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Asperger's Syndrome

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will ensure that each child diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome receives immediate referral for assessment in order to gain access to appropriate therapies and social skills training; [16886]
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(2) if she will make it her policy that each child diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome should be allocated a key worker or lead nurse immediately following diagnosis. [16887]

Mr. Byrne: The importance of early identification of developmental disorders followed up with prompt early interventions is emphasised in standard eight of the national service framework (NSF) for children, young people and maternity services. This standard applies to all disabled children and young people and those with complex health needs, including those with Asperger's syndrome. Autism spectrum disorders were the subject of one of the first two exemplars which we published at the same time as the NSF.

The standard sets out clearly that parents of severely disabled children or those with high levels of need require a key worker. The key worker service should be provided in line with the guidance in Together from the Start" (DH/DfES 2003) and Care Co-ordination Network UK Key Worker Standards" (Care Co-ordination Network UK, April 2004) and supported by cross-agency senior management commitment. Key Worker Standards" notes that a successful key worker service is dependent on an agreed referral system and specific guidelines for eligibility for the key worker service. These should be determined according to local need.

Avian Influenza

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she plans to extend the range of high risk groups who currently receive influenza vaccination. [21775]

Caroline Flint: The risk groups who are currently offered seasonal influenza vaccine are based on advice from the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI). The JCVI keeps its advice under regular review.

Breast Screening

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on breast screening performed at age 50 and over on patients living in (a) North Yorkshire and (b) Essex; and at what (i) age and (ii) frequency such screening is carried out. [22788]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The national computerised call/recall system for breast screening was introduced in 1988. Women aged 50 to 64 are invited for free breast screening every three years. Following successful Government funded pilot studies, the programme is being extended to women aged 65 to 70. Women over 70 can request free three yearly screening.

Cancelled/Delayed Treatment

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) cancelled operations and (b) delayed transfers of care there have been in Lancashire hospital teaching NHS trust in each of the last seven years. [22724]

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Mr. Byrne: The information requested on cancelled operations is shown in table 1.
Table 1: Cancelled operations in Lancashire teaching hospitals national health service foundation trust: 2001–02 to 2005–06

Number of last minute cancellations
for non clinical reasons

(86) Due to organisational changes this figure represents Chorley and South Ribble primary care trust only in the first quarter, then Chorley and South Ribble NHS trust and Preston acute hospitals trust in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2001–02.
(87) This figure for 2005–06 represents only those cancelled operations in the first quarter of 2005–06. Data for other quarters is not yet available.
Data were originally collected by health authority only prior to 2001–02. Trust level data were collected from 2001–02 onwards.

The information requested on delayed transfers of care is shown in table 2.
Table 2: Delayed transfers of care in Lancashire teaching hospitals NHS foundation trust: 1999–2000 to 2004–05

Delayed transfers of care

(88) Figures represent Chorley and South Ribble NHS trust and Preston acute hospitals NHS trust. Situation reports (SITREPS) were not collected prior to 1999–2000.


John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many primary care trusts are providing cancer patients with velcade. [23006]

Jane Kennedy: The information is not available in the format requested.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether cancer drugs are approved more rapidly if applications are restricted to national use and do not require European approval by the EU's committee for medicinal products for formal marketing approval. [20983]

Jane Kennedy: The time allowed for marketing authorisation of products is specified in European legislation and is the same for all types of drugs and whether approved by national licensing or by the European Commission through the European Medicines Agency's scientific committee for human medicinal products. The maximum time allowed for the evaluation of the company's data for the initial authorisation of a
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new product is 210 days in both cases. Variations to the initial authorisation, for example to add new uses, have to be evaluated within 90 days in both cases. The national agencies and the European agencies may also accelerate those procedure times where justified for example by urgent unmet medical needs for potentially life-saving drugs.

However, if one considers the needs of all European patients, approval can be faster using the European Union single procedure than a series of separate national approval procedures. That is one of the reasons why many complex new drugs using new biotechnology methods of production must use the European 'single licence' procedure. From November, all new anti-cancer drugs must also use this procedure so that they can be available to all European patients as quickly as possible.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many primary care trusts fund velcade for cancer treatment. [23141]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 28 October 2005]: Information on the number of primary care trusts funding velcade for cancer treatment is not collected centrally.

In July, the Secretary of State announced that velcade would be referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for early appraisal.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her answer of 12 October 2005, Official Report, column 538W, on carbon monoxide poisoning, what the budget for section 64 grants is in 2005–06; and if she will make a statement. [23630]

Caroline Flint: The budget for grants awarded to the voluntary and community sector under the section 64 General Scheme of Grants in 2005–06 is £17.88 million. A list of new and continuing grants is published annually on the Department's website at

The section 64 General Scheme of Grants helps to strengthen and further develop the partnership between the Department and the voluntary and community sector. It is the Department's main funding stream for national voluntary organisations working in the health and social care fields.

Care Guidance

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance her Department issues to (a) local authority social services and (b) NHS organisations concerning the frequency of assessments for (i) social care, (ii) registered nursing contribution and (iii) NHS continuing care; [22268]

(2) when she expects to issue new guidance concerning NHS continuing care; [22316]

(3) if she will place in the Library a summary of the main issues discussed in the electronic discussion forum set up for her Department's work on NHS continuing care. [22318]

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Mr. Byrne: The Department is currently working on the production of a national assessment framework for continuing care due for publication in early 2006. This should result in a single set of national eligibility criteria and suitable assessment methodologies for access to national health service continuing care.

Contributions to the electronic discussion forum, set up on the Department's website, in relation to the work on continuing care have not, to date, been significant. For the most part, the forum has attracted particular local queries rather than debate, and no issues have been raised that have not been aired at face-to-face stakeholder events.

In the lead-up to the formal public consultation, we are noting all comments received from stakeholders. This will continue during the consultation period, and the information will be available after completion of this process.

Policy guidance on fair access to care services (FACS) was published on 2 June 2002 under guidance of local authority circular (LAC) (2002)13. The guidance provides councils with an eligibility framework for adult social care for them to use when setting and applying their eligibility criteria. It also covers the timing of reviews.

Detailed guidance on registered nursing care contributions are available on the Department's website at:

Following the ombudsman's report on continuing care assessment procedures, new cases are now considered routinely as part of hospital discharge. Detailed guidance on procedures for NHS continuing care are available on the Department's website at:

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