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8 Dec 2003 : Column 315Wcontinued
Dr. Ladyman: We do not ask the national health service to collect data on the incidence of individual neurological conditions such as neurology because of the enormous range of conditions and diseases that exist.
However, the Department of Health has already commissioned a series of research studies, following the announcement of the national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions, to assist the work of the external reference group. Emphasis has been placed on reviews of existing evidence, rather that on the collection of new data.
around (£2 million) of research to underpin the implementation of the NSF;
a working group looking at research and evidence issues for the NSF.
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Miss Melanie Johnson: The central funding which supports public health work will continue to be provided to national health service trusts, via the Health Protection Agency (HPA), under service level agreements. Specialist and reference microbiology, for both clinical and public health purposes, is provided by the laboratories of the HPA.
The public health outputs of NHS microbiology pathology laboratories will be monitored by the HPA's regional microbiologists and their procedures and practices will be inspected by the Department's Inspector of Microbiology.
The Department does collect waiting time information on written referral from general practitioner to first out-patient appointment with a pain management consultant, and for patients waiting for elective admission where the main specialty is pain management. Latest published information for England on these two areas is shown in the tables.
|Not yet seen at end of quarter who have been waiting (weeks)|
|17 to <21||261|
|21 to <26||0|
|26 and over||0|
Department of Health form QM08.
|Patients waiting for admission by monthswaiting|
|Admissiontype||Total number of patients waiting for admission||Less than 3 months||35 months||68 months||911 months|
|Admission type||Decisions to admit||Admissions||Failed to attend||Removals||Self deferrals||Suspensions|
Department of Health forms KH07, KH06 and KH07A.
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funding is devolved and expenditure at project level is not held centrally by the Department. Details of on-going and recently completed research projects funded by, or of interest to, the NHS are available on the national research register at www.doh.gov.uk/research/nrr.htm.
Current projects include a £0.7 million trial of a primary-care based cognitive behavioural programme for low back pain, a £0.6 million study of the comparative effectiveness of topical and oral Ibuprofen for the treatment of chronic knee pain in older people, and a £0.6 million study of interventions for pain relief in patients with abdominal malignancy.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average waiting time for each genito-urinary medicine clinic in England from first walking into the clinic to being treated for (a) men and (b) women was in 2003; and what the figures were in (i) 2000 and (ii) 1997; 
(3) how many (a) men and (b) women have been initially turned away without treatment from a (i) genito-urinary medicine clinic and (ii) sexual health clinic in the last 24 months; and for what reasons this happened; 
(4) if he will make a statement on (a) the mean and (b) the median waiting time for (i) men and (ii) women to receive treatment from a sexual health clinic in (A) the last year for which figures are available, (B) 2000 and (C) 1997; 
(5) what the longest waiting times for treatment in (a) genito-urinary medicine clinics and (b) sexual health clinics was in (i) the last year for which figures are available, (ii) 2000 and (iii) 1997; and if he will make a statement; 
(6) what the average waiting time from first contact with a sexual health clinic to being treated is for (a) men and (b) women in each sexual health clinic in England was in the last year for which figures are available; and what the waiting times were in (i) 2000 and (ii) 1997; 
(7) how many and what proportion of (a) men and (b) women waited (i) 1 to 3 days, (ii) 4 to 7 days, (iii) 8 to 14 days, (iv) 15 to 21 days, (v) 21 to 28 days and (vi) over 28 days for treatment after their first examination at (A) genito-urinary medicine clinics and (B) sexual health clinics in (1) the last year for which figures are available, (2) 2000 and (3) 1997; and if he will make a statement; 
(8) what the (a) mean and (b) median waiting times for (i) men and (ii) women to receive treatment for a sexually transmitted infection from (A) a GP and (B) a genito-urinary medicine clinic were in (1) the last year for which figures are available, (2) 2000 and (3) 1997; 
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(9) how many genito-urinary medicine clinics provided walk-in facilities in the past and no longer do so. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: These data are not currently collected centrally. We are examining with the Health Protection Agency ways in which data on waiting times at genito-urinary medicine clinics can be obtained. Early next year, we will be undertaking pilot surveys in a number of genito-urinary medicine clinics, where patients will be asked to complete a short anonymous questionnaire seeking information on waiting times in days. Because data on postcode will be collected it will be possible to calculate average waiting times for the residents of individual primary care trusts. If the pilots are successful the first main survey of clinics will be undertaken in 2004.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on measures to tackle the incidence of sexual ill health; and what steps he is taking to improve access to (a) medical advice and (b) treatment for people suffering from a sexually transmitted infection. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government are concerned about the poor state of sexual health and remain committed to tackling increasing rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through the Sexual Health and HIV strategy. Reducing transmissions of STIs is a complex issue that will involve people in changing their behaviour. We are drawing on the best evidence on what works to achieve this. Our "sex lottery'" campaign is designed to improve awareness of STIs and how to avoid them. The Department has invested over £35 million in the past two years in specialist genito-urinary medicine clinics, including an additional £15 million just announced for capital investment. This funding will increase capacity in services and reduce waiting times, thereby helping primary care trusts to offer quicker access to diagnosis and treatment. We are also rolling out a chlamydia screening programme and investing £8 million to convert laboratories in every area to a superior and more reliable test for chlamydia.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) sexual health and (b) genito-urinary medicine clinics there are in England; how many there were in (i) 2000 and (ii) 1997; and how many have walk-in facilities. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: There are currently 208 genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics in England. In 2000 there were 207 and in 1997 there were 208. The Department is investing £1.8 million this year and in next two financial years to pump-prime development of GUM services in 10 areas and expand service capacity.
Sexual health clinics are integrated services providing a range of advice, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and contraception. Data are not collected on numbers of these services or how many clinics provide walk-in facilities.
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