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15 Jun 2010 : Column 405W—continued

Departmental Private Finance Initiative

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the revenue cost of each project sponsored by his Department under the private finance initiative over the lifetime of the project. [1824]

Mr Simon Burns: The information in respect of the private finance initiative (PFI) schemes has been placed in the Library. The list shows all national health service trusts, NHS foundation trusts and primary care trusts with a PFI contract with the name and location of the scheme; the capital value; the length of the contract and the annual unitary charge (which are uprated annually for inflation), and which comes from revenue budgets.

General Practitioners: Standards

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to reduce the number of targets which GPs are expected to meet. [2123]

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Mr Simon Burns: We have made it clear that the national health service is to focus on securing improved health outcomes for patients rather than on top-down process targets that do not lead to improvements in patient health. We will be discussing with the profession and their representatives what this means for existing general practitioner contractual arrangements over the coming months.

Health Bill

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his timetable is for introduction and consideration of the Health Bill. [2124]

Mr Simon Burns: As announced in the parliamentary debates on the Queen's Speech, the Government will seek to introduce a Health Bill in the autumn.

Health Services: EU Action

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy on the proposed EU cross-border health directive is; what assessment his Department has made of its effect on the NHS; and what consultation he intends to undertake on this matter prior to the agreement of any EU directive. [1752]

Anne Milton: The Government, along with many other European Union member states, support the idea of codifying existing European Court of Justice case law relating to article 56 of the treaty on the funding of the European Union. The Government's assessment of the Council of Ministers draft of the EU cross-border healthcare directive is that it delivers a number of key aims as follows:

The Department launched a consultation on the European Commission's proposals for a directive on the application of patients' rights in cross-border health care in October 2008 and published the response in April 2009. A partial impact assessment was also published in October 2008, which estimated that demand was low and therefore the cost to the NHS would be limited. Further consultation will follow when a final directive is agreed with the European Parliament.

Mental Health Services

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting times for people assessed as requiring cognitive behavioural therapy; [2599]

(2) what his policy is on the provision of access to (a) talking therapies and (b) cognitive behavioural therapy for those diagnosed with severe mental health problems. [2600]

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Mr Burstow: We have set out, in "Our Programme for Government", a commitment to ensure greater access to talking therapies to reduce long-term costs for the national health service. This is a clear public health priority for us and we are currently working to identify how we will take forward this commitment.

Psychological therapies can be a key element of the treatment of people with severe and enduring mental health conditions, particularly when these conditions are experienced alongside depression and anxiety disorders. In these cases, the delivery of cognitive behavioural therapy and other National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence-compliant therapies is the recommended treatment. Services for these clients is largely provided by psychology departments in specialist mental health trusts. The implementation of "improving access to psychological therapies" services for people in community settings with mild to moderate conditions will reduce the number of referrals to specialist mental health trusts and enable them to focus on providing services to those with severe and enduring mental illness.

Mental Health Services: Children

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that children with a dual diagnosis of a mental health problem and learning disability have both diagnoses recorded in the (a) child and adolescent mental health services commissioning process, (b) children and young people's plans and (c) children's health needs assessments. [884]

Mr Burstow: It is for local partners to agree how best to record and reflect in the processes for commissioning of child and mental heath the needs of those children with both a mental health problem and a learning disability.

Current guidance states that each local Children and Young People's Plan must identify action to improve outcomes for children, including physical and mental health and emotional well-being, with particular reference to the needs of children with disabilities. These will inform the services that are commissioned.

Children's health needs assessments and the Children and Young People's Plan feed into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) commissioning process.


Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his plans are for the future of strategic health authorities. [1894]

Mr Simon Burns: The coalition agreement made clear that the Government intend to establish a new independent NHS Commissioning Board, to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidelines.

The NHS Commissioning Board will combine functions currently provided by the Department and strategic health authorities (SHAs), and deliver these in a much more streamlined way. The NHS Commissioning Board will exercise its functions through the regional offices that will report directly to the chief executive.

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In the meantime, SHAs will continue to have a vital role in delivering financial control and performance, and driving improvements in quality and productivity.

NHS: Finance

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding he plans to allocate to hospitals for the purpose of providing patient care for the first 30 days after discharge as a consequence of the proposals announced on 8 June 2010; and if he will make a statement. [2081]

Mr Simon Burns: At this early stage, it is not possible to provide the detailed financial information requested.

Plans for the implementation of this policy, which is designed to better align payments in the national health service to drive up the quality of care that patients receive, will be progressed over the coming months. Issues relating to financial flows will be addressed as part of this work.

