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Nursing Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to compensate those self-funding residents who are eligible and received payment for free nursing care but did not have the money passed on in a reduction in fees. [43899]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 March 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 19 March 2002, Official Report, column 172W.

Care Funding

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out the methodology underpinning the

19 Mar 2002 : Column 309W

distribution of the funding for extra intermediate care funding facilities for older people as described in his letter of 6 March to the hon. Member for Cheadle. [43903]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 March 2002]: In November 2001, the Department's regional offices were invited to submit bids against £66 million of capital funding available for intermediate care. Bids were assessed against 10 criteria.

I announced allocation of the "first phase" of £46 million to 80 projects on 6 March 2002. A £20 million "second phase" will follow, after further developmental work in a number of localities.

Pharmacists

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase co-operation between general practitioners and pharmacists; and if he will make a statement. [43040]

Ms Blears [holding answer 18 March 2002]: Many of the initiatives in "Pharmacy in the Future—Implementing the NHS Plan"—our programme for pharmacy published

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in September 2000—will encourage greater co-operation between general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists. These include repeat dispensing, medicines management and extending prescribing responsibilities. There are also many local initiatives where GPs and pharmacists are already collaborating to improve patient care, including prescribing advice, support for smoking cessation and anti-coagulant treatment monitoring.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce measures to increase the role of the local pharmacy in treating minor ailments. [43041]

Ms Blears [holding answer 18 March 2002]: "Pharmacy in the Future—Implementing the NHS Plan"—our programme for pharmacy published in September 2000—sets out a number of measures for increasing the role of community pharmacists in treating minor ailments. Successive winter campaigns have reinforced the message that in many cases the best course of action is to "Ask Your Pharmacist". All NHS sites will be able to refer callers to their local pharmacy, where appropriate, by the end of 2002. We are also committed to the availability of a wider range of medicines over the counter.