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Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, consequent on his letter dated 6 June to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (1) with regard to Mr. Stephen Holden, if he will now obtain for the right hon. Member the promised reply from the chairman of the Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust; 
Ms Blears: I understand that Mr. Peter Mount, chairman of the Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals National Health Service Trust wrote to my right hon. Friend on 21 June and 6 July in respect of his constituents Mr. Stephen Holden and Mr. Robert McDonald.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for West Chelmsford can expect a reply to his letter of 9 April relating to his constituent Mr. P. Arnill of Lavender House, Dragon road, Great Leighs; and if he will make a statement on the factors underlying the delay in replying. 
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Ms Blears: The Department has not received a copy of the hon. Member's letter of the 9 April relating to his constituent Mr. P. Arnill.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to notify NHS trusts of the traffic light indicators for core targets against which their performance will be judged in the financial year 200102. 
Mr. Hutton: National health service trusts will be advised of the specific targets that will be used to traffic light 200102 performance later this year.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) commissioned on the impact of Ritalin on the long-term health of children. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 10 July 2001]: The Department funded a research project entitled "Working memory in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): the impact of methylphenidate (Ritalin)", by Dr. Kim Cornish of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham, at a cost of £26,585. The final report was received by the Department in April 2001 and has been submitted by Dr. Cornish to journals for publication.
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 Medical Research Council (MRC) and by charities where this takes place in the NHS. The Department has provided or is providing such funding for six other recently completed projects and five other ongoing projects relating to Ritalin. Details of these projects can be found on the National Research Register which is available in the Library on CD Rom, and on the internet via http:\\www/doh.gov.uk/research.
As with all medicines, the safety of Ritalin is continually monitored by the Medicines Control Agency and by the Committee on Safety of Medicines, an independent expert advisory body.
The MRC is the main agency through which we fund research on the causes and treatment of disease. The MRC receives most of its income via grant-in-aid from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, via the Office of Science and Technology. The MRC funds projects on ADHD but is not funding currently any
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research specifically into Ritalin. The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for research into any aspect of human health and these are judged in competition with other demands for funding. Awards are made according to the scientific quality and importance to health of the applications.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the clinical implication of a delay in Herceptin treatment of women with breast cancer who over express the HER 2 marker. 
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the clinical implication of a delay in the use of Irinotecan, Oxaliplatin and Raltitrexed in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer, at (a) first-line and (b) second-line; 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 July 2001]: The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has been asked to evaluate each of these drugs, and to assess their clinical and cost-effectiveness in the treatment of advanced breast cancer, advanced colorectal cancer and follicular lymphoma.
NICE will base its recommendations on the evidence of clinical benefitsincluding the impact on the quality of life as well as the likely effects on mortality, and estimates of the associated costs.
It will consider which, if any, of those patients diagnosed with these particular cancers will benefit from these new drugs. The publication dates for guidance on all of these drugs are to be confirmed. If NICE makes a positive recommendation all health authorities will be expected to fund these treatments from the additional £255 million available to them for cancer services in 200102.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of people with follicular lymphoma that are being denied Rituximab for the treatment of their disease. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 July 2001]: Follicular lymphoma is one of a diverse group of cancers known as non-Hodgkins lymphomas (NHLs). NHLs account for about 2 per cent. of all cancers. There are about 9,000 people diagnosed with NHLs in the United Kingdom each year.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is evaluating and assessing the clinical and cost- effectiveness of Rituximab in the treatment of follicular lymphoma. If they recommend its use the guidance will make clear which of those patients diagnosed with follicular lymphoma should benefit from it.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses employed in the NHS for the first time in each of the past 12 months have (a) had a contract with an employment agency and (b) been other nurses. 
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Mr. Hutton: Figures from the Department for the expenditure on agency nurses in 19992000 are available in the Library. Information on the number of nurses employed in the national health service for the first time are not held centrally but may be available from individual NHS employers.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the potential increase in the market for gas arising from the expansion of the gas network. 
