§ 30. Mr. Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress he has made on eliminating inconsistent provision of treatments between health authorities. 
§ Mr. Denham
We are setting standards through the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the National Service Frameworks. We are ensuring local delivery through clinical governance and monitoring delivery through the performance assessment framework and the Commission for Health Improvement. We are working with relevant parties, utilising the record increases in National Health Service funding announced in the Budget, to improve NHS performance.
§ 34. Mr. Stephen O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how he plans to fund the elimination of wide variations and discrepancies between local areas in health service provision. 
§ Mr. Denham
We allocate funding to health authorities on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. A weighted capitation formula is used to determine each health authority's target fair share of available resources, to enable them to commission similar levels of health services for populations in similar need.
It is for health authorities in partnership with primary care groups and other local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services.
Tackling unacceptable variations in performance and treatment is one of the key challenges we have set the National Health Service. We are working with key professionals and frontline staff to see how we can improve NHS performance and productivity so that we make the best use of the record increases in NHS funding announced in the Budget.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he proposes to take to ensure uniformity in the availability of complex and expensive medical treatments. 
§ Mr. Denham
The availability of complex and expensive medical treatments is achieved through the work of the National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group (for services with a national caseload) and the new regional commissioning arrangements introduced in April 1999.231W
In addition, national standards are being set by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the National Service Framework programme, local delivery is ensured through Clinical Governance, and services are monitored through the Performance Assessment Framework, the Commission for Health Improvement and national patient surveys.