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NHS Finance

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to monitor NHS expenditure on complementary and alternative medicines. (80164)

The Government consider that decision-making on individual clinical interventions, using either complementary or more orthodox treatments, is a matter for local national health service providers and practitioners. There are therefore no centrally held records monitoring overall NHS expenditure on complementary and alternative medicines and there are no current plans to change this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what costs have been incurred through the replacement of the North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire strategic health authorities with the Yorkshire and Humber strategic health authority; and how much of this sum was accounted for by costs of (a) administration, (b) building relocation, (c) re-branding (d) training events and (e) human resources, including hiring new staff. (80267)

[holding answer 26 June 2006]: The costs of the changes that were announced on the 16 May will depend on a number of factors. New arrangements are currently being developed and discussed with trade unions and staff. Until those discussions have been concluded and the detail of new arrangements agreed it is not possible to confirm or accurately forecast costs. Overall, the changes will free up money to improve front-line services over time.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will be accountable for the breaking even of budgets in (a) University College of London Hospital and (b) the Foundation Trust sector. (80785)

National health service foundation trusts (NHSFTs) are independent public benefit corporations. The board of directors of each NHSFT is responsible for the performance and success of their organisation. They are subject to a rigorous and transparent regulatory regime operated by Monitor, whose statutory name is the independent regulator of NHSFTs.

I am informed by the chairman of Monitor that, on 31 May of each year, NHSFTs are required to submit forward planning information to Monitor. Once it has completed its analysis of the annual plans for the 2006-07 financial year, Monitor will assign financial risk ratings that will guide the intensity of its in-year monitoring. The risk ratings, together with the 2006-07 annual plans for each of the 40 NHSFTs, are due to be published on Monitor's website in September 2006 at www.monitor-nhsft.gov.uk.

NHSFTs with poor financial risk ratings are required by Monitor to prepare and deliver effective plans for financial recovery. University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which had a deficit of £35.9 million in the 2005-06 financial year, is implementing a financial recovery plan that will return it to break-even by the 2007-08 financial year.