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Written Parliamentary Answers: from 25th July 2006

Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what estimate has been made of the number of local NHS organisations which will bulk subscribe to the Drugs and Therapeutic Bulletin following the ending of the NHS-wide subscription;

(2) what guidance she plans to issue to NHS managers responsible for deciding whether to purchase a bulk subscription to the Drugs and Therapeutic Bulletin for their local NHS organisation.(John Hemming)

A:The Department has made no such estimate and has no plans to issue guidance to the national health service. I understand that Which? Limited, the publishers of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin are examining a range of possible future subscription arrangements. (Andy Burnham, Minister of State (Delivery and Quality), Department of Health)

Volunteering
Q:To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the contribution to the UK economy of those on benefits who volunteer. (John Hemming)

A:No such research has been undertaken. However, the Government recognises the potential impact of volunteering on helping benefit claimants return to work, and has taken a numberof steps to facilitate volunteering. The Russell Commission looked at the experiences of young volunteers in receipt of benefits, and put forward a number of recommendations, as well as publishing the Guide to Volunteering on Benefits. (Dawn Primarolo, Paymaster General, HM Treasury)

Volunteers
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if the Government will change the benefits rules to allow volunteers on benefits to be paid the cost of lunch. (John Hemming)

A:When considering entitlement to means-tested benefits all income should be taken into account. To not do so would set an inappropriate precedent and represent unequal treatment within the income rules. If an organisation provides a lunch to a volunteer, benefit entitlement is not affected. However, we are aware of and listening to the concerns that have been raised. The Department is looking at this issue as part of a wider examination of the way the benefit system works. (James Plaskitt, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions)

Obesity
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts are not providing medical treatment to patients with a body mass index in excess of 30; and if she will make a statement. (John Hemming)

A:The Department does not collect this information. (Caroline Flint, Minister of State (Public Health), Department of Health)

Mental Health
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many initial hospital orders have been made under section 37 of the Mental Health Act for each category of mental disorder in each of the last five years; and how many of the initial orders were renewed under section 20 for each category of mental disorder in each year. (John Hemming)

A:This information is not available in the requested format.

Some information is available in relation to inpatients who were formally detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983, between 1994-95 and 2004-05, from the detained patients bulletin at

www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/inpatientdetmha94to05/mhbulletin/file.

Some information is also available about guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983 from the guardianship bulletin at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/icpublication.2006-01-04.5354930463/04117869.pdf.file.

(Rosie Winterton, Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health)

Mental Health
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information health trusts routinely provide to the police on people in the community who are mentally ill and have a history of violent behaviour.
(John Hemming)

A:Information is not passed routinely from health trusts to the police. When individuals are considered a risk to others, they become subject to the provisions of multi-agency public protection panels set up by the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000.

(Rosie Winterton, Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health)

Contract Notice 2006/05 114-121806
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) which organisations her Department consulted on the contract notice 2006-05 114-121806;

(2) why the contract notice 2006-05 114-121806 published in the Official Journal of the European Union was withdrawn; and whether she intends to submit a revised contract notice.
(John Hemming)

A:The advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) was withdrawn and a revised advertisement submitted on 13 July to make it clear that clinical provision was explicitly excluded from the scope of the procurement. In other words, that we were advertising for a range of management functions to support primary care trusts (PCTs) commissioning role. We have used the opportunity of the reissue of the advertisement to emphasise that even if PCTs choose to use such services they remain accountable to the public for the resources spent on health care in their locality.

The procurement framework will allow successful companies to offer a range of commissioning skills and services to PCTs who can chose whether or not to use the services offered. This is part of a range of measures to support PCTs and practices in developing effective commissioning as described in "Health reform in England: update and commissioning framework". PCTs are and will remain public, statutory bodies responsible for using their growing budgets to commission the best possible services for local people. They can never outsource this responsibility, or ask others to make these decisions for them.

We did not consult with external organisations prior to issuing the OJEU because one of the main purposes of such an advertisement is to elicit responses from interested organisations. (Andy Burnham, Minister of State (Delivery and Quality), Department of Health)

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