Ms Rosie Winterton: In 2003, the Department set up the lung cancer and mesothelioma advisory group (LCMAG) to work closely with the voluntary sector and patient and professional groups in order to support the development and delivery of high quality services for lung cancer patients.
In 2004, a mesothelioma sub-group was set up to advise LCMAG specifically on the requirements for a good clinical service for mesothelioma, and on priorities for research. The work of this sub-group is still progressing.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has not produced guidance on the most effective treatments for mesothelioma, but is appraising the use of pemetrexed disodium for the treatment of mesothelioma. The appraisal is expected to be issued in October 2006.
It is possible for all national health service doctors to currently prescribe pemetrexed disodium for patients if the primary care trust (PCT) or NHS trust agrees to supply it at NHS expense and the doctor retains clinical responsibility for the patient while prescribing pemetrexed disodium. It has been made clear that trusts should not refuse to fund a drug on the grounds that guidance is not available when the product is licensed. In those circumstances, they are expected to make their own assessment of available evidence before deciding how and if to fund the drug locally.
A pilot study to determine the feasibility and acceptability of performing a randomised trial comparing extra-pleural pneumonectomy (EPP) against no EPP surgery within the context of trimodality therapy (chemotherapy, surgery, post-operative radiotherapy).
Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by NHS organisations. Details of individual projects, including a number concerned with the treatment and care of people with mesothelioma, can be found on the national research register at www.dh.gov.uk/research.
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Jane Kennedy: Ministers and officials meet on a regular basis to discuss the development of services for those with dementia. I had an introductory meeting with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on 9 June, at which work on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of treatments for Alzheimer's disease were discussed.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)how many people with Alzheimer's disease were prescribed anticholinesterase inhibitors in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002, (d) 2003 and (e) 2004; 
Mr. Byrne: Information is not available in the form requested. The Department does not hold data on the number of people who receive medication. The following table shows the total number of prescription items for dementia drugs as defined in section 4.11 of the British National Formulary, that were dispensed in the community in England from 2000 to 2004. Also shown are the annual net ingredient cost of these drugs.
|Net ingredient cost (£ million)
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many ambulances are available in each primary care trust area in (a) Essex and (b) the Metropolitan Police area of London; and how many were available in (i) 1995, (ii) 1996, (iii) 1997, (iv) 1998, (v) 2000, (vi) 2002 and (vii) 2004. 
Mr. Byrne: All ambulance staff in the country are now covered by the new Agenda for Change" pay system. Agenda for Change" replaces existing Whitley Council arrangements for ambulance staff and is open to ambulance staff on local contracts who wish to transfer to the new terms and conditions. All national health service organisations are working to implement the new system by September 2005.
Under the new system, pay is determined through application of the NHS job evaluation scheme, which is a structured method of comparing job weight in order to allocate jobs within the pay structure. It covers the diverse range of demands present in NHS posts such as the knowledge, responsibility, skills and effort required for the job, rather than their historic job title or occupational group.
In order to assist the NHS with the job evaluation process, a number of common NHS jobs have been evaluated nationally and a process agreed by which local jobs can be matched to them where appropriate. These include a number of ambulance service jobs.
It is anticipated that under the new pay system most front line ambulance staff will receive significant increases in take-home pay from the combination of the new pay bands and system of unsocial hours payments being introduced alongside them.
Mr. Byrne: This information is not collected centrally in the format requested. Data on response times for South Yorkshire Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust, which covers the Sheffield area, is shown in the tables.
Further information can be found in the statistical bulletin, Ambulance services, England: 200405", which is available in the Library and on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/11/36/041167.pdf.
|Percentage of category A calls responded to within eight minutes
|Percentage of category A calls responded to within 14 to 19 minutes
|Percentage of Category B and C calls responded to within 14 to 19 minutes
|Percentage of urgent journeys with arrival time not more than 15 minutes late
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional resources she plans to provide from central budgets to support the implementation of Taking Healthcare to the Patient, Transforming NHS Ambulance Services, published on 30 June, broken down by major cost area. 
Mr. Byrne: It is for primary care trusts, with the support of strategic health authorities, to determine local funding priorities. The Department will support the national health service in driving efficiency gains through national procurements, outsourcing of appropriate support services, and reductions in the number of ambulance trusts and consequent savings in back-room costs. These efficiency gains will increase the resources available for front-line services. Where appropriate, work will be done at a national level to support the implementation of the review's recommendations.
My right hon. Friend, the then Secretary of State for Health (John Reid) met with Lancashire Ambulance Service Trust approximately three years ago. However, information relating to meetings with Departmental officials is not centrally available.
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Mr. Byrne: The statistical information submitted by ambulance trusts to the Department is set out in an annual statistical bulletin, Ambulance services, England: 200405", which is available in the Library and on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/11/36/79/04113679.pdf. The information collected and published includes the number of 999 calls resulting in a response within eight minutes and the number resulting in a response within 14 minutes for urban services or 19 minutes for rural services.
Mr. Byrne: The Department collects information about the Lancashire Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust and all other ambulance services on an annual basis via the KA34 return form. This information is published in an annual statistical bulletin, which is available in the Library and on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/11/36/79/04113679.pdf.
The only change made since November 2003 to the data collected is that, from 1 October 2004, information about category B and C emergency calls is collected separately. Prior to this date, category B and C calls were grouped together.
In general, responses to questions from hon. and right hon. Members will include information which has been formally collected and centrally validated by the Department. Some replies will on occasions include information which will not be centrally held by the Department, but has already been put in the public domain by the NHS organisation concerned. However, where questions request information which is not collected by the Department, the hon. or right hon. Member will be directed to the relevant organisation concerned where this information will be more readily available, in line with our policy of Shifting the balance of power" to the local NHS.
Mr. Byrne: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and her ministerial team aim to visit as many national health service trusts as possible. They also meet chairs and chief executives on other occasions. Topics of discussion will depend on the purpose of the meeting or visit.
The majority of chairs of ambulance trusts receive remuneration of £17,164 per annum, although the chairs of the two largest ambulance trusts receive £19,454 per annum.
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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) highest and (b) lowest salary for a chief executive of an ambulance trust is; and what other expenses and benefits are typically received. 
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2005, Official Report, column 1092W, on ambulances (equipment), if she will place a copy of the British Standards Institute list in the Library; what monitoring is undertaken by her Department to ensure that all ambulances carry at least the equipment on the list. 
Mr. Byrne: A copy of the British Standards Institute list will be placed in the Library. The Department does not monitor the equipment carried by ambulance vehicles. The Department expects ambulances to be appropriately equipped to deliver care to the patients they see, in accordance with national clinical guidelines. It is for each ambulance trust to determine how this is done.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health(1) what assessment she has made of manning levels of ambulance staff in Lancashire; what
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requirements there are for Lancashire Ambulance Trust to collect response time data; and at what level this should be collated; 
Mr. Byrne: This information is not available centrally and can be obtained from the Lancashire Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust. However, information about NHS ambulance services, including the Lancashire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, is collected on an annual basis and published in an annual statistical bulletin, Ambulance Services, England: 200405". This is available in the Library and on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/11/36/79/04113679.pdf.