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Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list by constituency the (a) GP surgeries, (b) dental practices, (c) pharmacies and (d) cottage hospitals serving rural communities in Shropshire which (i) closed and (ii) opened (1) between 1979 to 1997 and (2) since May 1997. 
Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not available by constituency for general practitioner surgeries, cottage hospitals and pharmacies--the figures for Shropshire as a whole are available. Information for dental practices is listed by constituency but is only available for the earlier period between January 1988 and April 1997.
|Period between Jan 1988 to Apr 1997|
|Constituency||Practice closed||Practice opened|
|Shrewsbury and Atcham||5||3|
Dental practices may include not only those in the General Dental Service but also practices for the Emergency Dental Service and Personal Dental Service. Some closures and openings are for the same location where the practice has reopened under a different name. Also, a number of dental practices did cease to treat some or all of their patients as National Health Service patients during this period.
3 May 2000 : Column: 162W
3 May 2000 : Column: 163W
May 1997 to date
|Period between May 1997 to Jan 2000|
|Constituency||Practice closed||Practice opened|
|Shrewsbury and Atcham||0||4|
Yvette Cooper: Policy on school milk is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and representations on this matter are passed to him for consideration. One representation has been received as part of the consultation on the scientific review of the welfare food scheme. It is being considered along with all the other responses received.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has not had any recent discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment regarding the reintroduction of free milk for school children.
Yvette Cooper: Taxanes, a group of cancer drugs including Taxol and Taxitere, are funded on the National Health Service in the South Staffordshire Health Authority area. Each case is assessed on an individual basis as to the potential benefits of using this particular group of drugs.
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Nationally, the efficiency and effectiveness of taxanes is currently being assessed by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence. The process is still continuing, but we expect the guidance to be issued shortly.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidelines he has issued to (a) GPs and (b) health authorities regarding the diagnosis guidelines issued in the paper entitled, "Beating Bowel Cancer"; and if he will make a statement; 
Yvette Cooper: "Beating Bowel Cancer" aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of colorectal cancer. The Department published cancer referral guidelines, including those for suspected colorectal cancer, on the NHSWeb and the internet on 31 March. We are also sending copies to all general practitioners in England as well as to health authorities, National Health Service trusts and primary care groups. These guidelines will help GPs to identify more easily those patients with suspected cancer so that they can be referred promptly and appropriately for specialist investigation.
Yvette Cooper: Supportive treatments for cancer sufferers are important for maintaining quality of life for cancer patients by alleviating pain, countering the side effects of other treatments and for secondary prevention.
The Department has commissioned work to improve overall National Health Service information, including national statistics on hospital prescribing, which will give us a more accurate method of recording hospital expenditure in cancer treatment.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received regarding the Medical Research Council's proposed CR08 trial into the treatment of colorectal cancer; and if he will make a statement. 
The arrangements for National Health Service support for the trial will be handled through the existing mechanisms laid out in the "Concordat Between the Health Departments and the Medical Research Council, 1997", and "Health Service Guidelines, HSG(97)32", copies of which are available in the Library.
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The Medical Research Council (MRC) is the main agency through which we support research on the causes and treatment of disease. The MRC receives most of its income via grant-in-aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. The Department funds research to support policy development in health and social care, and to support effective practice in the National Health Service. The Department also provides NHS support funding for research commissioned by the MRC and charities that takes place in the NHS.
The MRC spent £2.7 million in 1999-2000 on research of direct relevance to osteoporosis. It has a wide portfolio of work ranging from a number of epidemiological studies at the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit to more basic work on bone density being carried out at a number of other institutions.
The Department is funding the following projects: "A Systematic literature review of technologies for the diagnosis and monitoring of osteoporosis"--Cost: £55,770, and "Treatment of established osteoporosis"--Cost: £77,704.
In addition, the Department of Health provides support for research commissioned by charities and the Medical Research Council that take place in the NHS. Project details of work directly funded by the Department or supported through NHS research and development funding can be found on the National Research Register (NRR). This is available in the Library and most medical libraries on CD Rom, and on the internet: http://www.doh.gov.uk/nrr.htm. The NRR contains many details of projects/trials relating to osteoporosis.
Priorities for departmental research and development support for the development of policy are determined through discussion with policy colleagues, the Departmental Research Committee and Ministers. In the NHS research and development programme, priorities take account of widespread consultation with those using, delivering and managing services, within a framework overseen by the Central Research and Development Committee for the NHS. In all cases, priorities for our budgets reflect analysis of the burden of disease, potential benefits, our priorities, and take account of the responsibilities and work of other funders.
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