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Urology: Nurses

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the likely effects of a cap on specialist urology nurse visits, as proposed in the Department of Health consultation on Part IX of the Drug Tariff; (185557)

(2) pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2008, Official Report, column 343W, on incontinence: medical equipment, how much of the £487 million per annum is (a) Part IX dressings and reagents expenditure, (b) Part IX stoma expenditure, (c) Part IX incontinence expenditure and (d) any other Part IX expenditure; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 7 February 2008]: The proposed cap does not relate to patient visits made by specialist nurses who work for the national health service. While not covered by their terms of service, many appliance contractors do provide services above basic dispensing, such as home delivery and specialist nurse visits.

One objective of the review is to ensure that such services are provided to the same standard and that remuneration for services is transparent.

As contractors’ nurse visits are not remunerated directly today, the Department has had to make an assessment of the number of specialist nurse visits these contractors provide. This assessment has been based on information provided by those contractors through the consultation process.

Proposals regarding payment for specialist nurse visits were set out in the consultation entitled Arrangements under Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of stoma and incontinence appliances - and related services - to Primary Care. Revised Proposals that closed on 28 December 2007.

The Department is currently analysing these responses. They will help to inform an assessment of how the cap might impact patient care.

The part IX expenditure that has been under review totals £487 million. A breakdown is shown in the following table.

£ million

Dressings and chemical reagents (Parts IX A & R)


Catheters (Part IX A)


Incontinence (Part IX B)


Stoma appliances (Part IX C)


Total Part IX under review



Prescriptions Pricing Division, NHS Business Services Authority.