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21 Dec 2004 : Column 1659W—continued


Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Thameslink franchise is due for reletting; if he will take steps to ringfence any net payment by the new franchise holder for reinvestment in services to Thameslink passengers; and if he will make a statement. [206546]

Mr. McNulty: Expressions of interest for the new Thameslink/Great Northern franchise were invited on 17 December. The new franchise is planned to commence in 2006. There are no plans to ringfence any net payments.
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Transport (West Yorkshire)

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from (a) Leeds city council and (b) West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority on (i) the A65 quality bus scheme, (ii) Kirkstall rail station, (iii) Armley rail station and (iv) additional rolling stock for the (A) Leeds to Harrogate and (B) Leeds to Bradford railway lines. [205402]

Charlotte Atkins: I have received a number of representations about rolling stock for use in the north of England, but none relating specifically to the Leeds to Harrogate or Leeds to Bradford lines and none about Kirkstall or Armley rail stations. As regards the A65 quality bus scheme, the only representation I have received has been from my hon. Friend.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to combat vandalism on public transportation. [206381]

Mr. McNulty: The Safer Travel on Buses and Coaches Panel has been established to look at ways to combat vandalism, assaults and antisocial behaviour on buses and at bus stops and bus stations. The panel brings together bus operators, local authorities, police, unions, and other stakeholders to exchange and disseminate good practice in tackling problems caused by crime and antisocial behaviour around bus and coach travel.

The Department also supports the work of the National Route Crime Group which is the cross-industry group set up to steer the rail industry's efforts to reduce the risks posed by trespass and vandalism on the railways. The Group includes representatives from the train operators, Network Rail, the Rail Safety and Standards Board, the British Transport Police, the Health and Safety Executive, the Office of Rail Regulation, Strategic Rail Authority, the Rail Passengers Council and the railway trades unions.

As part of our work to reduce crime and the fear of crime wherever it occurs in the transport system, last year the Department published a briefing paper on tackling graffiti and vandalism on and around public transport.



Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Aimspro treatment for multiple sclerosis; what trials of it have taken place; what the results were; what its current availability is; and what requirements need to be fulfilled before it is available to NHS patients. [205740]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Aimspro is a product being developed by Daval International, a United Kingdom company, for a number of indications including multiple sclerosis. Aimspro is still at an early stage of development and the company are conducting or planning to conduct a number of trials in these
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indications. Further information on the safety, quality and efficacy of Aimspro will be required for this product to progress to licence application. Only very limited clinical data are currently available on Aimspro.

The standards and requirements necessary for the licensing of medicines are laid out in relevant European and national legislation and guidelines. These require that appropriate standards of quality, safety and efficacy are met. This will include information from Clinical Trials in the population with the disease for which the applicant is applying for a licence. Aimspro, like any other medicinal product, will need to meet these standards in order to be licensed.

Until such time as a drug is licensed, patients could receive an unlicensed medicine via one of two ways. Firstly, the Medicines Act makes provisions for doctors to prescribe an unlicensed medicine to meet the needs of an individual patient, on their own responsibility where they judge the benefit to the patient is justified and
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outweighs the risk of the unlicensed product. Secondly, some patients may be eligible to enter clinical trials for drugs in development. In both cases patients should discuss their treatment options with their doctor, who could then advise them on the most appropriate course of action.


Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions for anti-depressants have been issued in the last 10 years; and what the change in numbers of such prescriptions has been over this period. [206008]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of prescription items of anti-depressants that have been dispensed in the community in England in each of the last 10 years is shown in the table. The table also includes the average annual percentage change in the number of prescriptions dispensed over the same period for anti-depressants and for all items prescribed.
Number of prescription items (millions) of all antidepressant drugs dispensed in the community in England, 1993 to 2003
Items (million)

Tricyclic and related antidepressant drugsMonoamine-oxidase inhibitorsSelective serotonin
re-uptake inhibitors
anti-depressant drugs
Total of all
Total of all Prescriptions
Average annual increase (%) number of items, 1993 to 200322.09.93.8

1. Antidepressants are defined as British National Formulary (BNF) section 4.3 (Antidepressant drugs).
2. 1993 to 2003 data are based on items and cover prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England. It also includes prescriptions written in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man but dispensed in England.
3. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospital or private prescriptions.
Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) data from the Prescription Pricing Authority.

Backlog Maintenance Costs

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the risk-adjusted backlog maintenance cost for the NHS in (a) England and (b) each strategic health authority in each year since 1997. [205023]

Mr. Hutton: Estimates can be provided from 1999–2000 onwards and this information is shown in the table. Insufficient data exists centrally to make estimates prior to that date.

The estimates are based on the average age of national health service trust buildings. From 2004–05, the method of calculating backlog costs by trusts will be based on specific data concerning the remaining lives of individual NHS buildings, initially provided by the Valuation Office, and will deliver greater accuracy as a result.

Strategic health authority name1999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–04
Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire24,59735,24532,83624,76719,584
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire15,90223,10120,00922,83518,970
Birmingham and the Black Country51,35447,28434,93141,92642,271
Cheshire and Merseyside22,28626,92822,57524,45414,455
County Durham and Tees Valley11,87813,4448,7726,2334,741
Cumbria and Lancashire27,89228,30823,46621,00217,427
Dorset and Somerset5,7309,9767,6315,8991,885
Greater Manchester46,96344,97532,21127,94326,307
Hampshire and Isle of Wight24,06620,76712,80211,70110,985
Kent and Medway26,01915,5567,60127,65925,131
Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland32,88522,25041,96627,43126,522
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire25,49219,52510,81619,5409,622
North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire14,76014,36413,79213,502.9,656
North Central London39,40744,13141,34164,44761,168
North East London59,62352,59554,28944,38442,359
North West London49,08932,34743,18531,63846,350
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear31,23233,13318,55112,04610,360
Shropshire and Staffordshire18,1,2626,67834,86934,62832,221
South East London68,16166,42755,00636,41731,759
South West London25,97124,89217,28335,19335,350
South West Peninsula13,83013,1019,2716,8524,424
South Yorkshire16,85415,94714,78120,4929,063
Surrey and Sussex35,81028,80745,43423,58325,907
Thames Valley47,38026,43830,90632,85824,606
West Midlands South20,32114,59112,23910,8009,954
West Yorkshire42,48443,04331,06133,73127,595
England total857,615812,871747,398710,801637,053

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