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Christopher Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) median and (b) mean waiting times for patients (i) waiting for a first outpatient attendance and (ii) waiting to see a consultant urologist for a first outpatient attendance were based on (A) Korner and (B) hospital episodes statistics data in each year since 1997-98. 
|Korner aggregate returns||Hospital Episode Statistics|
|Korner aggregate returns||Hospital Episode Statistics|
|n/a denotes not available. Sources: 1. Hospital Episode Statistics; Outpatients, The Information Centre for Health and social care provider based). 2. Korner returns: QM08R quarterly return from primary care trusts (commissioner based).|
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many percutaneous coronary interventions took place in the NHS using a bare metal stent in (a) England and (b) each NHS strategic health authority in each of the last five years; 
Ann Keen: The information requested is not available in the format because of variations in the operational procedure codes that Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) use to collect their data.. Any data shown for other parts of the United Kingdom represent patients resident in those areas but treated in England.
Dawn Primarolo: This information is not held centrally. Funding for hospices to provide medicines for people in receipt of end-of-life care is included in primary care trusts unified allocations. Hospices should be reimbursed the full agreed pharmacy costs including costs incurred for medicines to be supplied, dressings, appliances and chemical reagents listed in part IX of the Drug Tariff and associated professional costs for treating patients for whom the hospices have clinical responsibility through contractual arrangements.
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department publishes guidance on fire safety for the national health service in England in the Firecode suite of documents. This requires that all NHS organisations in England comply with legislation relating to fire safety. Firecode is cited as best practice in the Building Regulations 2000 (Approved document B Volume 2 Buildings other than dwelling houses 2006).
The particular volume of Firecode guidance dealing with composite panels, Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 05-02 Guidance in support of functional provisions for healthcare premises suggests that in order to identify an appropriate selection of composite panels, a risk assessment approach should be adopted. It also states that
panel in-fill material...should not compromise the safety of the occupants remaining in the building...wherever possible cladding with a non-combustible core should be used.
HTM 05-02 gives examples of areas where mineral fibre in-fill (inherently non-combustible) panels may be appropriate and states that the use of composite panels in other circumstances should be the subject of a risk assessment where other appropriate fire precautions have been put in place.
Hospitals are designed on the principles of progressive horizontal evacuation in the event of a fire. The guidance about the use of composite panels in hospital construction reflects the more rigorous fire safety requirements that are needed in premises where occupants are not always able immediately to vacate a building.
Ann Keen: Health care associated infections (HCAIs) are infections acquired in hospitals or as a result of health care interventions. Clean, Safe Care is a comprehensive strategy to tackle HCAIs and improve cleanliness, published on 9 January 2008. The strategy draws together recent HCAI initiatives and details new areas that national health service organisations need to consider when developing local plans to tackle infections and improve cleanliness. It emphasises the importance of a whole health economy approach as infection control strategies are only going to be successful if all parts of the NHS work closely together with the shared aim of reducing infection. The Departments improvement team is supporting primary care trusts (PCTs), as well as acute trusts, in developing a whole systems approach to the reduction in HCAIs. Our approach to setting the latest public service agreement target for Clostridium difficile supports this whole health economy approach, as local targets will be set at PCTs level as a rate per 10,000 population.
The Department has produced a focused programme to support the NHS and the independent sector in tackling HCAIs in non-acute settings, including care homes and hospices. Essential steps to safe, clean care was launched in June 2006 and revised and re-launched in June 2007. It includes a strategy for local health economies and tools and guidance on areas such as movement of patients between organisations, managing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the non-acute setting, preventing the spread of infection, urinary catheter care and enteral feeding. We have disseminated this guidance widely and will continue to revise and update the guidance in line with emerging best practice.
the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) piloting the extension of the clean your hands campaign into primary and community care;
the NPSA published The National Specifications for Cleanliness in the NHS for hospitals in 2007 and is currently in the process of producing national specifications for a variety of other health care settings such as general practitioner surgeries, health centres and clinics, and ambulances. The document is due to be launched in summer 2008;
benchmarks for the care environment concerns the environment within which the care of patients takes place. It is intended for all staff groups caring for patients across all organisations and settings, including patients homes. It includes benchmarks for best practice for a clean environment, and for in infection control;
as part of the £270 million comprehensive spending review investment into tackling HCAIs and improving cleanliness, £45 million was identified for investment in additional staff. It is for local organisations to decide the best investment to meet their needs, but this level of funding could, for example, deliver additional infection control nurses in every community in addition to specialist staff in acute trusts; and
proposals in the Health and Social Care Bill mean that the Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections is expected to apply to care homes and non-NHS providers in the future.
Ann Keen: The Department's guidance on the decontamination of medical equipment in the national health service is set out in Health Technical Memorandum 01-01: Decontamination of reusable medical devices Part A: Management and environment published in 2007 and A guide to the decontamination of reusable surgical instruments published in 2003. Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has a regulatory responsibility for the Medical Devices Regulations 2002 which control the reprocessing and re-use of medical devices CE marked for that status.
The Department has an advisory committee in this area in the form of the Engineering and Science Advisory Committee (ESAC-PR) into the decontamination of surgical instruments, including prion removal. It has also worked with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on decontamination. Both of these bodies have taken a special interest in the deactivation of prion infectivity on surgical instruments. The NICE guidance (November 2006) is available on NICE'S website at: www.nice.org.uk/guidance/index.jsp?action=byID&o=11332 and the ESAC-Pr 2006 annual report is available on the Department's website at:
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the Institute of Decontamination Sciences on the practical application of decontamination sciences in health and social care services; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: Departmental officials have regular contact with the Institute for Decontamination Sciences (IDSc). For example, the IDSc is represented on our advisory committee, the Engineering and Science Advisory Committee into the decontamination of surgical instruments including prion removal.
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