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Ms Blears: Interchange is a key component of the reform agenda. The Modernising Government White Paper committed us to increasing interchange, in particular by bringing in more people on secondment and sending more of our people out. Secondments and attachments are part of the interchange initiative, which promotes the exchange of people and good practice between the Civil Service and other organisations. All sectors of the economy are involved: voluntary, education, health, public and private.
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(88) To date
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what announcement he made on the powers in Section 4 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 to establish and support private firms to undertake tasks within the National Health Service, prior to the conclusion of the Second Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons. 
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Ms Blears: The Department takes theft and fraud prevention very seriously. Our existing arrangements for deterring and detecting theft and fraud include internal control systems, auditor scrutiny, asset holder accountability, and investigation of losses. Some examples of our existing security controls are:
a range of guides and advice for staff on the electronic notice board
tight physical security measures on the Department's estate, with 24 hour guarding
specialists who are responsible for preventing, detecting and investigating fraud
appropriate action taken against perpetrators.
the involvement of a professional specialist unit for the national health service in departmental fraud casework
an increased input by building managers in countering theft of the Department's assets
more direct involvement of senior management in security measures
an annual security awareness week targeted at the entire department and its agencies.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health authorities since 1 October 2001 have revised their contracts with nursing homes to ensure that the payment for free nursing care is passed on to the self- funding resident in the form of a reduced fee. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 30 January 2002]: The guidance on implementation of free nursing care makes it clear that nursing home residents should not be charged for services funded by the national health service and that the NHS locally will develop contracting procedures with homes that the financial benefit of the NHS payment should be discounted in any fee payable by the resident to the home. Information is not available centrally on how each health authority or primary care trust has handled this.
Ms Blears [holding answer 30 January 2002]: Maldon and South Chelmsford Primary Care Group put forward a bid towards the end of the 200001 financial year to the then National Patients' Access Team (now part of the National Health Service Modernisation Agency) for digital imaging facilities to be made available at South Woodham Ferrers clinic. The National Patients' Access Team considered the bid and although there was some
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capital funding available at that time unfortunately there were insufficient funds available to fund the purchase of this equipment.
The overall concept of providing an X-ray facility in the local general practitioner clinic is a good one that would appear to enhance local patient services. However the overall cost of setting up a service with a digital X-ray machine is a lot greater than that of the equipment alone. There would be significant recurring staff and maintenance costs involved in the provision of such a service. The primary care trust would have to be able to meet these recurring costs from within their existing resources. Further more the type of X-rays that could be done out of a main X-ray department is limited to chest and extremity radiography only.
While the modernisation agency does not have funds available to support this, the PCT may wish to prioritise its own funds to purchase such equipment. The Medical Devices Agency would be able to advise on suitable equipment that could provide a simple service at a lower cost than a full digital system.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of years of life lost following the potential blocking of the use of irinotecan in first line use for advanced colo-rectal cancer; and if this criteria is a feature of NICE assessments; 
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(89) Survival of Cancer Patients in Europe: the Eurocare-2 Study 1999
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