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Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Audit Commission will retain a role in assessing the operational efficiency at the NHS when the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection has been established. 
Mr. Lammy: Responsibility for assessing operational efficiency of National Health Service bodies will transfer from the Audit Commission to the new health inspectorate once it has been established. The Audit Commission will retain its core financial function of appointing auditors and undertaking financial audit.
Mr. Lammy: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State launched the Department's design programme in November 2001 at a joint conference with HRH the Prince of Wales. He recently appointed my noble Friend, the Lord Hunt of Kingsheath as the Ministerial Design Champion. My noble Friend addressed a number of conferences highlighting the Department's design programme 'Achieving Excellence in Healthcare Design', including:
'Design and Primary Care conference', on 1 May 2002 hosted by the Kings Fund and the commission for architecture and the built environment (CABE). My noble Friend announced the NHS Estates and CABE joint framework agreement to contribute to the programme of delivering design excellence and thereby producing high quality environments for patients and staff. 'Championing Design Excellence in Healthcare Buildings', breakfast meeting at the NHS Confederation on 23 May 2002. My noble Friend addressed some of the recently appointed NHS Trust Design Champions and key decision-makers. 'Health Estates Facilities Management Association (HEFMA) conference' on the afternoon of the 23 May 2002. My noble Friend addressed an audience of estates and facilities directors outlining the Departments design programme.
2 Jul 2002 : Column 296W
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have a policy of not considering applications for employment by persons over a particular age. 
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 24 May 2002]: At present the Department and its executive agencies have a normal staff retirement age of 60 and do not consider applications for employment from those over that age. However, the Department is now involved in a centrally led initiative, winning the generation game, which will examine age-related issues such as flexible retirement beyond the normal retiring age of 60.
The Department is committed to ensuring that older people are never unfairly discriminated against and complies with the rules and requirements of the 'Minister's Rules for Selection', 'The Civil Service Order Council', Her Majesty's Treasury requirements for recruitment and equal opportunity and employment protection legislation.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the structures in place to ensure that adverse drug reactions in patients are picked up at the earliest possible stage in situations where there are concerns about potential side-effects of a drug. 
Ms Blears: The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) is responsible for monitoring the safety of medicines on the UK market, and has well-developed procedures in place for pharmacovigilance, enabling early identification and prompt action in relation to drug safety issues.
The yellow card scheme, introduced in 1964 after the thalidomide tragedy, has a world-wide reputation for effectiveness in detecting previously unidentified drug safety hazards. All newly introduced medicines are monitored intensively for at least two years, during which time the safety profile of the medicine is frequently reviewed to ensure that it is appropriately reflected in the product information for health professionals and patients. In addition to spontaneous reports of suspected adverse reactions, the MCA evaluates data on drug safety from a range of sources. In 1999, MCA acquired the general practice research database and its post-licensing division is now evaluating its potential in contributing to effective pharmacovigilance.
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The capability for early action on emerging safety issues is reflected in the MCA's high level and operational targets. These measure performance in terms of the time taken to make newly received spontaneous adverse reaction reports available for review and analysis by pharmacovigilance assessors. MCA's performance against targets is published annually and in 200102 all targets were met or exceeded, against a background of a 55 per cent. increase in spontaneous adverse reaction reports.
The committee on safety of medicines (CSM) has a statutory role in advising the licensing authority on promotion of the collection and investigation of adverse reactions. CSM regularly reviews the effectiveness of the yellow card scheme, and on advice of the CSM in 1999 the scheme was widened to include pharmacists. Following a successful pilot in relation to the meningitis C vaccination programme, the CSM has advised that the scheme should be extended to nurses.
Mr. Lammy: In 200102 the Department spent £21.146 million on press and media advertising. The Department's current forecast for expenditure on press and media advertising in 200203 is £20.494 million.
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Mr. Hutton: National health service employers should not target developing countries for recruitment of health care personnel unless the Government of that country has reached Government to Government agreements with the UK. In these circumstances, individuals may be appointed to a structured programme aimed at enhancing clinical practice in order for them to return home after an agreed period.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the funding was for each of the last five years for children in care in England (a) broken down by health authority and (b) expressed as an average per head. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 June 2002]: Data on the funding specifically of children in care are not available centrally. Data on the funding of caring services for children are also unavailable broken down by health authority. The table shows the budgets, per head of population aged 18 and over for England, allocated by each local authority for children and family.
|Barking and Dagenham||192||210||234||278||330|
|Bath and North East Somerset UA||140||152||176||186||216|
|Blackburn with Darwen UA||(15)||211||245||249||305|
|Bracknell Forest UA||(15)||181||183||184||224|
|Brighton and Hove UA||245||303||323||331||361|
|City of London||763||726||732||1,130||1,135|
|East Riding of Yorkshire UA||105||103||115||125||141|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||627||663||848||837||547|
|Hereford and Worcester||162||(15)||(15)||(15)||(15)|
|Isle of Wight UA||153||189||187||212||255|
|Isles of Scilly||33||22||25||38||76|
|Kensington and Chelsea||604||674||699||749||626|
|Kingston Upon Hull UA||280||317||375||445||480|
|Kingston Upon Thames||182||200||241||209||237|
|Medway Towns UA||(15)||180||196||210||213|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne||282||248||324||363||394|
|North East Lincolnshire UA||170||199||226||252||300|
|North Lincolnshire UA||202||220||229||242||253|
|North Somerset UA||109||160||165||175||193|
|Redcar and Cleveland UA||197||201||216||230||237|
|Richmond Upon Thames||158||153||159||186||196|
|South Gloucestershire UA||72||94||110||121||140|
|Stockton on Tees UA||138||143||159||179||224|
|Telford and Wrekin UA||(15)||230||189||200||241|
|West Berkshire UA||(15)||149||166||196||207|
|Windsor and Maidenhead UA||(15)||156||182||177||178|
(15) Not available as the council did not exist in that financial year.
Budget figures are taken from form RA as recorded by the council's chief financial officer at the start of the financial year and divided by the population aged under 18 at 30 June.
The population figure used in 200102 is the population at 30 June 2000.
Budget figures shown in this table do not take account any subsequent revisions made during the financial year.
2 Jul 2002 : Column 301W
Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not held centrally. The Office of National Statistics is currently conducting a survey for the Department of the mental health of children looked after by local authorities in England. The survey questionnaire includes a range of questions about drug use. The Office of National Statistics plans to publish a report of the findings in spring 2003.
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