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Bone Marrow Donors

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to increase the proportion of bone marrow donors of Asian ethnic origin. [129268]

Mr. Denham: The National Blood Service recruits bone marrow donors from existing blood donors and ran a campaign last year to recruit more Asian blood donors. The NBS do not collect data on the ethnic origin of donors, but estimate that 2 per cent. of donors on the British Bone Marrow Donor Registry (which covers England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) are of ethnic origin compared with the United Kingdom ethnic minority population of roughly 7 per cent. Cord blood donation is an alternative to bone marrow donation in the treatment of some illnesses, and information from the NBS's cord blood donation programme indicates that over 40 per cent. of donations are from ethnic minority groups. I have asked the National Blood Service to explore what further steps can be taken to recruit more blood and bone marrow donors from the Asian community.

Community Nurses

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the percentage change in the real value, adjusted for costs, of the mileage allowance awarded to community nurses since 1994; and what plans he has to grade the allowance. [129462]

Mr. Denham: Mileage allowances for staff on national contracts is determined by an agreement of the General Whitley Council. Rates have been set under an agreed formula linked to the Automobile Association schedule of motoring costs which has been reviewed annually by the Council. No increases have been made to these allowances since 1993.

Increases in mileage allowances which take account of higher fuel costs were offered to Staff Side representatives on 17 July. Trade unions are now considering this offer.

Hospital Waiting Times

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting times are for NHS (a) cancer treatments, (b) cardiology and (c) transplant therapy in (i) the UK, (ii) England and (iii) Devon. [129662]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 7 July 2000]: The information given relates to England only. Waiting time data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are a matter for the individual Assemblies.

Waiting times for cancer treatment are recorded under the relevant specialities and are not identifiable separately. Average waiting times for cardiology and first graft transplants are given in the tables.

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Average (median) waiting times for cardiology

South and West Devon
North and East Devon


QF01 quarterly return (health authority based figures)

Average (median) waiting times for first graft transplants since

Kidney(1) 245

(1) Kidney transplants since 1990

(1) Excludes "super urgent"


Figures for Devon are not provided as the local unit only deals with kidney cases


United Kingdom Transplant Support Service Authority

Coronary Deaths

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health by how much deaths from heart disease and strokes have been reduced since May 1997; if Government targets for reducing the number of such deaths are being met in these areas; and if he will make a statement. [130384]

Yvette Cooper: Tackling heart disease and stroke is a top Government priority. Our target for reducing deaths in this area was set out in the White Paper "Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation" published in July 1999. It is to reduce the death rate from heart disease, stroke and related conditions in those aged under 75 years by at least two fifths (40 per cent.) by the year 2010, from a three-year average baseline at 1995/96/97.

The target was set for the year 2010 because it will take time for interventions in this area to translate into outcomes in terms of mortality rates. Latest available data still pre-date the start of the "Our Healthier Nation" strategy, but show that the three-year average age standardised death rate from circulatory diseases in people aged under 75 fell from 139.6 per 100,000 population in 1995/96/97 to 133.8 per 100,000 population in 1996/97/98--a 4 per cent. fall.

The downward trend in death rates and the Government's "Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation" strategy should be reinforced by the National Service Framework on Coronary Heart Disease. The Framework, which we published in March this year, sets out our plans

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for the development of services for the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease over the next ten years. It will be a key strand in our strategy to reduce both mortality and morbidity from heart disease.

Cystic Fibrosis

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice his Department gives to doctors on the process of screening for cystic fibrosis. [130389]

Mr. Denham: The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (NSC) advises the Government on all aspects of screening policy. The NSC does not currently recommend antenatal screening for cystic fibrosis as there are too many gene mutations associated with early cystic fibrosis identification and too little information on their clinical severity to enable counsellors to facilitate informed choice. The UK National Screening Committee will review this approach in the light of any new evidence. As yet, there is insufficient evidence of benefit to recommend national neonatal screening. The NSC is considering how to make progress on this issue.

Prostate Cancer

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on health campaigns aimed at promoting greater awareness of prostate cancer in each of the past 10 years. [130387]

Yvette Cooper: It is not possible to provide information in the form requested. A number of campaigns have covered both prostate cancer awareness and other issues and the sums spent on prostate cancer cannot be disaggregated from the total.

The Department provides information for the public, in leaflets and through health education campaigns. These encourage people to report to their general practitioner or other health professional any persistent or unusual symptoms which may indicate cancer or other disease.

We encourage early detection of prostate cancer and have announced that, by December 2000, all urgent general practitioner referrals of suspected cases should be seen by a consultant within two weeks of referral.

Little research has been carried out worldwide into prevention of prostate cancer and detection. In June, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced an extra £1 million to fund two new research projects. The first of these will be examining the acceptability of the treatment and diagnosis options to men who are randomly offered testing. The second project is looking at innovative new detection and treatment techniques.

We have also invested £200,000 from the Public Health Development Fund to develop, pilot and evaluate an education programme on prostate cancer especially the risks associated with screening and testing. This money will also go towards developing other materials aimed at changing attitudes among men to facilitate early detection and prevention of cancer.

We are in the early stages of developing a prostate cancer action plan which we will consult on. The plan will set out the current position on research, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer and will propose recommendations for future action.

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Respiratory Diseases

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to produce a national service framework for lung and respiratory diseases. [130729]

Mr. Denham: We are taking forward the National Service Framework (NSF) programme with the development of one new NSF per year. We will consider the proposed service area or care group for the next NSF against the criteria set out in "A First Class Service", as well as the priorities and targets identified in the National Plan.

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will exempt patients suffering from respiratory diseases from charges for on-going prescriptions for inhalers, steroids and water tablets. [130730]

Ms Stuart: We reviewed the prescription charging arrangements as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review and concluded that the present arrangements should remain for the rest of this Parliament.


Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the proportion of the total number of HIV transmissions which occurred in the UK through sex between men in the last 12 months. [130474]

Yvette Cooper: Figures are not yet available for the whole of the last 12 months. 42 per cent. of HIV infections diagnosed in the United Kingdom in 1999 and reported to the end of March 2000 were probably acquired through sex between men. When diagnoses of infections probably acquired abroad are excluded, the estimated proportion of infections occurring in the UK through sex between men rises to approximately 70 per cent.

Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of HIV prevention budgets (a) spent by his Department and (b) spent through health authorities are targeted at men who have sex with men. [130473]

Yvette Cooper: In 1999-2000, of the £3 million allocated to national HIV health promotion and prevention, £1.1 million was spent on work targeting men who have sex with men. Health authorities received £53.4 million for local HIV prevention work, of which they were required to spend at least 50 per cent. on groups at increased risk of HIV, including men who have sex with men.

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