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23 Nov 2005 : Column 2102W—continued

Blood Tests (Kent)

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have experienced delays in 2005–06 in receiving the results of blood tests because of staff shortages at Gravesend and North Kent hospitals. [28598]

Caroline Flint: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Breast Cancer

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether primary care trusts (PCTs) are required to make herceptin available to women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer; and what guidance her Department has given to PCTs on this matter. [28324]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 14 November 2005]: As with other unlicensed drugs, it is down to individual clinicians to decide whether to prescribe herceptin. The clinician makes these decisions after discussions with the woman about the potential risks and taking into account her medical history.

The clinician's decision does, however, need to be supported by the primary care trust (PCT) as the PCT has to decide whether to support the clinician's decision and pay for herceptin.

On 25 October, I announced that PCTs should not refuse to fund herceptin solely on the grounds of cost, or rule out treatments on principle. They should consider individual circumstances.

The position on herceptin has been communicated to the national health service via the chief executive's bulletin of 10 November 2005. This bulletin is available on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk.

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) plans to issue to primary care trusts regarding the prescribing of Herceptin, with particular reference to Bolton primary care trust. [28494]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 15 November 2005]:

The position on the prescribing of herceptin has been communicated to the national health service via the chief executive's bulletin of 10 November 2005. This bulletin is available on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk. The guidance is aimed at all primary care trusts, including Bolton.

Carers

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her assessment is of the effects of the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 on carers. [27006]

Mr. Byrne: The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 has been warmly welcomed by carers and the organisations that represent them. However, it is currently too early to have hard data on the effect of the new Act on carers.

Monitoring is being undertaken through the Commission for Social Care Inspection's performance assessment framework and data is collected via the referrals, assessments and packages of care return.
 
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Childhood Vaccinations

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the take-up rate of each vaccine offered as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme has been (a) in total and (b) in each (i) primary care trust and (ii) strategic health authority in each quarter since the quarter ending June 1997. [28667]

Caroline Flint: Annual England data for years 1997 to 2005 are available from national health service immunisation statistics on the department's website at:

Quarterly cover of vaccination evaluated rapidly reports for the same period are available on the Health Protection Agency's (HPA) website at:

Primary care trust (PCT) and strategic health authority (SHA) data is only available from April 2002. Annual data for PCTs and SHAs can be accessed in NHS Immunisation Statistics, England 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05 bulletins (tables seven and eight) from the Department's web link. Quarterly SHA tables are available from the above HPA link. PCT quarterly data is not published.

Children's Food

Mr. McFadden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions she has had with leading supermarket chains concerning reducing the (a) sugar, (b) salt and (c) fat content in children's food. [27115]

Caroline Flint: The chair of the Food Standards Agency and I have recently started a series of joint meetings with a number of the leading supermarket chains to discuss their plans to reduce salt, fat and sugar in all foods. The first of these meetings took place at the start of November, and others are scheduled through to the middle of December.

Dacorum Primary Care Trust

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effect on expenditure by Dacorum primary care trust of the introduction of new contracts for (a) pharmacists, (b) dentists and (c) other frontline staff; and if she will make a statement. [26876]

Ms Rosie Winterton: No assessment has been made on Dacorum primary care trust's expenditure in relation to the new contracts for pharmacists, dentists and other frontline staff.

Dementia

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department is funding into the treatment and cure of cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leucoencephalopathy; what NHS treatments are available for this condition; and if she will make a statement. [29508]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 17 November 2005]: The main agency through which the Government supports medical and clinical research is the Medical
 
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Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology.

The MRC is currently funding one research grant of relevance to cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leucoencephalopathy (CADASIL). The MRC is additionally supporting a considerable programme of underpinning research in both neurology and genetics that may lead to a greater understanding of the condition.

Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by national health service organisations. Details of current and completed individual projects, including a number concerned with CADASIL, can be found on the national research register on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/research.

There is currently no specific treatment available for CADASIL, although the associated migraine, anxiety and depression can be controlled using standard treatments. The recently published national service framework for long-term conditions focuses on the health and social care needs for people living with neurological conditions, including those with CADASIL.

