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6 Jun 2005 : Column 415W—continued

Street Wardens

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place in the Library the guidance issued to round two street warden schemes whose funding ended in March on how such schemes should be funded once central Government support ended. [1117]

Mr. Woolas: Copies of the guidance issued to round two street warden schemes whose funding ended in March 2005 has been placed in the Library of the House of Commons.



Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Government will implement the Science and Technology Recommendation No 77 in its report on human reproductive technologies and the law that there be a Joint Committee of both Houses set up to consider the scientific, medical and social changes in relation to abortion that have taken place since 1967. [1602]

Jane Kennedy: The Government is considering the Committee's report and will publish its response in due course.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with doctors about the use of Reminyl, Aricept and Exelan for treating Alzheimer's disease; and if she will make a statement. [1305]

Mr. Byrne: The Department's response to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's consultation on its review of the 2001 appraisal of Alzheimer's drugs was informed by advice from the Department's professional adviser on mental health services for older people. No other recent discussions between ministers and doctors have taken place on this issue.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which drugs are available for prescribing to treat the effects of Alzheimer's disease; and if she will make a statement. [1306]

Mr. Byrne: Four drugs are licensed for the treatment of the effects of Alzheimer's disease: rivastigmine, galantamine, donepezil and memantine.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether Reminyl, Aricept and Exelen are available on free prescription for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease; what plans she has to change the availability on free prescription of those drugs; and if she will make a statement. [1636]

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Jane Kennedy: We have no plans to extend the existing list of medical conditions that give exemption from prescription charges. The list has been reviewed on a number of occasions but no clear cut case for extending it has emerged. There is no consensus on what additional conditions might be included in any revised list of medical exemptions, or how distinctions could be drawn between one condition and another. Those Alzheimer's sufferers who are aged 60 or over are currently entitled to free prescriptions on grounds of age.


Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps are being taken to provide free hearing tests to those who need them; [926]

(2) how many people have received a digital hearing aid on the NHS. [927]

Mr. Byrne: Hearing tests have always been available free of charge for patients referred to a national health service audiology department. If a patient thinks they are hard of hearing and might need a hearing aid, they should go to their general practitioner who will either refer them to an ear nose and throat clinic or send them to the audiology department at their local hospital to have a hearing test.

Over 400,000 people have now received digital hearing aids on the NHS.

Breast Cancer

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects the screening of all women diagnosed with breast cancer for HER2 positivity to be routine across the NHS. [2074]

Ms Rosie Winterton: At present, Herceptin is only licensed in the United Kingdom for the treatment of advanced breast cancer, which affects around 11,000 women in England each year. We are aware that two major trials have recently indicated that Herceptin may also have an important role to play in the adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer though this is not yet a licensed indication.

There is currently no national guidance about when in the patient pathway the HER2 test, which determines an individual breast cancer patient's suitability for treatment with the drug Herceptin, should be used. Decisions are made by clinicians, based on factors such as the extent of the disease, previous treatment experience, the patient's fitness and wishes and emerging evidence.

Cervical Smears

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average time taken for a woman to receive the results of a cervical smear test was in each health authority in the last period for which figures are available. [1130]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 26 May 2005]: The requested data are not collected centrally. We do
6 Jun 2005 : Column 417W
collect the breakdown of notification of screening results within four weeks, four to six weeks and six weeks or more by strategic health authority (SHA), as shown in the table.
6 Jun 2005 : Column 418W

Information about the time from the taking of a sample to the notification of the test result is currently available only where the result letter is sent by the primary care organisation.
Notification of cervical screening result 2003–04

Percentage of results sent by primary care organisation
where time from screening to notification was:
SHAPercentage of all results sent by primary care organisationLess then or equal to four weeksMore than four weeks up to six weeksSix weeks or more
County Durham and Tees Valley9859347
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear76493120
Cheshire and Merseyside99403724
Cumbria and Lancashire98542521
Greater Manchester96262648
North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire9661930
South Yorkshire9870246
West Yorkshire90383032
Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland87503713
Birmingham and The Black Country98302545
Shropshire and Staffordshire99483715
West Midlands South97132166
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire88242254
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire88303634
North Central London64253243
North East London96363331
North West London92111673
South East London44472925
South West London92272349
Hampshire and Isle of Wight75284329
Kent and Medway88493912
Surrey and Sussex92382240
Thames Valley88312940
Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire68661915
Dorset and Somerset71373132
South West Peninsula31213841

Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospital

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans there are to update facilities at Charing Cross hospital; [2098]

(2) what plans there are to update facilities at Hammersmith hospital. [2101]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the reply Igave on 26 May 2005, Official Report, column 217W.

Chase Farm Hospital

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthwhat measures she is taking to reduce waiting times at Chase Farm Hospital; and if she will make a statement. [1124]

Jane Kennedy: The Government are committed to reducing waiting times for treatment. The national health service, including Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust, is working towards achieving a maximum six-month wait for in-patient treatment and three months for an out-patients appointment by December 2005. By 2008, no one will have to wait longer than 18 weeks from general practitioner referral to hospital treatment.

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust plans to open a new £4 million surgi-centre at the end of June 2005. This will provide treatment to 3,000 patients a year and support the trust in achieving waiting time targets.

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