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Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many local authorities have appointed host organisations to set up local involvement networks (LINks); and what steps the Government are taking to ensure that host organisations for LINks will be in place by the September 2008 deadline. 
Ann Keen: The Government do not collect the requested data centrally. However, the Local Government Association, in partnership with the Department has compiled the following information. Local authorities (LAs), when asked when they expected to award a contract to a host organisation for the purpose of setting up a local involvement network (LINk) declared the following (as of 23 April 2008):
42 LAs had awarded a contract prior to 1 April;
22 LAs anticipated awarding a contract by the end of April;
17 LAs anticipated awarding a contract by the end of May;
21 LAs anticipated awarding a contract by the end of June;
17 LAs anticipated awarding a contract by the end of July;
five LAs anticipated awarding a contract by the end of August;
10 LAs anticipated awarding a contract by the end of September; and
three LAs responded with an unspecified deadline but anticipated that they would award a contract by September.
The Department issued two guidance documents in August 2007, designed to help LAs get ready for LINks, one of these documents contained a model contract for LAs to use as a reference. This guidance accompanied a one-off payment of £10,000 to each LA to assist them in the procurement process.
Since that time, LINk leadswho are based in LAshave received monthly bulletins updating them on LINks policy developments and giving them the practical information they need to set up a successful LINk. Further, as part of the programme of support the Department is offering for LINks, expert advisers from the NHS National Centre for Involvement (NCI) have visited LAs to provide help and advice and good practice has been shared more widely at workshops and seminars. The NCI has also produced a compendium of guidance to help support LINks implementation.
Ann Keen: The Department does not require national health service trusts to collect information to monitor compliance with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD). Local NHS trusts are responsible for implementing the EWTD as part of their health and safety obligations.
The Working Time Regulations (WTR) require employers to keep adequate records of working hours and the Department has helped to communicate these regulations through guidance. Guidance on the WTR can be found on the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reforms website at:
Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the optimum NHS commissioning strategies needed to achieve the 18 week target for (a) orthopaedic and (b) rheumatology appointments; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: The Department has published 40 18-week commissioning pathways covering the highest volume specialties, including orthopaedics and rheumatology. In addition, the Department has published the Musculoskeletal Services Framework (MSF) that demonstrates a new model of service to deliver better care, closer to home for the estimated 10 million people in the UK with bone and joint conditions.
The MSF and all commissioning pathways are available from www.18weeks.nhs.uk.
Christopher Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library copies of the (a) agendas and (b) minutes of each meeting of the Prostate Cancer Advisory Group since its inception. 
Ann Keen: Agendas of the Prostate Cancer Advisory Group (PCAG) have been placed in the Library. The minutes of PCAG meetings record decisions taken by the Group, which constitute advice to Ministers and therefore cannot be published.
Christopher Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Answer of 26 February 2008, Official Report, column 1476W, on prostate cancer: staff, if he will place in the Library a copy of each of the latest reports submitted by strategic health authorities to his Department detailing cancer networks (a) progress in meeting any milestones contained in the Improving Outcomes Guidance on Urological Cancers in the last six months and (b) likelihood of meeting future milestones on schedule. 
However, SHA returns do detail whether cancer networks have met or are on target to meet all IOG milestones. Information from the latest returns along
with relevant comments from the returns about cancer networks progress in implementing the urology IOG are in the following table.
|Improving Outcomes Guidance (IOG)cancer networks, December 2007|
|Organisation||Cancer network||Milestones met( 1)||On target||Comment 1||Comment 2|
Urology IOGRevised IOG compliant pathway signed off by Network Board and relevant CEOs and now implemented. This is based on a joint consultant appointment between Sherwood Forest NHS Trust and Derby.
Urology. Following delays to the Hatfield Cancer Centre proposals the NHS EoE has required the network to develop IOG Action Plans to designate IOG-compliant Cancer Centres. These plans will replace previously agreed interim plans with more than one MVCN Centre for each tumour site. The four new plans designating IOG compliant centres, were submitted to the Cancer Action Team in December and formal agreement is awaited.
Urology. IOG Action plan identifying IOG Compliant pathways for the population of east Suffolk/catchment population of Ipswich Hospital, following inclusion of this population in the new Anglia Cancer Network. No previous plan submitted for this population. Plan submitted to the Cancer Action in December and formal agreement is awaited. December 2007 milestone for transfer of surgery and SMDT achieved.
Urologyafter significant pressure the Royal Free finally agreed to allow centralisation of open and lacroscopic procedures at UCLH. This started in December and is successful peer review revisit of the specialist MDT took place in January 2008.
UrologyFollowing further discussion at Network Policy Board and Tumour Group level the decision has been taken to move to a single specialist centre for bladder and prostate based on the Royal Surrey site in Guildford. However because of the need to develop infrastructure including consultant cover etc. the service will not be fully IOG compliant until April 2010. However, the network is confident that a safe and effective service is being provided in the interim.
UrologyNetwork specialist MDT began in December 2007 on time. Therefore referral guidelines between local and specialist MDTs and clinical guidelines of specialist MDTs have been agreed. Transfer of surgical work has occurred as necessary. OngoingFunctioning of supraregional MDTs (penile and testicular) to be reviewed, in terms of cases referred, to ensure compliant with IOG. Missed milestones = December 2006not all clinical guidelines agreed as per quality measures. Now specialist teams in place, to be a priority.
Urology IOGhas been implemented; although the current agreed model for Gloucestershire and Herefordshire will change in 2011 with all urological services moving to a single site at Cheltenham General Hospital. This move is dependent on a earlier capital plan implementation. The Specialist MDT starts to meet weekly in mid-February. There is also a resection centre at Redditch which is part of the Three Counties and Arden Cancer Networks specialist multidisciplinary teams. Full compliance by Mid February 2008.
While the Urology SMDT was established for the Network in early 2007, there is currently a gap in clinical representation from the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch (part of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust). A further meeting has been arranged for 18 January 2008 in conjunction with Three Counties Cancer Network and the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust to review the timing of the established SMDT in order to facilitate representation from the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch. Thus while the Network is currently mostly compliant we are not fully so in respect of the Worcestershire population at this point in time.
|(1) Milestones met/on target refers to SHAs overall progress on implementation of all the Improving Outcomes Guidance.|
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