In the event of an influenza pandemic, we aim to treat anyone who shows symptoms of the influenza virus irrespective of their profession. If it becomes necessary to prioritise the influenza vaccine, that decision will have to be made in light of the available evidence at the time.
We have provided funds of £10 million to assist the national health service in developing their pandemic flu contingency plans. While we have provided these funds, it is for strategic health authorities to decide how best to allocate this funding to support pandemic planning in the light of local circumstances.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2008, Official Report, column 596W, on influenza, with which (a) public and (b) private sector bodies the Government have met at (i) the Business Forum and (ii) other ad hoc meetings to review the development of plans and disseminate good practice in the last 12 months; if he will provide details of the good practice being disseminated to these bodies; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Business Forum for pandemic influenza was formed by representatives of different business sectors, covering most areas of the Critical National Infrastructure. It has now been superseded by the Business Advisory Group on Civil Protection (BAGCP). This group works to support an open, constructive and representative relationship between Government and business in the area of civil protection as a whole, ensuring that business plays its part in identifying and managing the risk of emergencies, and maintaining world-class capabilities to respond to and recover from a wide range of emergencies. Information on the membership of BAGCP and issues considered can be found at:
To facilitate sectoral planning central Government Departments have issued best practice pandemic flu guidance and regularly meet with stakeholders to update them on the emerging situation and to provide
advice. Sector specific pandemic flu guidance is available from the Cabinet Office UK resilience website at:
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2008, Official Report, column 593W, on influenza, what progress has been made in testing the public's reactions to many issues in pandemic planning and decision-making; on what issues the reaction of the public is being tested; in what ways the reaction of the public is being tested; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: A public engagement programme started in January 2008. It was aimed at testing a range of pandemic planning issues and anticipating the public's likely response, as a means of informing communications strategies and the future implementation of the National framework for responding to an influenza pandemic.
A range of scenarios were developed based on the major dimensions of uncertainty and impact relating to a pandemic. The qualitative research consisted of one day workshops in each of the four countries within the United Kingdom. 40 members of the public attended each event, split into groups of mixed age, gender and socio-economic group. In addition, 11 in-depth interviews were undertaken in relation to hard to reach and vulnerable groups.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 5 February 2008, Official Report, column 1078W, on influenza, when he expects the audit of NHS preparedness to conclude; whether any findings have resulted from the audit to date; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the likely impact of recent changes in the Meat Hygiene Service, with particular reference to the number of abattoirs. 
Dawn Primarolo: Following a detailed review of the delivery of official controls in approved meat plants, including slaughterhouses, the Food Standards Agency Board decided last July that continuance of the level of subsidy paid to industry into the future was unsustainable, and the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) should seek to recover an increasing proportion of those costs through industry charges. At the same time, the MHS would be expected to become a more efficient organisation that will carry out its role at less cost.
Through a programme of transformation, the cost base of the MHS is being reduced from £91.3 million in 2006-07 to £75 million in 2011-12 in real terms in order to reduce the burden on industry as charge rates to businesses are increased. A new approach to charging is being developed with key stakeholders, including industry, and is taking into consideration that small and geographically isolated abattoirs may need some continuing support. Proposals for the new charging system will be subject to full public consultation, which will include a regulatory impact assessment.
Dawn Primarolo: Beef, veal and poultry meat (imported from outside the European Commission) must provide mandatory origin labelling. The Food Standards Agency has issued best practice guidance on the general provision of origin information that also covers other meats. This guidance is currently under revision, however, no changes are envisaged for the labelling of meat.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reports he has received on the pilots of the community equipment retail model; what plans his Department has to extend the pilots; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The transforming community equipment programme is currently preparing an evaluation report on the shadow running exercise for the community equipment retail model. It is expected that the evaluation report will be provided to Ministers in late spring.
One of the outputs from testing and validating an operational model through shadow running has been the creation of comprehensive implementation tools and materials. These are currently being tested by the latest sites participating in shadow running.
