The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I have realised that the Written Answer given to Lord Hylton on 9 July 2012 (Official Report, col. WA213) contained incorrect information. The answer addressed the problems faced by the Bedouin community in the Negev region and not those specific to the Jahalin tribe currently living in the West Bank. The correct information is given in the answer below.
We have made representations to the Israeli Government about plans to forcibly relocate the Bedouin Jahalin community of Khan Al-Ahmar in the West Bank. In a letter to the British ambassador to Israel on 23 April, the Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister committed to a process of dialogue with the Bedouin on Israeli plans to move the community, which he said were at an early stage. We will continue to call on the Israeli authorities to fulfil this commitment and ensure that any decision reached on the future of the Bedouin communities in Area C of the West Bank is made with their full consent. We have not specifically raised the possible wish of members of the Jahalin community to return to the Negev.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Department of Health has today laid new NHS (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations (SI 2012/1909) following consultation.
replace the current legislative system known as “control of entry”, where decisions, with certain exceptions, are based on whether it is “necessary or expedient” for a primary care trust (PCT) to grant applications for entry to its NHS pharmaceutical services list, with a new regime where PCTs’ determinations are based on needs or improvements identified in the relevant PCT’s local pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA);
introduce the concept of “unforeseen benefits” to the overall provision of services allowing applicants to demonstrate innovative ways of providing services or of delivering better health outcomes not anticipated in the PNA; remove three of the four current exemptions to the “necessary or expedient” test—for pharmacies opening at least 100 hours per week, in designated large out-of-town shopping centres and in large one-stop primary care centres; introduce a new performance regime for under-performing chemists, which involves a series of graduated actions that PCTs will be able to apply, with removal from the PCT’s pharmaceutical list as an ultimate sanction; and make provision for managing the transition between the current legislative system and the new arrangements.
This new legislative system is part of our commitment, originally set out in our NHS White Paper Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS, to ensure NHS pharmaceutical services respond to local needs for high quality and efficient services that support better health and better outcomes for all.
Alongside these regulations, we are publishing the department’s response to the consultation we held on amending these regulations. That consultation ran from 31 October 2011 to 25 January 2012. The response provides a written overview and analysis of the responses received and a numerical analysis of responses to each question. It also sets out the department’s comments on the views received and the action the department has taken where appropriate to address the points raised. The response has been placed in the Library and is available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/07/response-pharmaceutical-market/.
From April 2013, responsibility for making these determinations will pass from PCTs, on their abolition under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, to the NHS Commissioning Board. These regulations will therefore require amendment to reflect the new NHS structure and that responsibility for PNAs will transfer from PCTs to local authority Health and Wellbeing Boards. Work on this has already started with the help of an advisory group with representatives of the NHS, local authorities, contractors, patients and consumers.