§ Dr. Harris
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the cost to the NHS of purchasing and maintaining the Administrative Register and the number of eligible schemes that have yet to have access to the Administrative Register; and what plans he has to improve the access to and efficiency of the NHS Clearing Service. 
§ Mr. Milburn
National Health Service Administrative Register functions will be offered to NHS organisations through the NHS Strategic Tracing Service. The purpose of the tracing service is to enable any NHS organisation, within agreed access and security protocols, to determine a patient's NHS number and other related administrative data.
The tracing service is currently the subject of a public and private partnership procurement, with the expectation that a contract will be awarded early in the next financial year. It is not possible to publish the costs of using the tracing service, and its integral administrative register functions, until the procurement process is complete. The tracing service will bring to fruition the successful pilot operation of the NHS administrative register throughout the NHS in Wales.
The Department is working closely with NHS trusts to ensure that they all submit complete, timely and accurate data to the NHS Clearing Service, and that full use is made of electronic transfer of data via the NHS-wide network, NHSnet.