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28 Oct 2002 : Column 666W—continued

Radioactive Xenon Gas

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what experiments have been conducted using the release of radioactive xenon gas from Harwell Atomic Energy Research Laboratories. [75688]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

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I understand from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority that a short series of tests using mildly radioactive xenon gas were carried out in April 1961, in order to improve the understanding of weather conditions on the dispersal of airborne materials.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has had with the Health Professions Council regarding the increase in the retention fee for radiographers; and if he will make a statement. [76015]

Mr. Hutton: [Holding reply issued on Monday 21 October]: The Health Professions Council (HPC) ended a three month public consultation exercise on 30 September 2002. One of the issues for consultation was the level at which the HPC should set its fees from April 2003. The Department provided a consolidated response to the consultation of which the issue of the level of fees formed part. The HPC will analyse the feedback it has received and produce a document summarising the replies, which they aim to publish in November.


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people have been waiting more than (a) six, (b) 12 and (c) 18 months for radiotherapy treatment in each English health authority area; [76036]

Ms Blears [holding answers 24 October 2002]: Waiting times for radiotherapy treatment are not collected centrally. In order to tackle radiotherapy waiting times, we are making unprecedented investment in new radiotherapy facilities, streamlining care processes through the cancer services collaborative and working to best utilise the current workforce and to increase the number of staff in post and in training.

Renal Services (Portsmouth)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has received the South East Health Board Review Panel's analysis of and recommendations for the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust Renal Services; and if he will make a statement. [76005]

Ms Blears: Officials of the Department's directorate of health and social care for the south of England have received the report on Portsmouth renal services by the external review panel, commissioned by the regional director of public health for the south east. In response to the report Portsmouth hospitals national health service trust has produced a detailed action plan. Progress against it is being closely monitored by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight health strategic health authority and the directorate of health and social care (south).

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Salisbury Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the financial position of the Salisbury Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service; and what the waiting time is for an appointment. [72615]

Ms Blears [holding answer 15 October 2002]: I understand that an additional #60,000 has been made available to Salisbury alcohol and drugs advisory service (SADAS) in recognition of the shortfall in the original allocation for 2002–03. This will enable the strengthening of staffing resources, which will allow them to improve all their services, including detoxification, capacity and structured day care provision.

SADAS is taking part in the combined national treatment agency and modernisation agency waiting times pilot. The current waiting times being reported by SADAS are shown in the table.

Waiting times
Highest priority cases1–2 weeks
Treatment for under 25 year oldsUp to 8 weeks
Arrest referralUp to 12 weeks
Low riskUp to 52 weeks

It should be noted that the figures above measure the time from referral to treatment, and not from the first appointment, which may have occurred at an earlier date.

Smallpox Vaccine

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much he estimates it would cost clinically to test the smallpox vaccine to be supplied by Powderject. [67542]

Mr. Hutton: The Government have made no estimate of the cost of clinical trials for this vaccine, as the costs of any such trials normally fall to the supplying company.

There are currently no proposals for clinical trials of this vaccine in the United Kingdom, and the Government are not meeting any costs for any future limited clinical trials that might be required in fulfilment of an application for a product licence for smallpox vaccine supplied by Powderject Pharmaceuticals.

Since smallpox does not currently exist in the population, trials of protective efficacy are not possible. Therefore, the likely protective efficacy of a new

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smallpox vaccine must be inferred from other parameters. Clinical trials are not mandatory for unlicensed vaccines.

The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control are conducting independent potency and quality checks on the new vaccine prior to the vaccine being finally accepted.


Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the percentage smoking rates in each

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year since 1990 in (a) England and (b) each NHS region for (i) all adults, (ii) non-manual groups and (iii) manual groups. [75640]

Ms Blears: Information on smoking prevalence for adults is obtained from the general household survey; questions on smoking were included every two years. The most recent results are for 2000. Information on smoking prevalence in non-manual and manual groups is not readily available by region; sample sizes for some regions are relatively small and would not be very robust. The available information is given in the tables.

Table 1: Prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults aged 16 and over, by socio-economic group, England 1990 to 2000

Unweighted(33) Weighted(33)
Weighted base (000s)35,29035,452
Unweighted base15,00215,66314,44713,38112,29511,829

(33) From 2000, ONS have weighted the data to compensate for under-representation of people in some groups (for example young men). The 2000 results are provided based on weighted data only. The results based on weighted and unweighted data are not directly comparable, so the results for 1998 have been presented as weighted, and as unweighted data.


In this table, the non-manual social-economic group category includes professionals, employers and managers, and intermediate non-manual and junior non-manual workers. The manual social-economic group category includes skilled manual (including foreman and supervisors) and own account non-professional, semi-skilled manual and personal service, and unskilled manual workers.


ONS General Household Surveys, 1990 to 2000.

Table 2: Prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults aged 16 and over, by standard region England, 1990 to 2000

Weighted(34) Unweighted(34) WeightedUnweighted
Region1990199219941996199819982000Base 2000 (000)Sample 2000
Yorkshire and Humberside292828282829283,7711,25
North West333027303132304,4721,52
East Midlands282526262627252,89599
West Midlands292624282829263,9251,30
East Anglia262724252223261,73360
Greater London312929293031275,2531,50
Outer Metropolitan area292625252425258,2012,80
Outer South East28282728
South West272524272425273,7241,30
All England2928262827282736,53112,15

(34) See notes to table 1 re: weighting.


ONS General Household Survey 2000, published as XLiving in Britain", results from the 2000 General Household Survey. Available from the internet at:


Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the data available on death rates from (a) suicide and (b) undetermined injury in each year since 1996. [75641]

Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply. The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from L. Cook to Dr. Evan Harris, dated 28 October 2002:

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