§ Mr. Maples
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are being taken to set aside funds to empower patients via (a) improved information access and (b) further development of the expert patient scheme. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
The Department's "Improving Patient Experience" programme established the "Informed Patient" project, a three-year programme of work (2003–06) managed by MIS Direct Online. The project will improve the quality, range and accessibility of patient information; thereby empowering people to make informed decisions about their healthcare. Funding for this work amounts to £1,814,000 in 2003–04 and £2,127,000 for 2004–05. Funding for the third year will be agreed in early 2005.
Following the publication of the strategy document in September 2001, "The Expert Patient: A new approach to chronic disease management for the 21st century", the Department has funded and supported a community based pilot, from April 2002 to 2004 for each primary care trust (PCT) to provide training for people in the self management of long term conditions. Nearly all 300 PCTs in England have piloted the "Expert Patients" programme and data at the end of the pilot in April 2004 showed that almost 10,000 people had taken part. 1474W Funding has been allocated by the Department to support the mainstreaming of the programme across the national health service from 2004 to 2007.