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26 Jan 2004 : Column 169W—continued

Skills Funding

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether it is his policy that powers and funding in relation to skills should transfer from Learning and Skills Councils to elected regional assemblies. [150088]

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Mr. Raynsford: The powers and responsibilities of elected regional assemblies were set out in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice": "Revitalising the English Regions" (Cm 5511). Paragraph 4.29 sets out the responsibilities elected regional assemblies will have for learning and skills.

Telecoms Companies

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many telecommunication companies have been overcharged in business rates in the last five years; and how much was repaid to them on appeal in each year. [149210]

Phil Hope: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Thames Gateway

John Austin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Association of British Insurers regarding flood risk in the Thames Gateway Development Area; and if he will make a statement. [150903]

Keith Hill: The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has regular meetings with my hon. Friend, the Member for Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley), to discuss flood management issues generally. Officials at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will shortly be discussing flood management issues in the Thames Gateway growth area with the ABI.

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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the clinical efficacy of Alendronate (Fosamax) in the treatment of osteoporosis, following trials at Manchester Royal Infirmary. [149385]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 20 January 2004]: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) have been looking at five osteoporosis drugs, including Fosamax (Alendronate), as part of a technology appraisal. Their draft recommendations are currently out for consultation. NICE has a key role to play in widening choice. Patients and carers need clear authoritative advice on the sort of care that might be appropriate for them and the standards of care they can expect from the national health service. NICE is due to publish its technology appraisal on drug therapies for osteoporosis in June 2004.

Ambulance Services

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions have taken place between the Mersey Regional Ambulance Service and the Greater Manchester Ambulance Service on improving (a) the handling of 999 calls and (b) other matters relating to ambulance services. [148252]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested is not collected centrally.


Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what antibiotic usage was for each NHS hospital in England in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by specialty; and if he will make a statement. [147509]

Miss Melanie Johnson: This data is not collected centrally.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many incidents of skin cancer there have been in the United Kingdom in each of the last five years; and what assessment he has made (a) to determine the causes of skin cancer and (b) to determine the action needed to reduce the incidence of skin cancer. [147936]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Data on the number of incidents of skin cancer overall are not available in the form requested. Cancer registrations for non-melanoma skin cancer are unreliable and incomplete as the registers are being continuously updated retrospectively.

The number of registrations of newly diagnosed cases of malignant melanoma of the skin in the United Kingdom for each of the last five years are shown in the table.

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Registrations of newly diagnosed cases for skin cancer in the United Kingdom, 1996–2000(46)

Malignant melanoma of the skin(47)

(46) Figures rounded to nearest 100.

(47) International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code C43.


1. Office for National Statistics.

2. Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit.

3. Scottish Cancer Registry.

4. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry.

A new sun awareness initiative, SunSmart, was launched on 27 March 2003 by Cancer Research UK to make the public aware of the dangers of exposure to the sun. The campaign is based on the successful SunSmart campaign in Australia. The campaign has received funding from the United Kingdom Health Departments' this year. We will be providing further funding for the campaign for next summertime.

The campaign's aim is to increase the profile of the issue of skin cancer and methods of effective sun protection. The key objectives are to increase knowledge of the causes of skin cancer, to increase awareness of actions that can be taken to prevent skin cancer and to influence positively attitudes to sun protection.

The Department has separately developed the SunSafe web pages in 2002, designed with children in mind. These are available on the Department's website at:

Information is also contained on the Wired For Health website at:

We continue to fund annually the Meteorological Office to provide the daily ultra-violet index in the media (television, radio, Meteorological Office website).

The Department also provides core funding to the National Radiological Protection Board, which provides expertise on ultra-violet radiation issues.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many incidents of lung and cervical cancer there were in the North West in each of the last five years; and what action has been taken in the North West (a) to prevent cancer, (b) to inform the public about the causes of cancer, (c) to provide equipment and services to treat cancer and (d) to provide palliative care for patients who are terminally ill. [147937]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested on lung cancer and cervical cancer in the North West is shown in the tables.

1. Primary Diagnosis (ICD10 code C34) Lung Cancer: Finished in-year admission episodes by regional office of treatment—NHS hospitals in England, 1998–99 to 2002–03

North West Regional OfficeUnknown

2. Primary Diagnosis (ICD10 code C53) Cervical Cancer: Finished in-year admission episodes by regional office of treatment—NHS hospitals in England, 1998–99 to 2002–03

North West Regional OfficeUnknown


1. Finished in-year admissions—a finished in-year admission is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider, excluding admissions beginning before 1 April at the start of the data year. Please note that admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year diagnosis (Primary Diagnosis)—The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 14 (seven prior to 2002–03) diagnosis fields in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data set and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital.

2. Grossing—figures are grossed for both coverage and missing/invalid clinical data, except for 2001–02 and 2002–03, which are not yet adjusted for shortfalls.


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health.

Information about the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network and its work can be found in its annual report, which is available on

Care Provision

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures the Government is taking to ensure that there is provision in place in (a) residential and (b) domiciliary care settings to provide sufficient care to cover the projected increase in the number of those requiring it. [150598]

Dr. Ladyman: The Planning and Priorities Framework 2003–06 sets a target for local councils to increase the number of those supported intensively to live at home to 30 per cent, of the total being supported by social services at home or in residential care. The average annual increase in resources for personal social services of six per cent, over these three years is consistent with this target. It is for local councils to use these increased resources to ensure that the right amount and range of care is made available, taking account of local circumstances and priorities.

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