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Volume 281: debated on Wednesday 17 July 1996

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that major publications from his Department are accompanied by a simultaneous electronic release of the text on the Internet. [37233]

The decision as to what media to use for a departmental publication is generally taken on a case-by-case basis. Major departmental publications are accompanied by simultaneous release on the Internet only when it is felt that the Internet is an equally appropriate and accessible medium for the target audience. The cost of preparing publications for the Internet and copyright issues are also taken into consideration when assessing publications' suitability for mounting on the world wide web. A number of publications have been published on the Department of Health Internet site, most recently the "National Health Service Performance Guide 1995–96". The DH site also includes bibliographic details about major departmental publications as they are issued, including availability, and this information is among the most heavily accessed on its home pages.