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NHS IT Procurement

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the OJEC advertisements were placed for the south-west regional procurement process for NHS IT. [73122]

Ms Blears: The advertisement for the south-west regional information technology procurement was placed in February 2000.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the south-west regional procurement process for NHS IT was initiated. [73123]

Ms Blears: The formal initiation of the south-west procurement project took place in December 1999.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what independent evaluation has been made of the single procurement process for electronic patient record systems for NHS trusts in the south-west; and if he will make a statement. [73124]

Ms Blears: In early 2002 a review of the south-west project was carried out by a team from the National Health Service information authority. The review used the approach recommended by the Office of Government Commerce in its gateway review process.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many trusts in the south-west have signed contracts with a minimum value of #1 million for hospital-wide electronic patient record systems through the south-west regional procurement process for NHS IT; and how many contracts of this minimum value are expected to be signed in the next three months. [73125]

Ms Blears: No trust involved in the south-west regional procurement has yet signed a contract for hospital-wide electronic patients' record systems. It is expected that the two consortia in the regional procurement process will award contracts by March 2003. At this point, over 20 trusts will sign contracts in excess of #1 million.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of financial savings that have been achieved since the commencement of the single procurement process for NHS IT in the south-west; and what his next estimate is of future savings for the currrent and five financial years. [73128]

Ms Blears: The south-west project estimates that the savings gained through the shared procurement process will be excess of #1 million. At this stage it is too early to estimate the savings in the resulting contracts, but it is anticipated that these savings will be significant.

Genetically Modified DNA

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the research findings published by the Food Standards Agency on the transfer of GM DNA from food to bacteria in the human gut, (a) what level of GM DNA was present in the commercial samples fed to participants in the research, (b) what proportion of the GM DNA was complete rather than in fragments, (c) to what extent the research looked at whether GM DNA passed through the gut and into the blood stream and blood cells, (d) what reference was made to the experiment on mice, post 1997,

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documenting the ability of GM DNA to pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream, the liver and spleen and (e) which scientific experts concluded from this research that humans were not at risk. [73190]

Ms Blears: 3x1012 copies of the transgene were present in the 454g commercial sample fed to the participants. Survival of the genetically modified (GM) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was variable. 4.2x107 and 2.7x108 copies of the full-length fragment was detected in the digesta from two of the seven ileostomy patients. Nevertheless, intact DNA was not shown to be transferred to intestinal tract bacteria. The aim of the research, which has been peer reviewed, was to study the fate of ingested DNA in the gastrointestinal tract. Transfer of GM DNA into the bloodstream did not fall within the scope of the project. Scientists carrying out the work have drawn their own independent conclusions on the results. The broad implications of the studies on gene transfer will be discussed at an open meeting of the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes in November.

Biotechnology Research Projects

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what biotechnology research projects in (a) agriculture and (b) biomedics have been supported by the Department; and what level of public investment has gone into them in each of the last three years. [73240]

Ms Blears : The Department has no responsibility for agriculture. The main Government agency for biotechnology research is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the main Government agency for biomedical research is the Medical Research Council. Both are funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology, and information about their work can be seen at their websites, which are and respectively.

NHS Plan (Newcastle)

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 8 May 2002, Official Report, column 262W, on the NHS Plan (Newcastle), what requests were received from each source for intermediate care funding in the Northern and Yorkshire Region; how much they were for; which were (a) approved and (b) rejected; and what share of the national allocation was granted to the Northern and Yorkshire Region. [56621]

Jacqui Smith [holding Answer 15 May 2002]: The Northern and Yorkshire Region received 27 bids for intermediate care capital funding. The following schemes were successful in the first phase:

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The following schemes were unsuccessful in the first phase:

I announced the allocation of the first phase of #46 million to 80 projects on 6 March 2002. To date a total of #58 million has been allocated to intermediate care capital to 90 projects. Of the #58 million allocated, the Northern and Yorkshire Region received #7.75 million, which is 13.4 per cent. of the total amount. It may be possible to fund further bids from the Northern and Yorkshire region as part of a further phase of funding yet to be allocated.

Occupational Therapists

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire of 9 May 2002, Official Report, column 346W, how many occupational therapists were in post in each health authority at March 2001 per head of population. [56632]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 16 May 2002]: Between 1997 and 2001 the number of occupational therapists employed in the National Health Service increased by 2,390 or 20 per cent. Further increases in the NHS Plan period and beyond will help to improve the ratio of occupational therapists per head of population. Our latest projections, based on numbers expected to come out of training, and trends in retirements, occupational therapists working outside the NHS and other factors remaining broadly the same, suggest that there will be over 21,000 occupational therapists working in the NHS by 2009.

Workforce information is collected annually as at 30 September. The number of occupational therapists per head of population by health authority as at 30 September 2001 is shown in the table.

Qualified scientific, therapeutic & technical staff employed in the occupational therapy area of work per head of population by strategic health authority area as at 30 September 2001

whole-time equivalentsper head of population
Q01Norfolk, Suffolk & Cambridgeshire5300.0002
Q02Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire2500.0002
Q04North West London4300.0002
Q05North Central London3800.0003
Q06North East London3500.0002
Q07South East London3100.0002
Q08South West London3200.0002
Q09Northumberland, Tyne & Wear3300.0002
Q10County Durham & Tees Valley2300.0002
Q11North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire3100.0002
Q12West Yorkshire6000.0003
Q13Cumbria & Lancashire4500.0002
Q14Greater Manchester6700.0003
Q15Cheshire & Merseyside5100.0002
Q16Thames Valley4700.0002
Q17Hampshire & Isle of Wight3400.0002
Q18Kent & Medway3200.0002
Q19Surrey & Sussex6600.0003
Q20Avon, Gloucestershire & Wiltshire5800.0003
Q21South West Peninsula4300.0003
Q22Dorset & Somerset3500.0003
Q23South Yorkshire3900.0003
Q25Leicestershire, Northamptonshire & Rutland3500.0002
Q26Shropshire & Staffordshire3400.0002
Q27Birmingham & The Black Country4900.0002
Q28Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire3200.0002


Staff in post figures are rounded to the nearest ten.

Population rates are rounded to one significant figure.

Due to rounding totals may not equal the sum of component parts.


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census.

Data collected as at 30 September 2001 from NHS organisations has been aggregated to strategic health authority area.

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