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7 Jan 2004 : Column 394Wcontinued
Miss Melanie Johnson: The costs of isotope production are dependent on a number of factors, including whether the production is on a commercial basis and the costs of transportation to the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) centre. However, a report of the Intercollegiate Standing Committee on Nuclear Medicine, published by the Royal College of Physicians in January 2003, details that typical costs are around £315 for each dose of tracer.
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Miss Melanie Johnson: Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning enables highly sensitive and specific functional imaging of metabolic processes involved in oncology, cardiology and neurology. It holds particular promise for cancer services.
In response to requests from National Health Service and research stakeholders the Department of Health will shortly publish a framework for PET scanning for consultation. This framework will enable the NHS to develop a clear national policy position which will set out, from the evidence, which tumour groups would benefit from PET scanning, likely future demand, and the optimal configuration and location of PET scanners. This would ensure that access to PET facilities was available to patients from all cancer networks and that high quality research could also be undertaken on the future applications of PET.
Miss Melanie Johnson: There are five Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanners operating in the national health service in England. The Department has made no assessment of the relative numbers of PET scanners in England and other European Union countries.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The cost of each Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan depends on a number of factors, such as the condition the patient is being scanned for, the type of isotope used, transportation costs and the isotope supplier. This information is not held centrally.
Miss Melanie Johnson: A number of professional staff are needed to run a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) facility. These include radiographers/nuclear medicine technicians; consultant radiologist/physicians, medical physicists, medical physics technicians; radiochemists and; radiopharmacy technicians.
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether each (a) region, (b) strategic health authority and (c) primary care trust has a director of public health post and whether the post is filled in each case. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the arrangements are for ensuring that in every part of England an annual report on the health of the population is produced by a director of public health. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The 200306 Planning and Priorities Framework issued by the Department of Health requires service planning in the national health service to be supported by an annual public health report by the Director of Public Health. Strategic health authorities are responsible for ensuring compliance with, and delivery of, the framework.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on recruitment of chief executives of the Public Health Laboratory Service, with particular reference to the merits of recruiting (a) deputy chief medical officers and (b) microbiologists with experience of clinical practice. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) with a board which appoints its own chief executive, in the same way as other NDPBs and in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the results of the Public Health Skills Audit referred to in the Department's memorandum of evidence to the Health Committee inquiry into public health. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many finished consultant episodes there have been for respiratory syncytial virus in (a) England, (b) each NHS region and (c) each strategic health authority in each year since 1996, broken down by age. 
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Dr. Ladyman: Information is not available in the form requested. However the figures in the table following show the total number of prescription items of methylphenidate hydrochloride dispensed in the community in England in each of the last five years. The majority of prescription items of methylphenidate hydrochloride are for the brand Ritalin.
Prescription Cost Analysis data from the Prescription Pricing Authority
In 2002, around 91 per cent. of the 254,000 prescription items were dispensed in the community to children (children under 16 and young people aged 16 to 18 in full time education). An estimated 1 per cent. of the items were dispensed to people aged 60 and over with the remainder being dispensed to other adults. These proportions have been similar in recent years.
Dr. Ladyman: Ritalin is indicated as a part of a comprehensive treatment programme for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children over six years of age where remedial measures alone prove insufficient. In October 2000 the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published an appraisal of the use of the drug methylphenidate (main brand name Ritalin) in the treatment of childhood ADHD and issued clinical guidelines for its use, including the need for regular monitoring of children receiving this therapy. NICE recommended long-term follow-up of adverse effects and the potential for misuse of the drug in assessing long-term benefits and health gain into adulthood.
As with all medicines, the safety of methylphenidate is continually monitored by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the independent advisory body the Committee on the Safety of Medicines. Comprehensive information on the use of methylphenidate, including possible side effects, contraindications and precautions is contained in the summary of product characteristics produced by the manufacturer and approved by the licensing authority.
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