Dentistry

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists have de-registered children from NHS work in each primary care trust in Gloucestershire in the last year for which figures are available. [25368]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not collect this information in the format requested.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many dentists serve the Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth Primary Care Trust; [26157]

(2) how many dentists in Tamworth constituency (a) operate fully within the NHS and (b) only offer NHS treatment for children. [26160]

Ms Rosie Winterton: As at 30 September 2005, there were 71 national health service dentists with a general dental services (GDS) or personal dental services (PDS) contract within Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth primary care trust (PCT).

As at 30 September 2005, there were 38 NHS dentists with a GDS or PDS contract within Tamworth parliamentary constituency.

The data source is the Dental Practice Board. A dentist with a GDS or PDS contract may provide as little or as much NHS treatment as he or she chooses or has agreed with the PCT. The Dental Practice Board has no information concerning the amount of time dedicated to private or NHS work by individual dentists.

Information about who dentists offer to treat is not collected centrally. However, an analysis of NHS patient registrations data as at 1 June 2005 show that within Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth PCT there was one dentist having only children registered. This analysis is not available at parliamentary constituency area.
 
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Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role the Dental Practice Board will play in the Business Services Authority from 1 April 2006. [26804]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The existing functions of the Dental Practice Board will be absorbed into the Business Services Authority from April 2006. The Dental Practice Board will be abolished on 31 March 2006.

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether flexible funding will be given to primary care trusts in 2006–07 in relation to the implementation of the new general dental services contract. [26807]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Primary care trusts' (PCTs) budgets for local dental services in 2006–07 will reflect the historic spend in general dental services, personal dental services, emergency dental services and salaried dentists. We are currently finalising decisions on the level of any growth in this budget. PCTs will also have the flexibility to invest additional resources from within their main budgets allocations if they wish.

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to initiate a review of the conclusions of the 2004 dental work force study. [26813]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have no current plans to initiate a review on the conclusions of the 2004 dental work force study. We shall, however, wish to look again at future work force requirements once the impact of the new local commissioning arrangements for dentistry from April 2006 can be taken into account.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many Polish dentists worked for the NHS in the last year for which figures are available. [26839]

Ms Rosie Winterton: At the start of November 2005, there were 312 national health service dentists with a general dental services or personal dental services contract in England, who were qualified in Poland.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much her Department spent per capita on NHS dentistry in West Lancashire in each of the last five years. [27659]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is shown in the table.
Estimated spend per capita on the general dental service (GDS) in West Lancashire Primary Care Trust for the financial years ending 31 March 2001 to 2005

West Lancashire£ per capita
200123.74
200225.30
200326.55
200429.86
200527.17




Note:
During 2004–05, the proportion of dentists working in personal dentist service (PDS) increased from 7 per cent. to 23 per cent. This will lead to a significant break in the GDS spend per capita series. Comparable data on PDS expenditure are not held centrally.




Expenditure has been defined as gross fees plus commitment payments less patient charges. This excludes some payments to dentists.
 
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Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if her Department will take steps to prevent private dentistry practices from actively persuading dentists to leave the NHS. [28277]

Ms Rosie Winterton: It is not the role of the Department to intervene in individual discussions between one dental practitioner and another. However, we are actively promoting the benefits of the new national health service dental contracts to dentists, for instance through communication to all NHS dentists from the Chief Dental Officer and meetings with local groups of dentists across the country.

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many calls to NHS Direct were about NHS dentistry in the latest month for which figures are available; and what percentage of those callers were advised of NHS dentists they could (a) register with and (b) be treated by within locally agreed standards. [18890]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The data requested is not centrally collected. However, it may be available locally from NHS Direct and the hon. Member may wish to contact the Chairman of NHS Direct for details.

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will compensate pensioners for private dental charges incurred where NHS dental treatment is not available. [24279]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In England, we have no plans to compensate pensioners for private dental charges. Our programme of investment in national health service dentistry has been focused on increasing the number of dentists providing NHS services and improving access for patients. Since 2003–04, we have invested approximately £250 million in primary dental care services in England.


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