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Primary Care Trusts

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will urge the chief executives of primary care trusts in England to ensure that all funding earmarked for the development of primary care services is passed on to GP practices; and if he will make a statement. [112840]

Within primary care trust (PCT) unified allocations, £315 million in 2003–04, £394 million in 2004–05 and £460 million in 2005–06 has been identified nationally as the minimum expected spend on primary care enhanced services.

(2) what steps the Food Standards Agency is taking to improve the polymerase chain reaction testing regime. [116854]

The Department did not fund development of any such tests until the Food Standards Agency (FSA) was established in April 2000. Since then an estimated total of £1.5 million has been spent on methods using DMA techniques to identify the presence of specific ingredients in foodstuffs. A breakdown of the amount spent per year is shown in the table. The projects have been looking at use of DNA methods to check the labelling of a wide range of foods, especially meat and fish products. All but one of these methods use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based techniques.The FSA is currently funding ten research projects aimed at improving PCR methodology for use in authenticity surveys and enforcement of labelling legislation. These tests are aimed at developing methods for identifying ingredients of a wide range of products, including vegetarian foods, and identifying varieties, for example of potatoes and rice.

Since the Food Standards Agency was established, it has completed three surveys using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as the basis of checking the description or labelling of foods. The details of these surveys are shown in the table.PCTs are expected to spend at least this level of resources on primary care service providers; in particular general practitioner practices, but also other providers.The Department has reminded primary care trusts, through the strategic health authorities, of their requirement to spend at least this level of resources in the next three years.If the new general medical services contract is accepted by the profession, expenditure on primary care will rise from £5 billion in 2002–03 to £6.8 billion in 2005–06. There will be a gross investment guarantee that these resources will be delivered.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health [pursuant to his answer of 14 April, Official Report, column 620W], on primary care trusts, what the population was of each of the old primary care trusts in Redbridge and Waltham Forest; and what the population is of each of the new trusts. [116747]

The information requested is shown in the table.

Primary Care TrustPopulation
Population for 2003–04 under old configuration
Chingford Wanstead and Woodford PCT118,719
Redbridge PCT164,385
Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone PCT163,75
Population for 2003–04 under new configuration
Redbridge PCT218,984
Waltham Forest PCT227,295

Source:

Office for National Statistics census populations.