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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)what discussions she has had and what reports she has received about the suitability of Beta Interferon for sufferers of multiple sclerosis; 
(2) how many individuals were (a) awaiting and (b) receiving treatment with Beta Interferon for multiple sclerosis, broken down by health authority on the lastest date for which figures are available. 
Jane Kennedy: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has undertaken a detailed appraisal of the clinical and cost effectiveness of Beta Interferon and glatiramer acetate treatments. Their guidance can be found at on the NICE website at www.nice.org.uk. However, a risk-sharing scheme was established on the recommendation of NICE to ensure the cost effective provision of these treatments on the national health service.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to ensure that women aged 50 to 70 years do not lose their place in the three-year cycle for NHS breast screening when changing general practitioner. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 19 July 2005]: General practitioners are recommended to check the screening status of new female patients and if needed refer them to the national health service breast screening programme.
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 20 July 2005]: The Department already uses the internet to ensure that women can make an informed choice on whether or not to be screened for breast cancer. The national health service cancer screening programme issued a regional communications pack to all local breast and cervical screening programmes in autumn 2004. The packs include advice on raising the awareness of screening, including posters, with clear links to the cancer screening programme website at www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk.
All women now receive a national information leaflet on breast screening when they are invited. The leaflet gives details of the cancer screening programme website, together with that of NHS Direct Online.
For information on funding granted to Brook Advisory Service in the last five years, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on Tuesday 19 July 2005, Official Report, columns 165456W.
12 Sept 2005 : Column 2683W
The Department has provided funding for Brook to enable it to develop and be an advocate for sexual health services for young people; to support the Brook network in England to deliver such services; to encourage policy and advocacy work, involving young people; to influence the national debate regarding young people and sexual health; and to develop models of innovative practice, including ones designed to reach excluded and vulnerable young people.
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 20 July 2005]: The Department funds research to support policy and the delivery of effective practice in the national health service. The Department also provides NHS support funding for research commissioned by the research councils and charities that takes place in the NHS.
In April 2001 the Department established the national cancer research network (NCRN). The NCRN integrates research with cancer care. It has had a significant impact on the quality, speed and co-ordination of clinical cancer research. It has helped to ensure that patients from all parts of the country can benefit sooner from new developments in cancer care. The NCRN has more than doubled the number of patients involved in cancer research.
The Department works closely with its cancer research funding partners through the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). The NCRI brings together, for the first time, the major funders of research, including Government, the voluntary sector and industry, together with cancer patient representatives, to ensure a national strategic approach to identifying and supporting cancer research. The Department has been a major contributor of funds to NCRI initiatives to date.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what resource funding will be made available by her Department in 200506 to support the running of new and replacement equipment to improve diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as referred to on page 53 of the Departmental Report 2005, paragraph 4.8. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Revenue allocations totalling £148 billion were made to primary care trusts (PCTs) to cover the period 200304 to 200506. It is for PCTs to determine how to use the funding allocated to them tocommission services to meet the healthcare needs of their local population.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for cancer patients to
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receive treatment in hospitals in the last year for which figures are available; and what the Government's target is. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Average waiting times for the treatment of cancer patients are not collected. Cancer waiting times treatment standards of one month from urgent general practitioner referral to first cancer treatment were introduced for cases of testicular cancer, children's cancers and acute leukaemia in 2001.
Further standards of maximum waits of 31 days from diagnosis to first cancer treatment and 62 days from urgent referral with suspected cancer to first cancer treatment were introduced for patients with breast cancer in 2001 and 2002 respectively. These 31 and 62 day standards will be in place for all cancer patients from December 2005. Performance against the current cancer waiting times targets is shown in the table and is published quarterly on the Department's website. Performance data showing progress towards the 2005 targets is also available on the Department's website at:
|Performance 200405 percentages|
|Testicular cancer Children's cancers Acute leukaemia||31 days from urgent |
referral to treatment
|Breast cancer||31 days from diagnosis to treatment||97.7|
|Breast cancer||62 days from urgent referral to treatment||96.9|
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