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31 Mar 2009 : Column 1094W—continued

Ex-servicemen: Rehabilitation

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much the Government has spent on alcohol and drug addiction treatment for service veterans in each of the last five years; [267380]

(2) what recent assessment has been made of the level of demand for drug and alcohol addiction treatment for service veterans; and if he will make a statement. [267381]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for determining their local health needs and priorities, including those for service veterans, and providing services to meet these needs and priorities and are free to decide how much to spend on alcohol and drug services.

The cost of alcohol treatment, including that for addiction, is met through national health service mainstream expenditure in line with local needs and priorities and is not collected centrally.

Since 2001, the Department and the Home Office have provided specific resources for drug treatment in the form of the pooled drug treatment budget (PTB). This funding is allocated to the 149 drug action teams across the country to use, along with local mainstream funding, to provide for treatment and services according to the specific needs of each locality. £406 million has been made available by the Government in 2009-10 specifically for drug treatment through the PTB.

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The Operating Framework for the NHS requires PCTs and providers, when commissioning services, to take account of military personnel, their families and veterans in their area. It asks PCTs to assure themselves that their services do not disadvantage these groups in terms of their ability to access timely health care or dental services.

Folic Acid

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence relating to folic acid and cancer risk his Department has published in 2009; and when he expects the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to publish its final advice on folic acid and cancer risk. [267884]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has not recently published any new evidence relating to folic acid and cancer risk. An Expert Group comprising members of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), members of the Committee on Carcinogenicity and other invited experts, are currently considering new evidence on temporal trends in colo-rectal cancer incidence in the United States and Canada. Mandatory folic acid fortification was introduced in these countries in 1998. The expert group is currently awaiting results of relevant recently completed and ongoing trials and any further recommendations made by SACN will be considered by UK Health Departments.

General Practitioners: Finance

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioner practices received the initial incentive payment (a) component one and (b) component two in 2006-07. [267376]

Mr. Bradshaw: Practice-based commissioning (PBC) incentive schemes are administered locally by primary care trusts. The Department did not routinely monitor receipt by general practitioner (GP) practices of component one or component two of the 2006-07 PBC Directed Enhanced Service scheme.

Data from strategic health authorities show that 8,067 GP practices received an incentive scheme payment in 2006-07. This figure does not discriminate between payments under component one of the nationally negotiated PBC Direct Enhanced Service scheme or a locally agreed alternative that may have been offered. No data have been collected centrally relating to component two payments.

Health Services: Developing Countries

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made in implementing the recommendation in Lord Crisp's report on global health partnerships in respect of creating healthcare links between the UK and developing countries; and what projects have been established as a result. [267838]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government gave their response to Lord Crisp's report in March 2008. Since then the Department has been working with the Department for
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International Development to implement several recommendations from the Crisp report. This includes:

Health Services: Prisons

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of primary mental healthcare services in (a) male local, (b) male training and (c) female prisons. [267304]

Phil Hope: Since 2006, primary care trusts (PCTs) have commissioned both primary and secondary mental health services in public sector prisons. The provision is based on the health needs of the population served by an individual PCT, based on a health needs assessment, and which should be reviewed annually.

Offender Health, led by the Department, commissioned performance indicators for prison health in 2007. These standards, “Prison Health Performance Indicators”, provide reports based on current prison health services, measured against standards used in the wider national health service to promote equivalence of services in custody. These standards were reviewed in 2008 with a strengthening of areas including mental health, and new indicators, “Prison Health Performance and Quality Indicators”, were sent to PCTs for completion in March 2009.

“Prison Service Instruction 50/2007” covers the arrangements by which prisoners needing treatment in a secure NHS setting under Sections 47 or 48 of the Mental Health Act 2007 should be transferred from prisons to the NHS.

To support staff in dealing with prisoners with complex mental health problems, £600,000 has been available over three years to the nine regions across England to provide mental health awareness training for prison officers and staff. This funding is available for 2009-10, and will continue to provide staff with training and the skills to better understand and support prisoners with mental health problems in custody.

The standard of services provided in custody is monitored by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP). HMIP undertakes announced and unannounced visits, and reports are written after all visits which are based on the standards identified in the HMIP document “Expectations—Criteria for assessing the conditions in prisons and the treatment of prisoners”.

PCTs have a commissioning responsibility for prison health care and are monitored on their commissioning capability by the Healthcare Commission. The HMIP and Healthcare Commission work in collaboration, which is clearly stated in the “Expectations” document.

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Health Services: Waiting Lists

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for planned treatment in the NHS was in each region in each year since 1997-98. [267697]

Mr. Bradshaw: The in-patient mean and median waiting times by region since 1997-98 are shown in the document median and mean waiting times by region, which has been placed in the Library.

Hepatitis: Blood Transfusions

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to establish a public inquiry into the transmission of hepatitis C and HIV through blood and blood products; and if he will make a statement. [267049]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have great sympathy for those affected in this way, and are deeply sorry that this happened as a result of national health service treatment that was given in good faith. However, these events have been the subject of long-concluded legal proceedings, and the Government have established three schemes to provide financial assistance to those affected.

