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Mr. Hutton: The Government's proposals for the new consultant contract were published in February 2001 and these, alongside the British Medical Association's own proposals, form the basis of continuing negotiations. We have discussed a range of issues and options in the negotiations and we are aiming to be able to announce progress shortly.
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Mr. Hutton: The first wave of foundation hospitals will be selected from among the acute national health service trusts that achieve three-star ratings in July this year. Details of the application process and criteria which will be applied will be published in July. However, successful applicants will need to demonstrate among other things that they have the management capability and clinical support to make a success of NHS foundation trust status, and that they have the support of the local primary care trusts who commission services from them.
Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the budgets for (a) the Royal Shrewsbury hospital, (b) the Princess Royal hospital, Telford and (c) the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt hospital in each year since 1995. 
Ms Blears: Pursuant to the reply given by the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) on 7 May 2002, Official Report, column 103W; I regret that the reply given was incomplete. I can now provide the additional information requested. The reply should read:
|Princess Royal||Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt||Royal Shrewsbury||Total|
The budgets have been assumed to be the total income of the trusts during these financial years.
Annual accounts of the Princess Royal hospital NHS trust, the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt hospital NHS trust and the Royal Shrewsbury hospital NHS trust.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the franchise plan that he approved when appointing the new chief executive of the Ashford and St. Peter's hospitals trust. 
Mr. Hutton: Trust chief executives are appointed and employed by national health service trust chairman and non-executives on behalf of the trust. Franchise plans are documents that set out future operational proposals for the
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trust and it is a matter for the trust in question how to use the plan. With the exception of any material that relates to the personnel appointment, and which is confidential, I would expect that the trust board would want to receive and consider the franchise at a meeting held in public.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his Department assumed responsibility for the awarding of the contract to supply the UK Government with smallpox vaccine; and for what reason the management of this process was transferred to his Department from the Ministry of Defence. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 23 May 2002]: Responsibility for the provision of appropriate preventive and treatment measures for the protection of public health rests with this Department. Since smallpox vaccination of the public ceased in the 1970s and smallpox was declared eradicated worldwide, the Department has continued to hold a strategic stock of smallpox vaccine. Following a review of vaccine needs in the wake of the tragic events of September 11, a joint procurement of smallpox vaccine to meet both health and defence needs was deemed appropriate. This was part of the ongoing collaboration on medical countermeasures between the Department of Health and the Ministry of Defence.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which organisations and companies were considered by his Department when awarding the contract to produce smallpox vaccine for the UK Government; what contact his Department had with each of these organisations or companies prior to the awarding of the contract; when officials from his Department visited each organisation to assess the facilities for making the vaccine; by what criteria each of the facilities was assessed; which other organisations were (a) considered, (b) contacted and (c) visited prior to the creation of a shortlist of organisations; and on what criteria the final shortlist was compiled. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 23 May 2002]: Detailed confidential discussions were held with five major pharmaceutical companies who were known to have vaccine manufacturing capability either in the UK or in Europe. The companies, whose agreement to being identified has been obtained, were Acambis, Aventis Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, PowderJect and RIVM. All the companies approached responded and the decision to award the contract was taken solely on the basis of the responses received from the companies.
An official from the Department of Health accompanied officials from the Ministry of Defence on a visit to Bavarian Nordic and Impfstoffwerke Dessau Tornav at the end of January on a fact-finding visit to discuss vaccine developments and manufacturing techniques.
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take-up rate of mediation to resolve clinical negligence disputes over the past two years. 
Mr. Lammy: The NHS litigation authority is responsible for handling clinical negligence claims made against the national health service. In June 2000, the authority began an initiative to encourage the use of mediation to resolve all suitable cases. 77 offers for mediation have been accepted and at the end of April 2002, 32 mediations have been completed, 31 successfully.
Jacqui Smith: The NHS Plan aims to benefit disabled people by increasing provision of community equipment to 50 per cent. more people than in 200001 and by integrating health and social service equipment services. Improved funding for the equipment (including communication aids) that such services provide is, and will be, part of increased baseline allocations to health and social services in the years 200102 to 200304. It is for local services to decide their spending priorities and there are no specific plans to extend provision for communication aids.
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many clinicians within (a) the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and (b) all NHS trusts operate outside the trust's communications loop. 
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Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated cost is of updating computer equipment in (a) Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and (b) all NHS trusts to support Government IT strategies. 
Mr. Lammy: Estimates of the cost of the modernisation of information management and technology in the national health service in England are set out in the report of the review, "Securing Our Future Health: Taking a Long-Term View" from Derek Wanless, published in April 2002.
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