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Breast Screening

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of breast screening. [46763]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently evaluated the evidence on breast screening. The results of the evaluation were announced on Tuesday 19 March this year and confirmed earlier advice as to the effectiveness of breast screening.

IARC concluded that trials have provided sufficient evidence for the efficacy of mammography screening of women between 50 and 69 years and that the reduction in mortality from breast cancer among women who chose to participate in screening programmes was estimated to be about 35 per cent.

The working group which consisted of 24 experts from 11 countries also considered the earlier criticisms of the trials and concluded that many of these were unsubstantiated, and the remaining deficiencies were judged not to invalidate the trials' findings.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the extent of mastectomies carried out as a precaution on women who have had a tumour detected by breast screening but were of a kind that may never develop into cancer; [46764]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 10 April 2002]: One in five breast cancers detected through screening will be found when still within the milk duct. This is called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). DCIS is difficult to treat as it is not known which women might progress rapidly to invasive cancer and need extensive treatment, and which women could be managed more conservatively. Detecting DCIS does not necessarily lead to mastectomy. Treatment options are always discussed with women and most women will be offered a choice between mastectomy and less drastic treatment.

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Of the 9,525 cancers detected by the breast screening programme in the UK in 1999–2000, 2,009 were DCIS. 29 per cent. of non-invasive screen-detected breast cancers resulted in mastectomy 1 .

NHS Cancer Screening Programmes are funding a study to improve quality of care for women with screen detected DCIS. The results of the study will lead to an evidence-based review on the approach taken to the management of women with DCIS. The study is due to report in 2004.

Property Protection

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what new measures his Department took in 2001–02 to protect its property from theft or damage. [47248]

Ms Blears [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The Department takes very seriously the theft of and damage to its property. We keep under continuous review the steps we take to protect our property and introduce new security measures where these are cost effective.

In 2001–02 we introduced the following new measures:

Other security measures already in place include:

Project Sponsorship

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which of his Department's projects have received sponsorship since 1997, including (a) details of the sponsor, (b) the nature of the project, (c) the date of the project, (d) the total cost of the project and (e) the amount of money involved in the sponsorship deal. [48398]

Ms Blears [holding answer 11 April 2002]: In line with the Government's commitment in its response to the Sixth Report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life, details of individual amounts of sponsorship valued at more than £5,000 will be disclosed in departmental annual reports.

Community Hospitals

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many community hospitals there were in settlements with under 3,000 people in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. [46456]

Ms Blears [holding answer 15 April 2002]: This information is not collected for individual hospitals.

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The concept of care closer to home as identified by the National Beds Inquiry (NBI) underpins our plans for modernising the health service. To this end maximum use needs to be made of community hospitals in delivering and coordinating the local population's care. Community hospitals are working hard to develop their roles, for example in carrying out day surgery, minor procedures and caring for patients in the recuperative phases of recovery from illness or accident. They will be key players in meeting our target of introducing an additional 5,000 intermediate care beds—the bridge between hospital and home—by 2004.

Accident and Emergency Departments

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS patients were admitted to wards from accident and emergency departments within (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) more than four hours, after being seen by a doctor or consultant in (i) March 1997 and (ii) the latest month for which figures are available. [46707]

Ms Blears [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Figures for March 1997 were not collected.

The latest published figures are for the third quarter of 2001–02. These are in the table.

Admission from Accident and Emergency Departments, England, 2001–02, quarter 3

Patients admitted through Accident and Emergency573,266
Patients placed in bed in a ward within two hours of a decision to admit396,01669.1
Patients placed in bed in a ward within two to four hours of a decision to admit111,49319.4
Patients not placed in bed in a ward within four hours of a decision to admit65,75711.5


Department of Health form OMNG

International Recruitment

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 13 February 2002, Official Report, column 486W, on international nurse recruitment; (1) how he plans to inform (a) NHS trusts, (b) overseas Governments, (c) overseas nurses and (d) nursing organisations of those nursing recruitment agencies which have failed to adhere to the code of practice; [39224]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answers 28 February and 4 March 2002]: We are working with international recruitment agencies and their representative bodies and other stakeholders to establish arrangements whereby agencies can register their agreement to comply with the Code of Practice on international recruitment.

Those commercial agencies who agree to adhere to the Code of Practice will be listed on the Department's

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website. In addition, overseas Governments will receive information via the Embassies and High Commissions and through the Commonwealth Secretariat.

This work will be undertaken by departmental officials in conjunction with international recruitment leads working with NHS trusts. No date for completing this work has been set.