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10 Nov 2005 : Column 664W—continued


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment has been made of the likely effects of the decision to end the automatic offer of testing for bowel cancer at the age of 69 years when the screening programme is introduced from April 2006; [23826]

(2) if she will fund a pilot for screening for bowel cancer with no upper age limit. [23827]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We are determined that the new screening programme should not have a detrimental effect on services for patients with bowel cancer symptoms. The decision to begin screening with men and women aged 60 to 69 was based on evidence from research studies and the United Kingdom colorectal (bowel) cancer screening pilot. The risk of bowel cancer increases with age, with over 80 per cent. of bowel
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cancers arising in people who are 60 or over. When we have rolled out the programme to the whole country, we will make an assessment on whether to expand it to other age groups.

We will encourage men and women aged 70 and over to self refer by seeing their general practitioner or contacting their local screening unit.

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department has undertaken into a possible link between breast cancer survival rates and the availability of (a) monitoring and (b) on-going care for cancer patients. [17512]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has not commissioned any research into the link between breast cancer survival rates, monitoring and/or on-going care for breast cancer patients.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made to ensure those for whom Herceptin may be suitable are offered the HER2 test; and what recent estimate she has made of the percentage of potentially eligible women who are being offered the HER2 test. [23972]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Each of the 34 cancer networks has been asked to submit action plans to the Department by 4 November 2005 on how they will implement human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) testing.

Information on the percentage of potentially eligible woman being offered the HER2 test is not collected centrally.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of women diagnosed with breast cancer were tested for the presence of Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 in 2004–05. [24423]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information is not collected centrally on the proportion of women diagnosed with breast cancer who are tested for the presence of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

Plans are now being put in place to ensure that all women diagnosed with breast cancer are tested for the presence of HER2.

Cataract Operations

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cataract operations were carried out by the NHS in England in 2003–04; and how many have been performed on NHS patients in mobile independent sector treatment centres by Netcare. [20359]

Ms Rosie Winterton: 301,664 cataract operations were carried out by national health service hospitals in England in 2003–04. Netcare UK has been operational since February 2004 and its mobile cataract units have carried out over 17,000 procedures to date.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthhow many applications to extend dental school training places were submitted to her Department by 28 September; how many were applications for (a) establishing new dental schools and (b) expanding
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existing dental schools; which organisations submitted applications; and when she expects the joint implementation group to reach conclusions on the business cases submitted. [23963]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Six applications have been received from universities that do not currently have dental schools and eight from universities wishing to expand their dental schools. We do not consider it appropriate to release the name of these universities while competition is still under way. The joint implementation group will put its recommendations to the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England to consider at its meeting on 26 January.


Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doses of influenza vaccine are available in (a) Herefordshire, (b) Worcestershire and (c) England. [24938]

Caroline Flint: The Department does not centrally purchase flu vaccine. General practitioners purchase their own supplies of vaccine from one of the six United Kingdom suppliers, based on the number of eligible patients on their practice register.

13.4 million doses of flu vaccine are available to order this year.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to vaccinate poultry handlers against (a) seasonal influenza and (b) influenza of subtype A/H5N1. [25273]

Caroline Flint: There are no plans to vaccinate poultry workers against seasonal influenza in the absence of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). When an outbreak of HPAI is confirmed, or in the case of heightened risk of an outbreak in poultry, poultry workers on the infected farm, together with vets, contractors and other people engaged in disease control activities, will be offered seasonal influenza vaccine, plus anti-viral therapy, within 24 to 48 hours of disease confirmation.

There is currently no vaccine against influenza of subtype A/H5N1. Manufacturers have been asked to tender for a contract to supply a limited amount of vaccine against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza currently circulating in South East Asia. This vaccine could offer some protection against an H5N1 flu strain.

If an outbreak occurs or is deemed likely, we will make the vaccine available for those at high risk of infection through occupational exposure to diseased birds.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Healthover what time period the contracts agreed by her Department with seasonal influenza vaccine manufacturers have effect; with which influenza vaccine manufacturer such contracts have been agreed; and when each was agreed. [23114]

Caroline Flint: The Department does not place contracts with manufacturers but negotiates with manufacturers for United Kingdom influenza vaccine
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supply. General practitioner practices make their own contractual arrangements with manufacturers for the supply of influenza vaccine.

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how soon it is necessary for tamiflu to be administered once someone has been infected with influenza for the treatment to be effective. [25537]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 7 November 2005]: Tamiflu is licensed for the treatment of influenza A and B when influenza is circulating and should be administered within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Full details of antiviral agents for influenza can be found in annex H of the UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan", which is available in the Library.

NHS Ambulance Service Trusts (London)

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on (a) administration and (b) management costs by each NHS ambulance service trust in London, expressed (i) as a percentage of their total budget and (ii) as the cost per head of population in areas they cover in the latest year for which figures are available. [23882]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested for 2004–05, the latest available year, is shown in the table.
London Ambulance National Health Service Trust

Management costs per weighted head of the population (£000)1.41
Management costs as a percentage of turnover3.9

1.Administration costs are not identified separately so all information given relates to management costs only.
2.London has one ambulance trust. The population figures for this have been compiled by the primary care trust weighted population figures within the London area.
3.'Total budget' has been interpreted as total income (turnover).
Audited summarisation schedules of the named trust.

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