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Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 10 May 2002, Official Report, column 401W, on the NHS Cancer Plan, what consultations he undertook and what representations he received prior to developing the two-week-wait target for cancer diagnosis in the NHS Cancer Plan. 
Ms Blears: A cancer waiting times multi-disciplinary working group met in 1997. The group made recommendations to improve access to cancer services including the need to set specific waiting time targets for all stages of the patient journey. The first of these was the introduction of the two week out-patient waiting times standard. The NHS Cancer Plan introduced further targets to reduce the time patients have to wait for diagnosis and treatment.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether overweight and obesity has decreased since the setting of milestones for its reduction within the national health service framework for coronary heart disease. 
Ms Blears: The annual health survey for England provides information on the prevalence of overweight and obesity for the general population. Based on figures from the health survey for England 2000, the year for which the latest data are available, 45 per cent. of men are overweight and 21 per cent. obese, and 34 per cent. of women are overweight and 21 per cent. obese.
The national service framework for coronary heart disease was published in March 2000. Pending the publication of data for the years 2001 and 2002 no information exists to determine the national impact of the milestones.
1 Jul 2002 : Column 153W
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has collated on the health promotion milestones set within the national service framework for coronary heart disease in relation to obesity and overweight. 
The results suggest that implementation of local prevention programmes and the availability of quantitative data in response to the NSF has been variable. As a first step in addressing this the Department is preparing a handbook aimed at helping primary care professionals to deliver the NSFs.
Ms Blears: Although we do not hold data centrally on the body mass index (BMI) of registered patients, data are available on the BMI of the general population. The health survey for England for the year 2000 provides the most up to date information on the prevalence of overweight (BMI 2530) and obesity (BMI over 30) among UK adults. The Survey found that 45 per cent. of men are overweight and 21 per cent. obese, and 34 per cent. of women are overweight and 21 per cent. obese.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he and Ministers in his Department have had with representatives of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the last three months. 
Jacqui Smith: The then Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Public Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my noble Friend the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, met Professor David Hall, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on 19 March this year to discuss neonatal care.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people the Government estimate are in care homes but who could be treated in their own homes; and what targets they have for increasing capacity for home-based care. 
1 Jul 2002 : Column 154W
In April 2001 the then Minister responsible for the policy area, my right hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness (Mr. Hutton), made a statement about the review in his response to a question from the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Mr. Stunell). I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 10 April 2001, Official Report, volume 366, column 604W.
Jacqui Smith: The reasons for the increase in the prevalence of asthma among children (and adults) particularly over the past 30 years are largely unknown and are likely to be due to a number of different factors including an over-sensitivity to substances that irritate the airways, and deterioration in air quality
Due to the rise in the prevalence of asthma and the fact that the causes remain unknown, the Government have and continue to sponsor research in this area. Research is continuing both on asthma in general and on possible links between outdoor and indoor air pollution and asthma. The Medical Research Council always welcomes high quality applications from the scientific community for support into any aspect of biomedical research and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding. The Department's spend on directly commissioned research projects on asthma since 1997 is an estimated £7.24 million.
The national service framework (NSF) for children will be setting standards to improve the health and healthcare of children and young people. Asthma will be considered in depth from prevention through to an acute attack within the work on the NSF.
1 Jul 2002 : Column 155W
The yellow card scheme provides for voluntary reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions by doctors, dentists, coroners and pharmacists. It was extended to include all herbal products in October 1996.
|Year received||Total number of report||Number with a fatal outcome|
|2002 to date||31||2|
It is generally recognised that the reporting rate for medicines supplied over the counter is lower than for prescription medicines. Therefore, data obtained on suspected adverse reactions associated with herbal medicines through the yellow card scheme, cannot be directly compared to reporting for licensed pharmaceutical medicines. With herbal medicines in particular, consumers often do not tell their general practitioner or pharmacist that they are taking a herbal remedy.
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