§ Laura Moffatt
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the contribution voluntary organisations make to the running of the national health service. 
§ Ms Blears
The Department has not undertaken a specific assessment of the contribution of voluntary organisations to the national health service.
Involving the voluntary sector, particularly within the framework of the compact agreement, is integral to NHS policy development and service delivery. The Department recognises the significant breadth of contributions made to the NHS at all levels by voluntary, community and charitable organisations. At national level these range from membership of the Department's policy development groups to contributing to specific consultation exercises. Locally voluntary organisations often provide specific services, for example volunteer hospital transport schemes to enable better patient access; and providing information and support networks for patients, their carers and families, about living with specific medical conditions.