Lord Archer of Sandwell has recently issued the report of his independent inquiry into these issues. I have met with Lord Archer to discuss his report, and will consider his conclusions and recommendations very carefully.

Hospitals: Camden

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what spending reductions NHS London are seeking from hospitals providing services to people in Camden; and what the proposed timetable for implementation of those reductions is. [268045]

Mr. Bradshaw: Primary care trust (PCT) allocations for 2009 to 2010 and 2010 to 2011 were announced on 8 December. It is for the national health service to decide locally how best to meet the national priorities set out in the 'NHS Operating Framework' including how much funding to make available. It is for PCTs to commission the services they require to meet the health care needs of the local populations and patients they serve taking into account both local and national priorities.

However, the boards of all 31 PCTs in London have agreed in principle to support NHS London's medium term financial strategy, to address long term deficits within some NHS organisations in London. All PCTs, with the exception of those repaying historical deficits, will be contributing on average 0.8 per cent. of their resource baseline in 2009-10 and 0.75 per cent. in 2010-11 as part of the plan.

This is in line with the 2009-10 Operating Framework which states that strategic health authorities (SHAs) may determine and agree arrangements locally with their PCTs for the transfer and lodging of resources with the SHA, provided this is within the overall limits of the SHA planned surplus. SHAs will be accountable
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for the management of this flexibility. The right hon. Member may therefore wish to raise this directly with London Strategic Health Authority.

London NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts will not be contributing any of their income towards NHS London's medium term financial plan.

Learning Disability: Health Services

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many local authorities he expects to meet the deadline for the transfer of learning disability commissioning funds from primary care trusts (PCTs) to local authorities; and what procedures will apply when a local authority claims it has received a reduction in funding relative to the PCT budget. [268181]

Phil Hope: Returns have been received from over 70 per cent. of local authorities who either have agreed a figure for the amounts of learning disability social care funding to be transferred from the national health service to local authorities (LAs), for 2009-10 and 2010-11, or they are near that process. Returns are expected from everyone by 31 March.

The return requires the local authority and the primary care trust (PCT) to be in agreement so where there are disagreements then this will be highlighted by the return.

The guidance Valuing People Now: Transfer of the Responsibility for the Commissioning of Social Care for Adults with a Learning Disability from the NHS to Local Government and Transfer of the Appropriate Funding says that PCTs and LAs should come to a view on exactly what sums of money will be transferred to the LA alongside the responsibility for commissioning future services. Where there are issues of concern officials will follow this up with regional colleagues.

Medical Records: Databases

Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) records and (b) data fields there are in (i) the Population Demographics Service, (ii) the Summary Care Record, (iii) the Secondary Uses Service, (iv) the Electronic Prescription Service, (v) the Out of Hours system, (vi) the Picture Archiving and Communications system, (vii) the Radiology Information System, (viii) Choose and Book, (ix) the Detailed Care Record system and (x) the National Childhood Obesity Database. [265743]

Mr. Bradshaw: Comprehensive information on numbers of records is not available. Out of hours, radiology, and most detailed care records systems, are procured and managed locally by primary care trusts and national health Service trusts. Information is not collected centrally on the number of records these systems hold, or on the number of detailed care records held in data centres operated in connection with the national programme for information technology.

In addition, while national activity data are collected and published on an annual basis about imaging and radiodiagnostic examinations and tests, it is not possible to differentiate historic data in terms of those that were stored using picture archiving and communications systems.

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For other systems, information as at 13 March 2009, is in the following table.

System/Service Records/data items

Personal Demographics Service

A record for every patient treated by the NHS in England - approximately 70 million records

Summary Care Records

249,000 records

Secondary Uses Service

1.3 billion coded data summaries

Electronic Prescriptions Service

178 million prescription messages

Choose and Book

14.4 million bookings

National Childhood Obesity Database

2.388 million records

Information on data fields could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Systems involve the use of application software, and in some cases multiple applications, each with its own data model containing potentially thousands of data fields. There is no database function that will count the number of data fields in a database, and to do so would involve a manual process that could take many hours in each case.

NHS: Bank Services

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the implications for cancer care of the collapse of Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander. [267436]

Ann Keen: In general, the large majority of cash balances held by national health service organisations will be in Government Bank accounts with HM Office of the Paymaster General, which all NHS organisations must hold.

Funding for health services is allocated to primary care trusts (PCTs) on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. It is therefore for PCTs in partnership with strategic health authorities to commission their health services, including cancer services.

NHS: Disciplinary Proceedings

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS employees of each (a) grade and (b) length of service have been suspended in the last five years. [268096]

Ann Keen: Information on the number of national health service employees who have been suspended is not collected centrally.


Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2009, Official Report, columns 203-4W, on departmental ICT, on what occasions the exemption referred to has been applied in the NHS IT programme. [267320]

Mr. Bradshaw: The exemption referred to has been relied upon in relation to extensions to the choose and book contract, ‘spine’ contract, and the current contracts with the programme's local service providers, BT and CSC. The Department has taken appropriate legal advice in all cases.

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