Mr. Bradshaw: Nurses carry out an important role in NHS Direct in assessing patients needs and, where appropriate, advising on self-care. Trained health advisors also have a role to play carrying out an initial assessment of patients needs and referring callers to nurse colleagues, other health services or giving out health information. It is important that NHS Direct has the right skill-mix to deal with a variety of health calls and so nurses will continue to be a crucial part of the organisation.
Ann Keen: The numbers of national health service dentists per 100,000 of the population are available in Table E1 of Annex 3 of the NHS Dental Statistics for England: 2006-07 report. Information is available by primary care trust and by strategic health authority, but is not available at county level, and is as at 30 June 2006, 30 September 2006, 31 December 2006 and 31 March 2007.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 25 March 2008, Official Report, columns 23-24W, on the NHS: drugs, what proportion of the profit margin achieved by pharmacy contractors was attributable to the reimbursement of category M medicines expenditure in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. 
Dawn Primarolo: According to the October 2005 and February 2006 invoice surveys, 94 per cent. of the total profit in 2005-06 came from drugs in Category M. Based on the April, July, October 2006 and January 2007 invoice surveys, this proportion is 89 per cent. These percentages use those sampled drugs actually in Category M in each month, which vary slightly between surveys.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the estimated value is of HC2 and HC3 certificates issued between 2000-01 and 2006-07 to (a) students and (b) people aged under 25 years; 
(2) how many people who applied for health cost exemptions with an HC1 form who received neither an HC2 or HC3 certificate between 2000-01 and 2006-07 were (a) students and (b) people aged under 25 years. 
Dawn Primarolo: Information is not available about the value of National Health Service Low Income Scheme certificates HC2 and HC3. It is not possible to collect data about how an individual uses their certificate.
People who apply on an HC1 may not receive either a HC2 or HC3 for three main reasons. They may fail to respond to requests for further information to enable an accurate assessment to proceed, they might have capital over the maximum limit or they may already be exempt on other grounds, for example, because they are in receipt of income support.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the total annual administrative cost was of (a) the NHS Low Income Scheme, (b) processing HC1 forms and (c) issuing HC2 or HC3 certificates in the latest period for which figures are available; 
The Prescription Pricing Division of the National Health Service Business Service Authority has advised us that the overall cost of the administration of the NHS low income scheme for England, Scotland and Wales was £3.6 million for 2006-07. In that period,
the average administrative cost, from receipt of an HC1 form, through to the issuing of an HC2 or HC3 certificate was £7.65. This also included the cost of issuing HC4 letters for those claimants not entitled to help with their health costs because their capital is in excess of the upper limit and LIS08 letters to claimants already entitled to full help with health costs, for example, because they receive income support. It is not possible to break this figure down further.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration has been given to the application for long-term funding made by developing patient partnerships; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: The Department has supported Developing Patient Partnerships (DPP) through two Section 64 specific grants since April 2003. The latest grant covering 2006-08 was conditional on the basis that DPP worked towards self-sufficiency from April 2008 by increasing their subscriber base.
The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement has recently funded research into the practicalities of undertaking marginal analysis at three national health service sites. This work will inform how both the NHS Institute and the Department advises NHS organisations in their use of Programme Budgeting. The results of this work are currently being written up, with publication in a peer-reviewed journal planned for summer 2008.
To comply with the National Statistics Code of Practice and the Protocol on Data Access and Confidentiality, the Programme Budgeting Atlas, which is hosted by the National Centre for Health Outcomes Development is not publicly available. Some of the statistics contained within the atlases are based on very small numbers of events and may, therefore, have the potential to identify individuals.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many local service provider deployments (a) of acute departmental systems, (i) in emergency care (ii) in mental health and (iii) in primary care, (b) of picture archiving and communications systems and (c) of map of medicine and portals have been made, broken down by (A) local service provider, (B) trust, (C) hospital and (D) practice. 
|Deployment of departmental systems
|Local service provider
|Number of departmental systems