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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the downturn in the property market on the financial position of NHS trusts which have factored in profits from the sale of surplus land into their budgets; 
Mr. Bradshaw: National health service trusts develop and manage their own capital financing plans, to which the proceeds from property disposals may make a contribution. Such transactions are subject to the conditions of the property market at that time. In general, a more significant contribution is made from the cash they receive in their income for the depreciation charge in their accounts, through loans from the Department and, under certain circumstances, allocations of public dividend capital. It is for NHS trusts to manage any changes in value of proceeds from asset disposals as part of their capital and overall financial planning
The Department operates a system of delegated limits for capital investment and for property transactions for NHS trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities. A copy of the Delegated Limits for Capital Investment guidance has been placed in the Library.
Guidance to NHS organisations on all land and property transactions, including the disposal of surplus land or buildings, is given in the Departments publication, Health Building Note 00-08: Estatecode, copies of which have been placed in the Library.
Under this guidance, where property has been identified as surplus to a particular NHS organisation, it should be offered to other local trusts to determine whether the asset could be re-used by them for the provision of healthcare services, Government Departments and the local authority. This policy accords with the Governments requirement to make better use of surplus public sector land.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in which areas primary care trust commissioning is immature, as referred to on page 10 of his Department's document, Developing the NHS Performance Regime, published on 4 June 2008. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Commissioning for local health services in England is the core responsibility of primary care trusts (PCTs). It is a complex process with responsibilities ranging from assessing population needs and prioritising health outcomes to procuring products and services, and managing service providers. As such, commissioners are required to possess a wide range of skills, including robust analysis, effective stakeholder engagement and communication, financial management, strategic planning and performance management skills. The joint Department of Health and Prime Minister's Delivery Unit review of commissioning capabilities in May 2007 suggested that some PCTs perform better in some areas than others. However, there is not yet any comprehensive evidence about commissioning strengths and weaknesses nationally.
In June this year, a national commissioning assurance system was launched to hold commissioners to account through assessing their performance and rewarding development. PCTs will be assessed against commissioning skill sets, or competencies, organisational governance and health outcomes. By publishing and assessing against the competencies that make commissioning for health services world class, a clearer national picture will emerge. PCTs will also be better able to understand where their commissioning strengths and weaknesses lie and will be incentivised to access support and development resources in order to improve.
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 7 July 2008]: The Director General of the Commercial Directorate is in post until 15 July 2008. The Department remains committed to having strong commercial expertise and presence in its leadership team and decisions will be taken in due course on appropriate leadership arrangements. In the interim, Director General level leadership for the directorate will be provided by the Director General for Commissioning and System Management.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 766W, on NHS: telephone service, what the reasons are for the disparity between calls to NHS Direct (a) made and (b) forecast in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08. 
There have been significant increases in web usage across the two years with some patients choosing to access NHS Directs services through the internet rather than via the telephone;
in 2006-07 web visits increased by 52 per cent. (approximately 7 million additional visits per annum); and
in 2007-08 web visits increased by 49 per cent. (approximately 10 million additional visits per annum).
significant improvements in performance during 2007-08 have helped reduce the number of repeat callers and therefore the number of calls; and
NHS Direct include in their forecast calls to 0845 46 47 and other calls to services provided to national and local commissioners. This includes calls to the appointments line (formerly choose and book appointments line). In 2006-07 the Department overestimated calls to the appointments line when there were 520,000 calls less than the 2 million forecast.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria are used by his Department to determine whether a regulatory impact assessment should be undertaken on primary legislation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Regulatory impact assessments no longer exist as they have been superseded by impact assessments. The Department follows the criteria contained in guidance provided by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). Impact assessments are required:
for all forms of intervention (including primary or secondary legislation as well as codes of practice or guidance) where the department or regulator considers that the effect will be to increase or decrease costs for business, the public sector, third sector organisations, regulators or consumers;
when proposals would not yield an overall net change in costs and benefits but some kind of redistribution, or when there is a change in administrative costs; and
when seeking collective agreement for United Kingdom negotiating positions on European Union proposals, and also when submitting bids for primary legislation to the Legislative Programme Cabinet Committee.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects of (a) tobacco advertising and promotion and (b) displays of tobacco at the point of sale on young people's smoking behaviour; and what research has been conducted into each of these areas. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Government's recently published A consultation on the Future of Tobacco Control includes an overview of research on tobacco marketing and promotion and young people, and asks several questions of stakeholders in this area.
Dawn Primarolo: Protecting young people from smoking is a priority for the Government, and is one of the key areas of the Department's current consultation on the future of tobacco control, A consultation on the Future of Tobacco Control. Copies of the consultation have already been placed in the Library. The age of sale for tobacco was raised to 18 years on 1 October 2007. Tougher sanctions against retailers who persistently flout the tobacco age of sale law will be introduced in April 2009.
Latest information about the sources of tobacco for children who regularly smoke is published by The Information Centre for health and social care in Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Amongst Young People in England 2006. Copies of this information have already been placed in the Library.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with publishers on the implementation of the recommendation of the Platt Review on the establishment of a social care journal. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has commissioned the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) to take forward this project on its behalf. In the first phase of work, the SCIE commissioned strategic consultancy from the Central Office of Information to develop options for a new journal. A report on the outcome of this work was submitted to the Department in March 2008.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will take steps to investigate the reports by Southern Cross Healthcare that it is experiencing
higher than normal attrition rates in its residential care homes; 
(2) what contingency planning the Government have undertaken to ensure the continuance of care for the elderly in the event of Southern Cross Healthcare being unable to continue in operation as a result of its financial difficulties. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have been informed by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that it monitors care homes individually and would take action on any such information received. Regulation 37 Notification of deaths, illness and other events, of the Care Homes Regulations 2001 requires homes to notify CSCI "without delay of the occurrence of (a) the death of any service user, including the circumstances of his death".
Local authorities are responsible for managing and directing their resources in accordance with local priorities and the needs of the communities to which they are accountable. This will include ensuring continuity of care to residents for whose care they are responsible.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the median waiting time in weeks was at St. Mary's NHS Trust for (a) ordinary admissions, (b) first out-patient attendance from GP referral and (c) day case admission in each year since 2007. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Information is not held in the format requested. Data are no longer collected separately for ordinary and day case admissions but are combined for patients waiting for admission to hospital. In addition, St. Mary's NHS Trust merged with Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust on 30 September 2007 to form Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
The following table shows the median waiting times for inpatient admission and first outpatient attendance at St. Mary's NHS Trust and Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust at 31 March 2007 and at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust at 31 March 2008 and 31 May 2008. This is the latest information that is available.
|Median waiting time for inpatient admission and first outpatient attendance (weeks)|
1. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data.
2. The inpatient figures show the median waiting times for patients still waiting for admission at the end of the period stated. Inpatient waiting times are measured from decision to admit by the consultant to admission to hospital.
3. The outpatient figures show the median waiting times for patients still waiting for a first outpatient appointment following a general practitioner (GP) referral at the end of the period stated. Outpatient waiting times are measured from a GP referral to a first outpatient appointment with the consultant.
Monthly Monitoring Returnprovider based.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health which manufacturers have supplied vaccines to the
NHS; over what period of time each vaccine was supplied; and if he will make a statement. 
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