NHS: Standards

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which datasets were used to measure primary care trust performance against local indicators in the world class commissioning assurance process; and if he will publish such datasets for the outcome indicator (a) mental health patients in employment, (b) access to psychological services, (c) reduce acute inpatient admissions to mental health units, (d) adults in contact with secondary mental health services in settled accommodation, (e) health improvement in deprived areas, (f) falls and (g) 28 day unplanned readmission; [1619]

(2) which datasets are used to measure primary care trust world class commissioning scores; and if he will publish these datasets available for the outcome indicator (a) delayed transfers of care, (b) under 18 conception rate, (c) deaths from chronic liver disease, (d) suicide and injury undetermined intent mortality rate, (e) drug treatment waiting times, (f) percentage drug users effective treatment, (g) rate of hospital admissions per 100,000 for alcohol related harm and (h) percentage of all deaths that occur at home. [1620]

Mr Simon Burns: World class commissioning (WCC) assurance assesses primary care trusts (PCTs) commissioning capabilities across three elements; outcomes, competencies and governance.

PCTs have selected up to eight health outcomes as priorities for their local population. The majority are selected from a national list with up to three defined locally. The national list of outcome measures is contained in the "World Class Commissioning Assurance Handbook, 2009-10", copies of which have been placed in the Library. In addition, two outcomes are set for all PCTs: reducing health inequalities and increasing life expectancy.

The WCC health outcome data is available for PCTs and other national health service professionals via the NHS Information Centre. There are no plans to publish these datasets nationally.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure consistency of standards between primary care trusts. [1684]

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Mr Simon Burns: The Department will set out proposals on the future role and functions of primary care trusts in due course.

Respite Care

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether it is his policy to ring-fence funding allocated to respite care; and if he will make a statement; [2270]

(2) what his policy is on the provision of respite care for carers. [2271]

Mr Burstow: This Government recognise that breaks from caring is one of the top priorities for carers in terms of the sort of support they want.

Resources allocated for carer support by the previous Government was not ring-fenced. We are examining how effectively existing arrangements are being implemented. We are currently analysing information from strategic health authorities about the priority accorded to supporting carers by primary care trusts (PCTs). In addition, we will consider how local authority direct payments and personal budgets can be used in ways that enable both carers and the people that they care for to access community support, including respite.

It is this Government's policy to enhance freedom for local government and PCTs as much as possible by reducing the ring-fencing of monies, freeing up resources to concentrate on local priorities and the delivery of essential frontline services. However, it is important that local government and PCTs ensure that they account locally for the priorities they determine.

Social Services: Kirklees

Simon Reevell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the quality of adult social care provision in the Kirklees local authority area. [2320]

Mr Burstow: The assessment of the quality of adult social care provision locally is the responsibility of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), as regulator of health and adult social care services.

We are informed by CQC that it considers that Kirklees council is performing well in delivering adult social care outcomes for people in its area. A copy of CQC's most recent performance report for the council-for 2008-09-has been placed in the Library.

CQC also regulates individual social care providers in the Kirklees area. It publishes quality ratings for all individual social care services in its online directory of care services. This is available at:

Swine Flu: Disease Control

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total gross expenditure by his Department was on the purchase of (a) anti-viral drugs and (b) vaccines to combat swine influenza in the last 18 months. [2130]

Anne Milton: The Department's spend on antivirals and vaccines for pandemic influenza preparedness and the swine flu outbreak in the last 18 months amounts to
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approximately £570 million. We are not able to break down this number due to confidentiality clauses in our contracts with the various manufacturers.

This expenditure includes stocks of antivirals which continue to be available for future pandemic preparedness. It also includes stocks of H1N1 vaccine which are being held as a strategic reserve.

Leader of the House

Adjournment Debates

Chris Bryant: To ask the Leader of the House (1) if he will make provision for hon. Members to submit applications for adjournment debates online; [2120]

(2) if he will make provision for hon. Members to table and add their names to early-day motions online. [2121]

Sir George Young: The arrangements for submitting applications for adjournment debates, and for tabling and adding names to early-day motions, are a matter for the House.

Any proposals to extend further the facilities for hon. Members to initiate or participate in the proceedings of the House online would have to incorporate robust authentication procedures, as well as demonstrating value for money.

Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Leader of the House what his most recent estimate is of the extent of unfunded pension liability of the Parliamentary Contributary Pension Fund. [1910]

Sir George Young: The Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) is a funded pension scheme, with assets totalling £367.2 million, at last valuation, whose costs are met from contributions from members of the Fund, investment returns and an Exchequer contribution.

The Government Actuary undertakes a triennial valuation in which he makes recommendations as to the necessary Exchequer contribution to the PCPF, in order to finance the pensions for future service of Members, Ministers and Office Holders, and any deficit. The Exchequer contribution can rise or fall depending on factors such as assumed investment returns and longevity assumptions.

The deficit (unfunded liability) calculated as at 1 April 2008 (the date of the last valuation) was £50.9 million.

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