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29 Jan 2001 : Column: 46W
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons he issued recommendations to implement a patient group direction and a telephone triage system which resulted in the supply of only Relenza treatment. 
Mr. Denham: The intention of the supplementary guidance issued to the National Health Service by the Department was to provide practical advice on implementing the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommendations on zanamivir. This included advice on arrangements for general practitioners to draw up arrangements to enable pharmacists and nurses to supply zanamivir, provided they are satisfied the patient is in the at-risk group, needs it and meets specified criteria.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for North Wiltshire of 19 December 2000, Official Report, column 143W, on Relenza and Lysovir, what estimates have been made of the annual cost of prescribing (a) Relenza and (b) Lysovir to at-risk adults when influenza is circulating in the community. 
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being prescribed zanamivir in the influenza season, at a cost to the National Health Service in England and Wales of between £2.3 million and £11.7 million.
In response to NICE's guidance on the use of Relenza, the Department issued supplementary implementation guidance to the National Health Service in the light of the potential implications for the delivery of GP services over the winter period. This guidance was not an endorsement of Relenza.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons Lysovir was not used as a comparator by NICE in its technology appraisal of the clinical and cost effectiveness of Zanamivir in the prevention and treatment of influenza. 
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ask for the NICE guidance on Relenza to be enforced when clinicians have in place clinically acceptable alternative arrangements for the treatment of patients. 
Mr. Denham: We expect general practitioners to exercise their clinical discretion in deciding whether and what to prescribe, taking due account of guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. The exercise of clinical discretion is not overridden by NICE guidance.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) final version and (b) other full business cases for NHS hospital trust computer systems that have a lifetime contract value in excess of £1 million were first submitted in (i) 1999 and (ii) 2000. 
Mr. Denham [holding answer 25 January 2001]: Four Full Business Cases (FBCs) for National Health Service hospital trust computer systems with a lifetime contract value in excess of £1 million were first submitted in 1999 and seven in 2000.
These were all final versions of FBCs in that they were all submitted for formal approval. The appropriate regional office of the NHS Executive normally helps a trust to develop its FBC but will only allow the FBC to
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be submitted for formal approval when it substantially meets the detailed approval criteria laid down by the NHS Executive.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for each regional office, how many (a) final version and (b) other full business cases for NHS hospital trust computer systems that have a lifetime contract value in excess of £1 million and that were first submitted since January 1999 have been approved. 
Mr. Denham [holding answer 25 January 2001]: The National Health Service Executive has approved eight Full Business Cases submitted since January 1999 for NHS hospital trust computer systems that have a lifetime contract value in excess of £1 million. These were broken down by regional office as follows:
Mr. Denham [holding answer 25 January 2001]: The target time for approval of a full business case, once formally submitted, is two months. The time actually taken will be decided in part by the quality of the FBC and the speed with which the trust responds to any questions about the content of the FBC that the National Health Service Executive may need to ask.
The FBC for a scheme for computer systems is developed by the NHS trust over a period of time, assisted as necessary by their NHS Executive regional office. The FBC may go through a series of drafts over several months, but these drafts are not submitted for formal approval. When the final version of the FBC is prepared, it is submitted to the NHS Executive for formal approval.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the proportion of NHS trusts that will incur lifetime expenditure in excess of £1 million in order to achieve Level 3 EPR. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 15 January 2001, Official Report, column 48W, on doctors' retirement, how many general practitioners practising in England retired in the last five years for which figures are available before the age of (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70 and (d) 75 years. 
Mr. Denham: The figures in the table show the number of doctors working in GP practices who have received a pensions award in each of the years 1994 to 1999 under the age of 60, 65, 70 years and aged 70 and over in England and Wales. However, a number of GPs who
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retire and claim their pension and gratuity may return to practise in general medical services 28 days later and continue working until they fully retire.
Though there is no fixed retirement age for GPs they are removed from the HA medical list on reaching 70 years of age if providing general medical services as a principal. No GP over the age of 70 received a pension award.
|Number receiving a pension award|
|Year||Under age 60||Under age 65||Under age 70||70 or over|
NHS pensions agency
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of named day questions tabled during the current Session have received a substantive reply on the named day; and what the mean and medians were for the number of days elapsed between (a) tabling, (b) holding answers and (c) final answers. 
Ms Stuart: 145 questions tabled for answer on a named day received a reply on the day named. This represents 52 per cent. of the total number tabled. The mean and median number of days elapsed between the day named for answer and a substantive reply were three days and two days respectively. Because hon. Members may name days with differing periods of notice, the calculation of the figures between tabling and answer involve the examination of each parliamentary question and therefore could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.
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