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That the draft Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) (Amendment) Order 2004, which was laid before this House on 15th January, be approved.[Margaret Moran.]
(1) notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 16 (Proceedings under an Act or on European Union documents), the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the Motions in the name of Mr Secretary Smith relating to Social Security and Pensions not later than three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the first Motion; proceedings may continue after the moment of interruption; and the Orders of the House of 28th June 2001 and 6th November 2003 relating to deferred Divisions shall not apply; and
(2) notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (2)(c)(i) of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business), proceedings on the Motion in the name of Mr Michael Howard may continue, though opposed, for three hours, and shall then lapse if not previously disposed of; and the Orders of the House of 28th June 2001 and 6th November 2003 relating to deferred Divisions shall not apply.[Margaret Moran.]
Mr. Eric Pickles (Brentwood and Ongar) (Con): I wish to present a petition in the name of constituents who are concerned about the possible removal of a full-time fire station at Ongar and its replacement with a part-time fire station. My constituents are particularly concerned because Ongar fire ground is the largest in Essex, and they are concerned about the level of coverage.
Declares that they are concerned that our local Fire Station's status will be changed from full time to part time.
The Petitioners therefore request that this House of Commons brings this concern to the attention of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and ask him to use his good services to prevail upon the Essex Fire Service to review their proposals.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
Declares that a major review of Council Tax is required for people who are on fixed incomes and pensions, and raises their concerns about reassessment of properties in 2005 which will bring further worries about impending increases in taxes.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to establish a major review of the Council Tax system, and to examine in particular the effect of Council Tax rates on those people who live on fixed incomes and pensions.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
Mr. Gary Streeter (South-West Devon) (Con): Susan Van Neck was born on 10 January 1967. She married in 1991, and became Mrs. Susan Spratt. She died of cervical cancer in September 1999, at the age of 32. She had three smear tests during her life, which were examined in the laboratories of two different hospitals. As events have proved, two of those tests were inaccurate. They did not detect the first signs of cancer that would have made it possible to treat her fully and save her life.
As we all know, every woman in the United Kingdom between the ages of 25 and 64 is eligible for a free cervical smear test every three to five years. In 1988, Sue's first test gave her the all-clear, but recommended a further test a year later. The outcome of her second smear test in 1989, examined by the cytology laboratory at Derriford hospital in Plymouth was an all-clear, suggesting that no further test was necessary for five years. In 1993, the test result conducted by the cytology laboratory at the Taunton and Somerset hospital was also an all-clear and suggested no retest for five years.
Sadly, in 1995, just two years later, Sue was admitted to the accident and emergency department at Yeovil hospital with evidence of advanced cervical cancer. She received intensive treatment, which seemed to work for a while, but in April 1998 she was found to have a recurrence of the tumour. This time, she failed to respond to chemotherapy and after a brave struggle she died on 28 September 1999.
Since then, the NHS has admitted that it had been negligent and compensation has been paid to Sue's husband. The debate tonight is not about compensation, blame or looking backwards: it is about looking forwards. As part of the contact with the NHS following Sue's death, an eminent medical expert, Professor Dulcie Coleman, was invited to re-examine the original smear tests. She produced a report showing that, among other things, the 1989 smear test that pronounced Sue all clear should have found the early signs of cervical cancer and referred her for further examination by a specialist and treatment. The professor also found that the 1993 test, which again pronounced Sue to be all clear, should have found the traces of cervical cancer that were present and should have sent her for further examination and treatment.
As the House will know, until recently all smear tests were conducted by the traditional Pap method. Unfortunately, over the years, it has been found that about one in 10 smear tests using that method have to be repeated, because the person checking the test at the laboratory cannot see whether pre-cancerous cells are present. The errors and anxiety that may arise are amply demonstrated by the Van Necks' experience and by several similar cases.
The Van Neck family were delighted when, in October 2003, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, as a result of the trials, recommended the use of liquid-based cytology throughout the NHS. As the Minister will know well, liquid-based cytology is a new way of collecting and preparing cell samples from a woman's cervix. Samples are collected using a brush-like device, rather than a spatula. The head of the brush is rinsed or broken off into a container of preservation fluid that protects the cervical cells. The evidence of the trials was that liquid-based cytology results in samples that are of better quality and easier to read, thus reducing the number of tests that need to be repeated.
Obviously, the introduction of liquid-based cytology would offer a much improved service for all women and would be a positive step forward, so Mr. and Mrs. Van Neck decided to do all in their power to ensure its early introduction. They first visited me at my constituency surgery in November 2003 to tell me of their tragic experience and of their determination to see a better smear test system introduced in this country. I found their story deeply moving and their determination to redeem the promise that they had given their daughter very impressive. I welcome their presence, with their other daughter Debbie, in the House this evening.
Following that meeting, I tabled a written question on 4 December, which was answered by the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Miss Johnson), on 10 December. She set out the welcome news that the Government had decided that liquid-based cytology would be rolled out nationally across the national health service, for everybody. The reply also stated: