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Urology: Health Services

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance his Department has issued to (a) primary care trusts and (b) regional procurement hubs in ensuring that commissioning arrangements for the provision of urology and stoma devices takes account of the outcomes of the most recent Part IX review consultation; (317934)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the use of local tenders and product formularies for urology products does not affect the availability of Part IX products to patients who gain access to them through the prescription process;

(3) what mechanisms his Department plans to put in place to ensure consistency in the use of local tenders and product formularies for urology products and services in primary care, with particular reference to the outcomes of the most recent Part IX review consultation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment has been made of the effects on levels of competition in the urology industry of the development of local primary care trust tenders for the provision of urology products and services; and if he will make a statement; (317340)

(2) what assessment has been made of the effects on patient choice of the increasing use of tenders and formularies in primary care for urology and stoma products and services; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what his Department is doing to ensure that the use of local primary care trust tenders and product formularies for urology products does not prevent patients being able to access their choice of Part IX products via the normal prescription process; and if he will make a statement.

Any decisions to undertake local procurement activity rests with the national health service organisations that initiate them.

Following the review of the supply of certain appliances for primary care, as listed in part IX of the Drug Tariff, new arrangements were announced in April 2009 and the relevant amendment regulations were laid on 22 December 2009. These are accompanied by directions to provide for new advanced services. There will also be changes to the Drug Tariff from 1 April 2010 to take account of associated new fees and allowances and a reduction of reimbursement prices for some appliances.

The Department is in ongoing dialogue with industry, industry trade federations, collaborative procurement hubs and primary care trusts (PCTs) over the use of local tenders and product formularies for products and services covered by part IX of the Drug Tariff. The aim of this dialogue is to agree clear guidance for PCTs on this matter.

The Department is not aware of any ongoing local tenders for part IX products. Any local procurement or tenders do not override the clinical judgment of the GP, who is still free to prescribe products listed in part IX of the Drug Tariff to meet the specific needs of patients.