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4 Jun 2003 : Column 489W—continued


Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to increase detection rates for (a) cancer of the bowel and (b) cancer of the colon; [116344]

Ms Blears: Detection rates for cancer are not collected centrally. In 1999, 28,451 1 cases of colorectal (colon and rectum) cancer were diagnosed. The total number of all cases of cancer diagnosed in 1999 was 221,064.

In a speech to the Britain Against Cancer Conference on 5 November 2002, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health reaffirmed his commitment to introduce a national screening programme for bowel cancer and to improve services for symptomatic patients. To take this work forward, the National Cancer Director launched the national health service bowel cancer programme on 4 February 2003. The programme has three main strands: developing a national screening programme, streamlining the patient pathway for symptomatic patients, and improving treatment.

This work will be underpinned by expansion and modernisation of the work force, and a communications strategy for professionals and the general public.

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been allocated to cancer services in the 2003–06 Local Delivery Plan for the Avon, Gloucester and Wiltshire Strategic Health Authority Area. [115844]

Ms Blears: The information is shown in the table.

£ millions

Cancer service allocation

These figures are dependent on the strategic health authority's NHS Bank application.


Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in implementing the requirement for general practitioners to identify carers on their patient lists and inform them of services available to carers. [115906]

Mr. Hutton: General practitioner's computer systems are required to include a field where the details of carers are entered. More than 98 per cent. of GPs already have

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access to a desktop computer, which means that they will be prompted for carer details as part of the registration details of patients.

In addition, the new GP contract, which is currently under consideration, aims to resource and reward GPs on the basis of how well they care for their patients rather than simply the number of patients they treat. One of the quality standards is that, "the practice has a protocol for the identification of carers and a mechanism for the referral of carers for social services assessment".

Childhood Dyspraxia

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the size is of the waiting list for childhood dyspraxia in each trust in England. [116113]

Mr. Hutton: Information on the waiting list for childhood dyspraxia is not collected centrally. Information is collected at consultant main specialty level. This can be found on the Department's website at

Diagnostic Testing

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much investment has gone into laboratory diagnostic testing since 1997; what assessment has been made of whether clinical diagnostics can cut down the costs of treatment on the NHS; and if he will make a statement on the benefits to be gained from early diagnosis of illnesses. [114701]

Mr. Hutton: During the period 1999–2000 and 2001–02, the Department of Health invested 28 million capital through its pathology modernisation programme in National Health Service pathology services. Extra resources for the NHS were announced in the 2002 Budget, with an annual average increase of 7.4 per cent, above inflation—the largest ever sustained increase in NHS funding—over the five years from 2003–04 to 2007–08. As part of this, we are investing £54 million capital and £9.1 million revenue specifically in pathology services over the three year period from 2003–04 to 2005–06.

It is clear that early diagnosis can benefit patients. For example, screening for early detection of diabetic retinopathy and laser therapy is effective in preventing visual impairment. Similarly, cancer screening is an important way to detect abnormalities at an early stage, allowing treatment when the cancer is most likely to be curable. We also recognise the benefits of early diagnosis for coronary heart disease in primary care and this approach is supported in the national service framework.

Digital Hearing Aids

John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what directions he has issued to hospital trusts involved in the first and second waves of the hearing aids modernisation project on ensuring audiology patients have access to digital hearing aids; [116688]

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Jacqui Smith: We have no evidence of audiology departments discriminating against any age group in the fitting of digital hearing aids. Such discrimination would not be acceptable.

Most first wave sites fitted new patients when they were first modernised and then extended this to include review patients. However, this is a matter for local discretion and some current sites are fitting both new and review patients concurrently from the start. The Royal National Institute for the Deaf has issued guidelines to audiologists in sites taking part in the modernising hearing aid services (MHAS) project. These guidelines advise that patients who have received National Health Services analogue hearing aids in the last three years should not be renewed for a digital aid unless there are clinical reasons why it is particularly appropriate to fit such an aid. The guidelines suggest that patients should be assessed for digital aids if there has been significant deterioration in their hearing since the last assessment, or if the patient has been persistently dissatisfied with the performance of the analogue aid. 83,397 hearing aids had been fitted as part of the modernisation project by the end of March 2003. The cost of finding out how many of those were fitted to patients who already had analogue aids would be disproportionate, and the information is not collected centrally.

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Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors there are per 100 beds in each NHS trust in England. [112059]

Mr. Hutton: Information on the number of medical and dental staff per 100 beds in National Health Service trusts within acute and acute teaching clusters, has been placed in the Library. Community trust data has been excluded because the services provided by such trusts are largely non-bed based.

Elderly People

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost of dental treatment was for people over the age of 65 in (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham, (b) Shropshire and (c) England in each year since 1997. [114761]

Mr. Lammy: The average cost of a course of dental treatment in the general dental service (GDS) for people 65 years of age and over in Shropshire health authority (HA) area, Shropshire County Primary Care Trust (PCT) area, Telford and Wrekin PCT area and England in 1997–98 to 2002–03 is shown in the table. These costs are for the payment to the dentist and include the patient charge where applicable. Dentists receive other payments, such as continuing care payments for registered patients of 63.7 pence per month for patients aged 65 and over in 2002–03 and commitment payments which depend on the amount of GDS work done.

Shropshire County PCT, Telford and Wrekin PCT and Shropshire HA are the administrative health authorities for the Shropshire area that includes Shrewsbury and Atcham.

The responsibility for the delivery of local dental services transferred from HAs to PCTs on 1 October 2002.

General Dental Service: Average cost of course of dental treatment for patients aged 65 and over, 1997–98 to 2002–03

Average cost
1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–02April to September 2002October 2002 to March 2003
Shropshire HA28.828.529.931.131.832.1 (32)
Shropshire County PCT (32)(32)(32)(32)(32)(32)32.0
Telford and Wrekin PCT (32)(32)(32)(32)(32)(32)33.8
England 34.835.235.836.236.737.437.0

(32) Data is not available

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