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Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The accountability and governance arrangements for NHS Professionals are managed by workforce development confederations (WDCs). WDCs are held accountable for the delivery of the implementation and ongoing performance management of NHS Professionals via the strategic health authorities.

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The objectives for NHS Professionals for 2002–03 were set out in Health Service Circular 2001–02 NHS Professionals—Flexible Organisations, Flexible Staff. A copy of the circular has been placed in the Library.

World Health Organisation Director General

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements they are advocating to ensure that the election of Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland's successor as director general of the World Health Organisation is open and transparent; what qualifications they will be rating most highly in candidates; and whether they will be seeking a commitment by candidates to the Alma-Ata declaration, Health for All.[HL279]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government will act in accordance with the constitution and the rules of procedure of WHO in regard to the process of the election of the director general of the WHO. We shall be seeking in candidates those qualities essential to running the World Health Organisation and the ability to keep health at the forefront of the international agenda. We shall be seeking a commitment to the furtherance of health in all contexts, including primary care.

Prescribing Budgets

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much prescribing budgets are being overspent by region; and to what extent this is affecting health services.[HL308]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The following table sets out the prescribing budgets notified to the Prescription Payment Authority by each strategic health authority. The 2002–03 forecast outturns are based on prescribing data from April 2002 to August 2002.

StHA2002–03 Budget (Annual amount)2002–03 Forecast outturnEstimated overspend
Avon, Gloucestershire & Wiltshire234,441,846251,450,1337.25
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire177,149,196187,893,4736.07
Birmingham and the Black Country279,405,129298,377,3836.79
Cheshire & Merseyside307,186,894319,310,0043.95
County Durham & Tees Valley149,855,777160,508,5697.11
Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire177,075,287189,340,4556.93
Cumbria & Lancashire270,446,656279,555,1713.37
Hampshire and Isle of Wight217,810,635228,772,4135.03
Kent and Medway193,147,219206,388,1846.86
Leicestershire, Northamptonshire & Rutland169,846,238176,764,2064.07
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire262,657,336282,252,8547.46
North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire200,298,268211,149,6425.42
North Central London126,773,861133,251,8985.11
North East London158,170,842164,369,1123.92
North West London199,364,629207,627,2524.14
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear178,606,617194,494,2778.90
Shropshire and Staffordshire181,846,594190,640,3594.84
Somerset & Dorset136,144,579145,503,4096.87
South East London155,495,321163,982,1505.46
South West London124,428,250131,698,2025.84
South West Peninsula195,623,079212,324,7188.54
South Yorkshire168,977,378178,111,8185.41
Surrey and Sussex314,341,183331,694,3405.52
Thames Valley212,439,426227,361,5517.02
West Yorkshire265,083,512279,448,2605.42

These forecasts are based on practice level prescribing budgets and as such do not necessarily reflect the total resource set aside locally for prescribing, as primary care trusts may hold contingency reserves.

A range of factors such as national service frameworks, newly licensed drugs and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommendations affect the growth in prescribing expenditure.

Primary care trusts manage prescribing resources along with other NHS resources as part of their unified allocations. We do not hold detailed information centrally on the local management of these unified allocations and the effects on health services.

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National Health Service Workforce

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people were employed in the National Health Service in 1997: and how many are employed in 2002.[HL338]

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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The latest census data currently available is for September 2001. National Health Service workforce figures as at September 2002 are not yet available and the vacancy survey and censuses in March 2002 did not collect a complete picture of the NHS workforce.

The figures for 1997 and 2001 are given in the following table.

NHS Hospital and Community Health Services and General Practice workforce

All NHS staff1,058,6901,167,170


Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Figures exclude agency staff


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census.

Department of Health Medical and Dental Workforce Census.

Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.

NHS IT Projects

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 7 November (WA 147), whether no spending from central government on National Health Service information technology projects and procurement has taken place over the past five years.[HL432]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Funds for information management and technology (IM&T) implementations have been included in general allocations to the National Health Service during the past five years. On two occasions specific additions have been identified for IM&T investment but that investment is additional to the on-going baseline expenditure. The total spend on IM&T across the NHS is not routinely collected.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What funds have been committed by central government to (a) the Integrated Care Records System (ICRS), (b) the National Health Service National Programme, (c) the National Health Service electronic appointment booking project, (d) electronic prescriptions and (e) NHSnet.[HL433]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Funds are being identified within the Spending Review 2002 settlement for National Health Service information management and technology (IM&T). The Department of Health is working to apportion the funds across existing IM&T priorities and the national programme. The latter will include work on all of the following: Integrated Care Records System,

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electronic booking, electronic prescriptions and enhancements to NHSnet. The amounts to be deployed will be aligned with local NHS requirements expressed in local development plans. Final decisions on how some of these services will be delivered and paid for will be made within the context of the procurement of prime service providers.

Department of Health: External Consultants

Lord McColl of Dulwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total expenditure incurred by the Department of Health on work carried out by external consultants during each of the financial years 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01 and 2001–02.[HL506]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Expenditure by the Department of Health on external consultants for each year between 1997 and 2002 is shown in the following table.

Financial Year£ million

Fluoridation of Water

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hayman on 12 May 1999 (WA 148), how the medicinal claims made for fluoridation in respect of caries prevention are legally compatible with the classification of mains water artifically fluoridated at 1 part per million as a food, in the light of the provisions of the Medicines Act 1968 and of Article 1 of European Directive 65/65 and subsequent case law. [HL515]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: When assessing whether or not a claim will affect the status of a product, the Medicines Control Agency has to consider those claims in the total context of the product. Unless the claim is directly linked to a specific product it cannot be taken into account when assessing the status of that product under medicines legislation. A food product making medicinal claims, including fluoridated drinking water, is subject to the controls of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (as amended). Those regulations prohibit medicinal claims in the labelling or advertising of food (including water), and it is an

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offence to sell food in respect of which such a claim is made or to advertise it for sale or to supply it in the course of a business. There is an exemption in the Food Safety Act 1990 in relation to the supply of water to any premises.

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hayman on 30 June 1999 (WA 39–40), whether, following the systematic scientific review on the evidence for fluoridation which was published by

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    the University of York in September 2000, the Medicines Control Agency now has a duty to look at the classification of products containing fluoride.[HL516]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath The Medicines Control Agency does not consider that the evidence for fluoridation published by the University of York in September 2000 has produced any information which affects the classification of products containing fluoride. Products containing fluoride remain subject to a number of different regulatory regimes. These include medicines, foods and cosmetics.

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