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Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of TB have been recorded in South Shields in each of the last five years. [135276]

Yvette Cooper: Data on the number of cases of tuberculosis, notifiable under the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations 1988, are recorded under local authority area only. The number of notifications for the period 1995 to 1999 for the South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council area are shown in the table.

Tuberculosis--all reports1424151511

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Cancer Research

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the new NHS Cancer Research Network. [135799]

Yvette Cooper: A review of cancer research priorities undertaken by the Department in 1999 identified support for the infrastructure for clinical cancer research as the highest priority. We responded to this need in The National Health Service Plan by committing funds for development of a NHS Cancer Research Network (NCRN) across England. By 2003 we will be investing an additional £20 million each year in this new initiative.

The NCRN will provide a world class infrastructure for the conduct of clinical trials and other well designed research. Its initial aim is to double the total proportion of adult cancer patients entering trials within three years. It will be a managed research network mapping onto the cancer service networks across the country. It will provide dedicated research nurses, data managers, medical staff sessions and information systems needed for high quality clinical research, together with research support for radiology, pathology, pharmacy and radiotherapy. The quality, speed and co-ordination of clinical research will be enhanced and research will be better integrated with cancer care.

The first step in establishing the NCRN is to commission a Co-ordinating Centre. This process is well advanced and we hope to make an announcement soon.

Prostate Cancer

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent developments there have been in his policy on research into prostate cancer; how much money is being spent by his Department on screening and research programmes targeted at prostate cancer; and how such programmes will benefit the people of the West Midlands and Coventry. [135798]

Yvette Cooper: The National Health Service Plan and the NHS prostate cancer programme outline our policy of a progressive increase in the resources from the Department devoted to prostate cancer. This will result in the expenditure this year of £1.2 million rising to £4.2 million in 2003-04.

This year we are investing in a study of the most effective treatment of patients who are screening test positive, a new method of diagnosis and treatment of early prostate cancer, a collection of 300 prostate cancer tumour samples as source material for researchers and a study of the current extent of screening in the United Kingdom. The next meeting of the Cancer Research Funders Forum will discuss the creation of centres of excellence for prostate cancer research in which the Department is ready to invest. The Medical Research Council is currently considering a proposal for a trial of prostate cancer screening and we will know the outcome in four to six weeks. The benefits of all this research and any policies that develop from it will be available to everyone in England.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what time scale he has set for chief executives of

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hospitals to implement local resuscitation policies which take account of patients' rights; and if he will make a statement; [135716]

Yvette Cooper: On 5 September, the Department issued a Health Service Circular Resuscitation Policy (HSC2000/28) to National Health Service trust chief executives which makes clear that patients' rights are central to decision-making on resuscitation.

The circular asks chief executives to ensure that appropriate resuscitation policies--which respects patients' rights--are in place, understood by all relevant staff, accessible to those who need them, and that such policies are subject to appropriate audit and monitoring arrangements.

As stated in the NHS Plan, hospitals are to have resuscitation policies in place by April 2001.

Sickness Absence

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the progress made by his Department since 1999 in reducing sickness absence; what targets he has agreed with the Cabinet Office; and if he will make a statement. [135464]

Ms Stuart: The Cabinet Office prepares each year an annual report of sickness absence in the Civil Service which includes information for each department. The report for 1999 is currently being finalised and will be published soon.

Details of the Department's targets for reduced sickness absence for the years 2001 and 2003 against a baseline year of 1998 will be included in its Service Delivery Agreement. This is also to be published shortly.

Tumour Operations

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was at University Hospital, Birmingham for operations to remove a tumour in each of the last two years; and if he will make a statement. [135071]

Mr. Denham: Waiting list statistics are not recorded by specific clinical condition, rather by specialty. It is therefore not feasible to produce statistics for operations to remove tumours. Depending on the nature of the tumour (malignant/benign), the location of the tumour and the size of the tumour, the clinical priority on the waiting list for that patient can be different, with urgent cases treated before non-urgent.

Generally, the trust is well on target to achieve its end of year in-patient waiting list position.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent contacts his Department has had with University Hospital, Birmingham, over the waiting list for operations for the removal of a tumour; and if he will make a statement. [135070]

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Mr. Denham: The West Midlands Regional Office of the National Health Service Executive holds regular review meetings with all acute trusts, including University Hospital Birmingham, where general waiting lists are discussed. The Trust is well on target to achieve its end of year in-patient waiting list position.

We are committed through the NHS Plan to cutting the maximum waiting time for in-patient treatment from 18 months now to six months by 2005. Latest figures show that around 70 per cent. of in-patients are seen within three months of going on a waiting list.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on the ways in which patient groups can play a greater role in explaining the benefits of animal experiments; [134178]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 24 October 2000]: My noble Friend, The Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, explained to my hon. Friend on 25 July that we fully support the need to raise public awareness of the benefits of animal testing. The Medical Research Council has recently published a booklet, "Mice and Medicine", on animal experiments and medical advances, copies of which are available in the Library. The joint industry/Government Pharmaceutical Industry Competitiveness Task Force is also considering the wider issue as part of its work on animal research. We also will be examining what enhanced role patient groups can play in raising public awareness in this area.

In view of these developments, and for reasons explained in the answers given on 8 March 2000, Official Report, column 760W, 5 April 2000, Official Report, column 509W and 3 May 2000, Official Report, column 170W, we have no plans to introduce a labelling system for medicines to indicate they have been tested on animals. Such a system would require an amendment to European law and, even if permitted, there will not be the space on most labels to explain the necessity for animal testing in the interests of protection of public health.


Government Actuary Report

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when his Department asked the Government Actuary for a report on linking benefits to earnings. [135267]

Mr. John M. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he has received the Government Actuary's report under section 36 of the Child Support and Social Security Act; when he intends to lay it before Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [135450]

Mr. Rooker: The Government Actuary is finalising his report under section 36 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000. It will be published when it is completed.

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