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12 Sept 2005 : Column 2745W—continued

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the care available to those with multiple chemical sensitivity. [14973]

Mr. Byrne: The national health service provides a range of services for those people suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity based on an individual assessment of need. This includes, for those with complex cases requiring special facilities for the investigation and management of their condition, six specialist centres run by allergists.

Multiple Sclerosis

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions her Department has had with (a) the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and (b) potential manufacturers, on the possible general use of Aimspro for multiple sclerosis sufferers. [9282]

Jane Kennedy: The Department has had no discussions with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on the possible general use of Aimspro.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has held a number of discussions with the owners of the product and their nominated, unlicensed, manufacturer.

The MHRA has carried out regulatory inspections to determine applications for manufacturing licences submitted by the nominated manufacturer in respect of two facilities. The applications were refused, because of critical and major deficiencies concerning good manufacturing practice.

The MHRA has advised the nominated manufacturer on the corrective action needed to enable the licences to be granted. The MHRA also continues to provide advice to the product's owners on alternative manufacturing arrangements, including the use of existing licensed manufacturers.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many multiple sclerosis sufferers (a) have undertaken and (b) are undertaking Aimspro treatment. [9284]

Jane Kennedy: 12 patients entered an authorised clinical trial at an Oxford hospital, although one of these dropped out before completion. A number of patients
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were recruited into an authorised clinical trial at a London hospital, but the trial was halted with only one patient completed.

A number of patients have received Aimspro as an unlicensed medicinal product, without any authorised clinical trial, on the responsibility of the prescribing doctors. Information obtained by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency indicates that at least 250 persons with multiple sclerosis have been treated with the product.

The Department has no information on the number of patients who are currently undertaking or completing a course of treatment with Aimspro.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects a decision to be made on the suitability of Aimspro for the treatment of MS. [9285]

Jane Kennedy: In order for Aimspro to be granted a marketing authorisation, the applicant must undertake authorised clinical trials and tests designed to demonstrate the safety, quality and efficacy of the product and submit the resulting data to the appropriate regulatory authority for professional assessment.

To date, no application for a marketing authorisation for Aimspro has been received by either the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency or the European Medicines Agency.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effectiveness of Aimspro for multiple sclerosis sufferers; and if she will make a statement. [9287]

Jane Kennedy: None. It is for the applicant for a marketing authorisation, and/or manufacturer where appropriate, to demonstrate the quality, safety and efficacy of a new medicinal product.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding has been provided from her Department's research and development directorate for research into myeloma in each financial year since 1997–98. [12625]

Jane Kennedy: Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by national health service organisations. The national health service spend from this funding in support of cancer research is shown in the following table.
£ million


n/a=Not available.
(205)Estimated expenditure from 1998–99 to 2000–01 and actual reported expenditure from 2001–02 onwards.

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Details of individual NHS projects, including those concerned with myeloma, can be found on the national research register at Project level expenditure data for the period in question are not held centrally.

The NHS Plan announced that the Department would provide an additional £20 million a year to establish a national cancer research network. The national cancer research network established as a result is currently providing NHS support for two myeloma trials.

The Department funds research to support policy and to provide the evidence needed to underpin quality improvement and service development in the NHS through its national research programmes. The health technology assessment programme has, since 1997–98, funded two projects on myeloma at a total cost of £131,000.

Site-specific research expenditure figures understate the position to the extent that they exclude the research applicable to all cancers and the research that although classified as undertaken in one site has implications for another.

National Health Service University

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)what factors underlay the decision on whether to apply Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment principles to staff affected by the break up of the National Health Service University; [13867]

(2) how many NHS staff have been transferred from the National Health Service University to the new institute; [13868]

(3) for what reason the word learning has been removed from the list of functions of the new institute replacing the NHS University; and what factors underlay the decision regarding whether there should be consultation with the unions before that list of functions was finalised. [13869]

Jane Kennedy: Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) or TUPE-like (under Cabinet Office guidelines) principles were applied to those situations in which discreet undertakings are transferring to other organisations. This is in line with best practice on the application of TUPE. Approximately 30 NHSU staff are transferring to other organisations with transferring NHSU programmes. It is planned that the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement will be the residual body for the NHSU and that around 100 NHSU staff will therefore transfer to the institute to finalise the closure of NHSU or while they continue to seek alternative employment opportunities pending the end of their redundancy notice period. Staff in this group have been served notice of redundancy, and if alternative employment is not obtained, will be made redundant on 30 September 2005.

In order to promote innovation and best practice in the delivery of services, the institute will have regard to the training and development of national health service staff, as set out in the establishment order. This activity will include pooling knowledge about how staff learn best and applying this to the learning gaps identified by
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the institute's priority programmes. The institute will employ a director to lead this work and will help local organisations build capacity in this area. The provision of learning opportunities for NHS staff, to which the Government remain committed, is the responsibility of other organisations both within and outside the NHS.

The unions were represented on the advisory board, which oversaw the development of the policy and plans for the institute, and were closely involved in the process of deciding where TUPE should apply. It was not considered necessary to consult the unions directly on the wording of the statutory functions. The establishment order which includes the statutory functions was approved by Parliament.

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