Mr. Wilson: Approximately 20 per cent. of households do not have access to gas. The Government, Ofgem and the industry are currently working to facilitate the extension of the network. It is not yet clear how many households will be able to benefit from this work. However the Government hope that as many as possible will have access to the gas network.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will publish the detailed terms of reference of the Government's review of energy policy. 
Mr. Wilson: The Performance and Innovation Unit has posted a note of the scope of the project on its website, which can be found at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/ innovation.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how she proposes to evaluate and measure the benefits of security of supply in the Government's energy review. 
Mr. Wilson: Security of supply is a key element of the energy review currently being undertaken by the Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU). The PIU has published a note of the scope of the review on its website and will be publishing further papers as its work develops.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the assessment of nuclear power in the Government's energy review will incorporate the full life cycle costs of decommissioning and waste disposal. 
Mr. Wilson: The review of energy policy will be considering what role, if any, the nuclear industry should play in meeting longer term environmental and security of supply objectives. As with other energy sources, the review will take into account all costs which are relevant to these longer-term questions.
Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many interim payments were offered in respect of claims for chronic bronchitis and emphysema by area and by month since 1999. 
Mr. Wilson: The number of interim payments made to chronic bronchitis and emphysema claimants since 1 January 1999, broken down by area, are as follows.
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Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many widows' claims are outstanding in respect of their late husbands' claims for chronic bronchitis and emphysema, broken down by area and month since 1999. 
Mr. Wilson: I regret that IRISC, the Department's handler, is unable to provide figures as to the number of widow's claims outstanding by region and by month since 1999 in the time given.
However, I can confirm the IRISC has registered 54,938 claims in respect of miners' widows and families, to date. Of these, so far the Department has paid almost 6,000 bereavement and loss of society awards.
In May 2001, an initiative was agreed to make an interim payment of £2,000 to widows who have received a bereavement award, subject to certain conditions. The Department has, to date, made 1,932 of these awards.
In total, 13,600 interims and final settlements have been paid to miners' families, amounting to £65.8 million.
Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his estimate of the time which will be taken to settle all claims for (a) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (b) vibration white finger. 
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Mr. Wilson: It is difficult to say when all compensation claims for both respiratory disease and vibration white finger, VWF will be settled, not least because new claims are still being received.
With regard to respiratory disease, there are currently 153,200 claims registered and 900 new claims continue to be initiated each week. To date, almost 124,000 claims for VWF have been registered, with an approximate weekly increase of 330 claims per week. While the number of claims continue to increase, the Department is unable to provide, with accuracy, an estimate of the time taken to settle claims.
Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the average length of time taken from an interim payment in respect of a claim for chronic bronchitis and emphysema being offered to payment being received, broken down by area in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Wilson: Under the respiratory disease handling agreement signed between the Department and the claimants' solicitors, the Department makes the following interim payment:
The majority of these are made directly by issuing a cheque rather than making an offer and waiting for acceptance. The only interim where there is a prior offer stage is the one in respect of an initiative agreed in May 2001 to make a £2,000 interim to widows in receipt of a bereavement award. The payment of this award is dependent on a response from the claimant and subject to certain criteria. The payment of this interim is also dependent on IRISC, the Department's claims handler, being in receipt from the claimants' solicitors of the requisite documents to ensure that payment is made to the right individual, as determined by the grant of probate. I regret that the Department is unable to provide figures for the turnaround time of these interims broken down by area. This depends, among other things, on the time of responses from the claimant. However, I can confirm that once IRISC is in receipt of the necessary documents, the average length of time taken to making a payment is 1.5 weeks.
Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to improve the
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process for claimants suffering from chronic bronchitis and emphysema and who have made a claim for compensation in the north-east area. 
Mr. Wilson: The key to speeding up the compensation process in the north-east lies in the recruitment of more respiratory specialists.
Healthcall, the company contracted to deliver the medical assessment, will move resources to areas where the rate of MAP assessments is unsatisfactory, such as the north-east. Recently, a specialist has been employed in a full time capacity in the north-east and a further specialist has been identified who is prepared to travel from Scotland to work in the Newcastle and Durham area.
Healthcall are also installing extra long function testing equipment at the centre in Durham to increase the rate of assessments still further. The use of one or both of the mobile testing centres in the area is also being investigated.
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