§ Dr. Harris
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the cost to the NHS of purchasing and maintaining the new Health Authorities Programme and the number of eligible schemes that have yet to have access to the new Health Authorities Programme; and what plans he has to improve the access and efficiency of the new Health Authorities Programme. 
§ Mr. Milburn
The New Health Authorities Programme was created to re-align health authorities' primary care systems, and the data held within them, with their new boundaries created in April 1996. The resultant changes will be implemented between July 1998 and July 1999.
The total cost of this work programme is £3.85 million, spread across 1996–97, 1997–98 and 1998–99. The outcome is a set of one-off changes to meet the requirements of primary legislation, but the software developed will enable any further health authority boundary changes to be implemented more quickly and at less cost.