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Relevant and appropriate clinicians continue to contribute to the effective identification of requirements, design and testing of systems being delivered under the programme. NHS Connecting for Health has appointed a Chief
Clinical Officer to lead the clinical engagement and clinical contribution the programme. A national clinical lead for patient safety has been appointed. Further national clinical leads are to be recruited for pharmacy, physiotherapy, mental health and midwifery. Consideration is being given to how to take on other national clinical leads to cover important areas of engagement.
Caroline Flint: Patients registered with the national health service will not be able to prevent their basic demographic and contact details from being held within the NHS care records service (NHS CRS). The NHS has maintained registers of its service users from the earliest days of its existence to support the delivery of healthcare. A record is also kept of which general practice each patient is registered with, and reasons of efficiency and probity require this to be held centrally, for example to prevent multiple general practitioners from being paid for the same patient, and to ensure that the correct commissioning body meets the cost of care provided. A register is also needed to enable the Secretary of State to meet the obligation to provide healthcare, free at the point of contact, for those patients who are ordinarily resident in England.
While for these reasons it is not practicable to give patients choice about whether their demographic details will be held in the system, safeguards have been built into the NHS CRS personal demographics service (PDS) which allow an individuals contact details to be hidden from NHS staff if patients request this level of protection. Access to the PDS is controlled by a member of staffs relationship with the patient, and by what they need to see to do their jobs, and is dependent on their having a current secure smartcard and a valid pass code.
Andy Burnham: The Secretary of State has given approval for Hammersmith Hospitals national health service trust and St. Mary's NHS trust to consult on a merger of the two organisations. This consultation would be the first stage of a process to create the first Academic Health Science Centre in the United Kingdom. The consultation began on 1 May 2007 and will run for three months.
Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women in England were diagnosed with Stage (a) 1, (b) 2, (c) 3 and (d) 4 ovarian cancer in (i) the latest year for which figures are available and (ii) each of the previous five years. 
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many women in England have been diagnosed with (a) Stage 1, (b) Stage 2, (c) Stage 3 and (d) Stage 4 ovarian cancer in (i) the latest year for which figures are available and (ii) each of the previous five years. (140642)
The data item, stage, was introduced in 1993 when the cancer registration minimum data set was established by the Department of Health. There remains much variation between the eight regional cancer registries in England in the recording of stage that is likely to reflect differences in what is meant by stage, rather than real differences across England in what clinicians use to classify the patients. It is not therefore, possible to provide nationally comparable data on cancer incidence broken down by stage.
The United Kingdom Association of Cancer Registries (UKACR) is investigating what should be counted as a complete stage in an attempt to agree on an interpretation in future. In the future, the new Cancer Registration Data Set will include stage recorded at multiple points along the patient pathway.
Caroline Flint: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency reports that BOC Medical supplies Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals national health service trust (which is responsible for services at Sandwell hospital) with cylinders of oxygen.
Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations she has received on hospital charges for headphones for bedside entertainment systems; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what date her Department agreed plans to encourage pharmacists to carry out basic procedures like blood pressure checks and issue prescriptions. 
The commissioning of national health service services such as pharmacist prescribing and routine blood pressure checks are matters for primary care trusts (PCTs) to determine. These services are local enhanced services which PCTs can commission according to their assessment of local priorities and needs, under the new community pharmacy contractual framework introduced from
April 2005. Pharmacies may, in addition, offer these services privately to the public.
The Secretary of State for Health agreed on 8 November 2005 to accept the then Committee on Safety of Medicines recommendation that pharmacists could train to become independent prescribers. Only those pharmacists who have successfully completed a prescribing training course and been registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain as a prescriber can be commissioned by the PCT to provide this service.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 320W, on prescription drugs: internet, how many prosecutions for the sale of prescription only medicines over the internet (a) not under the supervision of a pharmacist and (b) without a prescription from a prescriber have been brought in each of the last three years. 
The MHRA investigates the sale and supply of medicines available through the internet as part of its statutory enforcement role. Since April 2005 there have been eight prosecutions involving prescription only and unlicensed medicines being offered for sale via the internet.
