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Departmental Research

Health written question – answered on 13th June 2011.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2011, Official Report, columns 674-8W, on research, for what reason data collection on (a) three-year funding for third sector organisations, (b) 18-week referral to treatment, (c) swine flu vaccine uptake from GP-registered patients, (d) NHS staff engagement and attitudes towards the NHS, (e) National Children's Health Service mapping, (f) monitoring of extended GP practice opening hours, (g) GP premises data and (h) junior doctors' hours has been terminated; whom he consulted on the termination of data collection in each case; and whether any savings have accrued from each such termination.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

As part of the Department's arrangements to keep the burden of data collection under control, all these returns were due for routine review or renewal in the period and no strong case could be made for retention. For some this reflected the intrinsically temporary nature of the original case. Others had been needed to monitor specific targets and policies that were no longer relevant. In the case of 18-week referral to treatment, the main return on which published national statistics are based has been retained but a subsidiary Patient Tracking List return designed to support detailed performance management is no longer centrally needed.

None of these data collections were needed to support national statistics or other high profile official statistics publications so no formal consultation was undertaken, but they will be included in the forthcoming consultation on the Department's Fundamental Review of Data Returns for completeness. In one case (National Children's Health Service mapping) the decision to discontinue followed an independent review involving stakeholders.

Estimated annual collection costs to the national health service of these eight collections were £4.6 million.

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