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not have a certified system for its core administrative estate.

The Department's NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency has an environmental management system certified to ISO14001.


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Departmental Vehicles

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many vehicles were (a) owned and (b) purchased by his Department in each of the last 10 years. [183294]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Number of vehicles owned and purchased by the Department during each of the last 10 years are shown in the following table.

Year ending 31 March Number of vehicles owned Number of vehicles purchased

1999

17

0

2000

17

0

2001

12

0

2002

2

0

2003

37

37

2004

63

26

2005

9

0

2006

6

0

2007

3

0

February 2008

2

0


These vehicles were owned by the Department through outright purchase. During 2005, ownership and management responsibility for 47 vehicles transferred to NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency, and seven transferred to the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

Employment Agencies

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department paid to recruitment agencies in relation to departmental appointments in each year since 1997. [184912]

Mr. Bradshaw: Because of the way in which financial data is coded in the Department's accounting system, it is not possible to extract the specific information required from the overall costs of appointments. This could be established only from a manual examination of invoices, which would incur disproportionate costs.

Family Practitioner Services: Enfield

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many GP surgeries are open out of hours in (a) Enfield North constituency and (b) Enfield Borough. [178677]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is not held centrally. The hon. Member may therefore wish to approach the chief executive of Enfield PCT for information on number of surgeries which are open out of hours.

Primary care trusts (PCTs) now have a legal responsibility to ensure that they provide, or secure provision of out of hours services for their local population. NHS London has advised officials that Enfield PCT is in the process of trying to agree extended opening hours with all its practices.


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Food: Labelling

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to industry of implementing the Food Standards Agency's guidelines on the provision of allergen information on non-prepacked foods. [185961]

Dawn Primarolo: Given the voluntary nature of the guidance, the exact cost to businesses is difficult to quantify. Businesses may adopt the changes over time and in a way that is appropriate to the size and type of the particular business. They may chose different ways of providing the information to the customer from written means such as point of sale notices, product labelling or menu descriptions to verbal information, which will have differing costs.

The regulatory impact assessment was compiled during the development of the Food Standards Agency guidance package and is published on the Agency's website at

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements his Department has made to monitor the effectiveness of recent Food Standards Agency voluntary best practice guidance on the provision of allergen information for non-prepacked foods; and over what timescale such arrangements will operate. [185962]

Dawn Primarolo: The Food Standards Agency is monitoring the take up of the guidance package by food business operators. It will follow this up in a year’s time to evaluate awareness of food allergy issues in the
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non-prepacked foods sector, a key objective of the guidance among food businesses.

General Practitioners

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which general practice surgeries (a) he and (b) the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Exeter, have visited in an official capacity since June 2007; and on what dates. [185992]

Mr. Bradshaw: Since June 2007 the Secretary of State has visited Churchill Medical Centre, Kingston in London. Since June 2007, I have visited: St Bridge Practice, Gloucestershire (twice); Fishponds Health Centre, Bristol; Wood Lane Surgery, Hornchurch, Essex; Chadwell Heath Health Centre, Romford, Essex; Bromley by Bow Centre, London; Great Oaks GP Practice, Weymouth and Calne Health Centre in Wiltshire.


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