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Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been issued to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to enable it to develop a clinical guideline on the investigation and management of heart failure. 
Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to extend the provision of complementary and alternative medicine, with particular reference to acupuncture, chiropractice, homeopathy, herbal medicine, osteopathy and therapeutic touch, in the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: We have produced an information pack for primary care trusts and primary care groups on commissioning alternative medicine, which is available in the Library and at www.doh.gov.uk/cam/index.htm.
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Monitoring will be undertaken to ensure that investment and reform is seen across all cancer networks. This will include the high level review of spending undertaken through the services and financial framework process; the development by cancer networks of service delivery plans which will set out implementation plans for cancer services locally; and the continued central monitoring of the two week waiting time target. In addition the peer review process of cancer services will help trusts assess their progress in implementing evidence-based guidance for individual tumour groups.
Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the number of acute beds in the Dudley group of hospitals which are unavailable to incoming patients as a result of being occupied by patients needing accommodation in a nursing home. 
Dudley health authority have recently identified £100,000 of non recurrent funds to alleviate immediate pressures in the short term. The local health and social services agencies are involved in discussions to seek solutions for medium to long-term.
Yvette Cooper: At 3 July 2001, the Dudley Group Hospitals National Health Service Trust has 31 medical patients on surgical wards, as a result of difficulties in discharging them to long-term care. The trust has confirmed that the patients selected to be cared for on surgical wards are those whose acute problems have been addressed. These patients require basic nursing care in terms of attention, medication, etc., which the trust's nurses are well equipped to provide.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to provide assistance to the recent study by the World Health Organisation into the effects of vaccines containing mercury used for MMR inoculations. 
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The Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) has been asked by the World Health Organisation to set up a study to look into the relationship between thiomersal and possible neurological outcomes using UK data.
Yvette Cooper: We understand that the European Commission is actively continuing development work on the draft directive to regulate those traditional herbal products which are classified as medicines. In particular, we are aware that the EC has recently been considering written comments made by European Union member states following a meeting of the European Pharmaceutical Committee in April 2001. The detailed terms of various possible provisions to safeguard public health are likely to feature prominently in the ongoing discussions on the draft directive. The Medicines Control Agency will continue to consult the United Kingdom natural health sector as work on this initiative progresses.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is his policy that all NHS private finance initiative schemes should include transferring responsibility for the management of NHS ancillary staff to the private sector. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 3 July 2001]: Pilot schemes, whereby ancillary services staff could retain their National Health Service employment terms but be managed by the private sector, are being conducted at three private finance initiative (PFI) projects currently in procurement.
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 3 July 2001]: The introduction of strategic health authorities is an important element in our proposals to decentralise power in the National Health Services. We will shift the balance of power in the NHS so that primary care trusts take the responsibility and resources for developing health services and improving health. Front-line staff are best placed to understand patients' needs and have the skills and experience to improve services. Empowering front-line staff and organisations to use these skills will help deliver faster and more responsive services and improve the patient experience.
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Yvette Cooper: The NHS Cancer Plan set out our commitment to increase National Health Service investment in specialist palliative care by £50 million by 2004 to ensure that the inequalities in access to specialist palliative care ends. Health authority allocations in 200102 included a total of £255 million to support the first year of local implementation of the NHS Cancer Plan. Priorities for this year include the development of costed strategic plans for palliative care. Cancer networks are expected to demonstrate how the additional funding will be invested over the next three years.
Cancer networks are currently developing detailed service delivery plans, which will identify the current position, future demands and gaps in services and set out action plans for further development across all areas, including staffing of teams, whether in the voluntary sector or in the NHS. We are funding the National Council for Hospices and specialist palliative care services to support cancer networks to ensure an inclusive approach to develop the palliative care element in the service delivery plans.
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