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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average wait for an audiology appointment (a) at the Northern Devon healthcare trust and (b) in England has been in (i) each of the last seven years and (ii) each of the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement; [57173]

Ms Blears: Figures are collected by consultant specialty and not treatment specialty. As such it is not possible to extract the information requested.

Drug Testing

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he takes to ensure, in the testing of drugs for potential carcinogenicity, commercial companies do not select animal species and strains of species where the incidence of carcinogenicity is low. [56017]

Ms Blears [holding answer 14 May 2002]: The rationale for selecting species to be used in the carcinogenicity studies is stated in the guidance documents produced as a result of the International Conference of Harmonisation.

Road Accident Casualties

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money NHS hospitals have claimed from motor insurance providers to recover the cost of treating road accident casualties in each of the last 10 years. [56657]

Ms Blears [holding answer 16 May 2002]: Prior to 5 April 1999 national health service trusts had responsibility for collecting from insurers charges for hospital treatment following road traffic accidents under the provisions of sections 157 and 158 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Trust accounts show the following amounts of road traffic income since 1994, the earliest year for which information is available:

£ million

The system for recovery of these charges changed with the introduction of the Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Act 1999 which came into effect on 5 April 1999 and there is now a new centralised recovery system which is undertaken by the compensation recovery unit (CRU). Since April 1999 the CRU has paid the following amounts to NHS trusts:

£ million

The amount collected for 1999–2000 does not represent total income to the NHS in that year. This is because income would have been received directly by trusts in the first part of the year as a carry-over from the old arrangements.

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Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have suffered (a) febrile convulsions and (b) other adverse effects within 14 days of receiving the MMR vaccine. [40687]

Ms Blears: Since 1987, there have been a total of 3,578 reports containing 5,932 suspected adverse reactions associated with MMR vaccines reported to the Medicines Control Agency. For 2,683 of these suspected reactions it is stated that the reaction occurred within 14 days. There have been 82 reports of suspected febrile convulsions associated with MMR vaccines in which the reporter has stated that the reaction occurred within 14 days. The onset time of a suspected reaction is not always provided by reporters.

Febrile convulsions are a recognised side effect of MMR vaccines and are listed as a side effect in their product information. A United Kingdom epidemiological study has suggested that the risk of febrile convulsions six to 11 days following MMR vaccines is around one case per 3,000 doses (Farrington et al. The Lancet 1995; 345:567–69).

It is important to note that the reporting of a suspected adverse reaction does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the reaction and other factors such as concomitant medication and underlying disease may provide an alternative explanation.

Mount Vernon Hospital

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will publish an assessment of the quality of cancer services provided at Mount Vernon Hospital; [48901]

Ms Blears: Cancer services at Mount Vernon Hospital were peer reviewed against national standards in May 2001. This review was part of a national process and the final report was submitted to the Network Board, trusts and health authorities. It was also copied to both London and south-eastern regional offices.

In August 2001 Mount Vernon Hospital was assessed for accreditation as a gynaecological cancer centre. It could not be accredited because it did not have diagnostic, surgical/oncology and palliative care services which would be found in a comprehensive cancer centre. Provisional arrangements have been approved pending the outcome of the long-term review of the Mount Vernon Cancer Network and Centre.

Prior to this the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre was reviewed against Calman Hine standards in 1997. It was given temporary accreditation and asked to meet Calman Hine standards. This temporary accreditation lapsed in 1999 because Mount Vernon Cancer Centre failed to meet the required standards.

10 Jun 2002 : Column 1091W

The recommendation(s) of the steering group of the Mount Vernon long-term cancer review will be publishing its recommendation(s) shortly to the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire health authority in its capacity as host health authority for the Mount Vernon Cancer Network.


Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what clotting factors are available in recombinant products for people with haemophilia; and what assessment he has made as to whether all clotting factors with the least side effects are available to all haemophilia sufferers. [54858]

Ms Blears: The full range of recombinant clotting factors for patients with haemophilia are available for purchase by national health service trusts. Patients who develop antibodies against clotting factors, known as inhibitors, can be treated with a range of products including recombinant factor VIIa. The United Kingdom haemophilia centre doctors organisation has produced guidelines for clinicians for treatment on inhibitors. Treatment is a matter for individual clinical decision.

Biobank UK

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission an independent body to undertake an independent scientific peer review of the scientific protocol for Biobank UK. [55635]

Ms Blears: The protocol for the United Kingdom's Biobank project was developed following extensive consultation with the scientific community. Independent international scientific peer review was used to inform the funding decisions made by the Department, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Councils. In all, 12 experts were involved, 10 of whom were from overseas, including the United States of America, Australia and various European countries. None of these had prior involvement in the development of the protocol nor were they involved with organisations likely to participate in the study or benefit financially. A scientific management committee composed of senior scientific advisers will be responsible for overseeing data collection, setting targets, agreeing changes to the protocol, and monitoring scientific output. Scrutiny of the scientific protocol will be an on-going process and it is therefore considered unlikely that an additional body undertaking further independent scientific peer review will add significant value to the UK Biobank project.

Blood Donation

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 771W, what assessment the Department has made of the reasons underlying the forecast fall in levels of blood donation by 17-year-olds. [57110]

Ms Blears: The table has been updated since the answer of 25 March 2002 to show the final figures for 2001–02.

From 1998 when 17-year-olds were permitted to donate blood the numbers doing so increased for two consecutive years. However, the reduced donations in 2001–02 corresponded with a fall that year, albeit at a slower rate, in the number of 17-year-olds in the general population.

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The numbers of 17-year-olds are projected to increase substantially in the next few years. The National Blood Service believes, therefore, that the decline in 2001–02 is likely to be a blip in an otherwise rising trend, rather than a significant downturn.

Financial year17-year-old donor count

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