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Written Parliamentary Questions: 22nd March 2006

Results Tariff

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the reasons were for the withdrawal of the national tariff for payment by results; when her Department will indicate what payment by results tariff will apply for financial year 2006–07; and if she will make a statement.(John Hemming)

A:Regrettably it was necessary to withdraw the tariff for 2006–07 in order to correct underlying errors in the calculation. We are now testing the revised tariff with the help of national health service colleagues, and will publish a corrected version as soon as possible. (Liam Byrne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health)

NICE Appraisals

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who authorised the signing of the contract between the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Southampton Technology Assessment Centre (SHTAC) that provides that the cost-effectiveness model prepared by SHTAC for NICE for consideration in the technology appraisal of donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease cannot be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and if she will make a statement. (John Hemming)

A:The contract, with the University of Southampton, for technology assessment review reports was authorised by the Department's director of research and development (R&D) and signed by an official on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health. It is a standard Departmental R&D contract, which invests intellectual property with the research contractor. Details of the relevant intellectual property policy is available on the Department's website at: www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/ResearchAndDevelopment.
(Jane Kennedy, Minister of State (Quality and Patient Safety), Department of Health)

Strategic Health Authorities

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) how much she estimates will be top sliced from strategic health authority budgets in the year 2006–07;

(2) if she will reverse the decision to top slice primary care trust budgets to meet financial targets.(John Hemming)

A:The requirement for national health service organisations to bank reserves with their strategic health authority (SHA) was announced by the Department in "The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2006–07".

The amount of reserve to be banked and the terms of the agreement will be agreed with their SHA. SHAs are responsible for the financial management of the organisations within their area and for delivering financial planning targets agreed with the Department. Holding financial reserves is a prudent approach to financial management, so the Department is encouraging SHAs to hold reserves because it will help them deliver their financial targets.

There are no plans to top slice SHA budgets, but any net overspending by organisations within a SHA area in 2005–06 will result in a reduced allocation in 2006–07 for that SHA in line with Government resource accounting and budgeting rules on the carry forward of over and under spending. (Jane Kennedy, Minister of State (Quality and Patient Safety), Department of Health)

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