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Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much of the additional money earmarked for dual X-ray absorptiometry scans has been allocated to health authorities; and how much has been spent on additional scanning capacity. (140506)

In 2005-06, the Department allocated £3 million revenue funding on a non-recurrent basis to 14 strategic health authorities (SHAs) for the purchase of DXA scans from the independent sector, or other national health service providers where this represented better value for money. Expenditure against these allocations has not been monitored centrally.

Capital funding of £17 million has been made available in 2006-07 and 2007-08 to improve NHS capacity through investment in new DXA scanning equipment. This additional funding was included in the overall strategic capital allocation to SHAs and the Department does not monitor how SHAs’ strategic capital is spent.

Since January 2006, the Department has been collecting waiting time and activity data for 15 diagnostic tests or procedures, including DXA scans. In April 2007, the latest date for which figures are available, 683 patients have been waiting more than 13 weeks, and 14 patients more than 26 weeks, for a DXA scan. This represents a reduction of 92.7 per cent. and 99.6 per cent. respectively from the baseline figure.