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In 2008-09 11.3 million NHS sight tests were provided by primary care practitioners within the General Ophthalmic Service in England. This may not fully equate to the number of individuals who received tests, because some people may have had more than one test within the year. Further details including the breakdown of the number of tests according to the category of entitlement recorded for each patient is available in the report "General Ophthalmic Service: Activity Statistics for England and Wales Year Ending 31 March 2009" published by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care. A copy of the report is available at the Information Centre's website at:
In 2008-09, 18.4 million courses of dental treatment were provided by NHS primary dental care services in England to patients who qualified for free treatment. This will not equate to the number of individuals who received care because some people will have received more than one course of treatment within the year. Most courses of treatment will have incorporated a dental examination. Further details, including the breakdown of the number of courses of treatment according to the category of entitlement recorded for each patient, is available in the report "NHS Dental Statistics for England: 2008-09" published by the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care. A copy of the Information Centre report has already been placed in the Library.
Since dentists are no longer paid an itemised fee for each element of treatment under the new primary dental service contract arrangements introduced in April 2006, it is not possible to separately identify the cost of dental examinations.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for patients to receive the 15 key diagnostic tests in each year since the collection of these data began in 2006. 
|Median waiting times for patients waiting for the 15 key diagnostic tests (weeks) March 2006 to September 2009|
|Time period ending||Median waiting time for 15 diagnostic tests|
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 data.
Department of Health Diagnostic Waiting List Collection DM01
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to collect data on the proportion by value of all medicinal products which are herbal medicinal products; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: We have no plans to instigate collection of the data that would be necessary to make such an estimate. Herbal medicinal products are generally sold as non prescription medicines and may be supplied by a wide variety of outlets.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the effects of the risk-sharing scheme for the provision of multiple sclerosis disease-modifying drugs on the availability of other drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, including drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; 
(2) what his most recent estimate is of the cost to date of the risk-sharing scheme for the provision of multiple sclerosis disease-modifying drugs; and what estimate he has made of the total cost of the scheme over its projected lifespan; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: While we have made no formal assessment, we consider that it is unlikely the scheme has made any significant impact on the availability of other drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis. The drugs included in the scheme are used within criteria developed by the Association of British Neurologists. The national health service is obliged to fund other drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) within the terms of the appraisal guidance. Natalizumab (Tysabri) is the only other licensed medicine which has an impact on the course of the disease and has been recommended by NICE for use in the NHS.
Data from the first two years of follow-up of the monitoring cohort of the Multiple Sclerosis Risk Sharing Scheme have been collected and these data have been analysed and interpreted by an independent advisory group. A paper outlining the results is to be published shortly on the British Medical Journal's website
We estimate that the costs incurred since the scheme's inception are in the order of £350 million. This figure is made up of £200,000 a year representing the Department's 20 per cent. share of running the contract; an average £35,000 a year to meet the MS Trust's administration costs for the scheme and drug costs of around £50 million a year.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many packs of the drug Natalizumab, brand name Tysabri, have been issued in each strategic health authority area in each of the last two years. 
|Number of packs for Tysabri( 1) used by each SHA in En g land|
|(1) A pack is a 15 millilitre vial.|
1. Where less than 50 packs have been used, the figure has been suppressed to '0.0'.
2. '-' Indicates no use of the drug.
3. Totals may not add due to rounding.
4. IMSHealth do not collect data from all hospitals and there is less than 100 per cent. coverage in some SHAs.
(c) IMS HEALTH: Hospital Pharmacy Audit
Gillian Merron: The National Child Health Immunisation Standards Board last met on 22 April 2009. The draft minutes and a copy of the presentation given at the meeting have been placed in the Library. The board's scheduled meeting in October 2009 was postponed to January 2010 as a result of the introduction of the swine flu vaccination programme. Minutes are usually published after they are agreed at the board's next meeting.
NHS trusts and primary care trusts are expected to follow the model standing orders issued by the Department. These require board meetings to be held in public, although the press and public may be excluded when the board is considering confidential business, where publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest.
Monitor (the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) has issued a Code of Governance for NHS foundation trusts. This advises directors of NHS foundation trusts to follow a policy of openness and transparency in their proceedings and decision making, unless this conflicts with a need to
protect the wider interest of the public or the trust, including commercial-in-confidence matters.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Answer of 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 108W, on NHS: finance, how much will be repaid against each loan in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12, (c) 2012-13, (d) 2013-14 and (e) 2014-15. 
The size, and hence speed, of the N3 network connection is adjustable to take into account the systems and services used, and the number of staff employed, at any given national health service location. To exemplify the range of speeds delivered, large acute hospital sites are typically connected to N3 by 100 megabits per second (mbps) Ethernet services. General practitioner practice sites might receive as much as eight mbps, though typically rather less depending, among other factors, on distance from the telephone exchange.
Ann Keen: Local national health service organisations are best placed to decide what staff they need to deliver services to best meet the needs of the local populations, whether that is clinical staff such as thoracic surgeons, nurses and doctors, or non-clinical support staff including managers to help plan local services more effectively.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Information on the number and percentage of prescription items attracting a charge is set out on page 25 of the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care's "Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community: Statistics for 1998 to 2008: England", available at:
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many full-time equivalent members of staff in (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies are working on projects relating to a national non-emergency, three-digit telephone number; 
Mr. Hanson: There are currently 0.5 full-time equivalent members of staff in the Home Office who are involved with working on the policy for the '101' single national non-emergency service as part of their wider work to build public confidence in the police and their partners.
The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has one member of staff who is responsible for contact management in the police service and their remit would therefore include the 101 single non-emergency service, as part of their wider role.
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