Caroline Flint: The Government said in their response to the Health Committees report on national health service charges, that the Department would undertake a review of the current exemptions for prescription charges and put forward options that would be expenditure neutral for the NHS. We have undertaken to report to Parliament before the summer recess 2007.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 422W, on prescriptions: fees and charges, what mechanisms are in place for checking a patients entitlement to exemption when it is declared. 
Caroline Flint: When a patient claims exemption from payment of national health service prescription charges, mechanisms are in place for the pharmacist or dispensing doctor to request proof of this exemption and for the patient to produce relevant evidence to support their claim, depending on the grounds of the exemption. Where this is not possible, the prescription is marked evidence not seen and dispensed for free.
It is for the relevant primary care trust to establish whether a claim is valid. Anyone found to have wrongly
claimed help with health costs will face a penalty charge and, in some cases, prosecution.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role the Government expects the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) to play in public policy following the establishment of the General Pharmaceutical Council; what funding will be made available for the RPS; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The Government consider it essential that an authoritative leadership body for the pharmacy profession continues to contribute to all relevant aspects of public policy development. The Pharmacy Regulation and Leadership Oversight Group will consider the financial aspects of establishing the General Pharmaceutical Council and advise Ministers accordingly.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what grants were made by the Government for research into the development of treatment using (a) embryonic stem cells and (b) stem cells from umbilical cords and other adult stem cells in each of the last five years. 
Caroline Flint: The funding for stem cell research from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Department of Trade and Industry's technology programme for the past five years is shown in the following table:
|MRC||Department of Trade and Industry technology programme|
Information on the type of stem cells used in such research is not held centrally and some projects include stem cells from a variety of sources. However, the MRC advised that, in the year 2004-05, 40 per cent. of its research funding was for research on adult stem cells.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) tests and (b) prototype tests for the presence of vCJD in blood are (i) available and (ii) the subject of research; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: There is currently no licensed blood screening test for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). The performance of a number of prototype vCJD assays is being evaluated, and the results of this process will be available later in the year.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements are in place for blood specimens held by the Blood Transfusion Service to be used in research to test for vCJD; and if she will make a statement. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many requests her Department has received for blood specimens held by the Blood Transfusion Service to be used in research to test for vCJD; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been conducted by the NHS into the potential impacts on health of moving to fortnightly collections of household rubbish. 
Hilary Benn: DFID is contributing £9 million to the Government of Afghanistan to help boost legal private sector activity. This includes support to reduce red tape, improve the business environment, support the mining sector and encourage foreign investment. Of this, £1 million has been channelled through a Wold Bank-managed trust fund which provides risk guarantees to attract foreign investors. In the past year, this trust fund has supported three projects. These are expected to trigger over £13 million of investment, stimulate the cotton and pharmaceuticals sector and expand access to credit. This will help to further enhance private sector opportunities and regenerate the Afghan economy.
In 2003, the agriculture sector accounted for over half of Afghanistans GDP and, since the majority of Afghans are based in rural areas, agricultural performance is central to economic growth. Rural development is one of DFIDs top three priority areas for investment. We are contributing £7 million to the Government of Afghanistans national horticulture and livestock programme, which will improve incentives for private investment in these important
sectors. We are also funding Government programmes to construct rural roads (£18 million), and providing access to credit (£20 million).
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will provide a breakdown of how the £6 million funding for education in Burundi announced on 5 April is proposed to be spent; and what the timescale is for the release of the funding. 
Hilary Benn: The £6 million I announced as part of a package of support for education initiatives in post-conflict and fragile states will be spent over the next three years in support of the Government of Burundi's action plan to implement the initial priorities of their 10-year education strategy.
The plan will meet Burundi's immediate needs in rebuilding an education system severely affected by the more than 12 years of devastating civil war, and lay the foundations for the development of an education system that can deliver equitable, high-quality education and professional training, and meet the target of primary education for all.
The plan is expected to be finalised by September, and once endorsed by donors, submitted along with the sector strategy to the fast-track initiative (FTI) for additional financing. If fully financed, it is anticipated that almost 10,000 extra primary school classrooms will be built, over 4,000 extra primary school teachers will be trained and recruited, and that total spending on education will be more than doubled.
The UK's funds will be pooled with those of other donors to minimise the administrative burden on the government, facilitate a strengthening of the government's capacity to deliver education services and encourage others to contribute to the reconstruction of Burundi's education system.
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