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23 Nov 2005 : Column 2119W—continued


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 2 November 2005, Official Report, column 1126W, on prisons, where sexual activity in prisons is permitted; and whether she has issued guidance, regulations or directions to HM Prison Service regarding sexual activity in prisons. [27475]

Fiona Mactaggart: I have been asked to reply.

The facts and purposes of custody, including the need to protect the vulnerable and to maintain good order and discipline, mean that it would be inappropriate for prisons to condone or encourage sexual activity between prisoners. However, the Prison Service recognises that sex in prisons is a reality and prison doctors were advised in 1995 that they should make condoms available to individual prisoners, on application, if in their clinical judgment, there is a risk of transmission of HIV infection during sexual activity. The Prison Service is planning to issue, in 2006, revised guidance and instructions which aim to clarify the policy on condoms so that it can be applied more evenly across the prison estate. The intention is to preserve individuals' health rather than to encourage sexual relationships.

Prostate Cancer

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to support the development of screening technology for prostate cancer; and how much funding has been provided from (a) her Department and (b) the Medical Research Council for this purpose in each year since 1997–98. [26014]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department supports the development of screening technology for prostate cancer by having a comprehensive research strategy into all aspects of prostate cancer. By providing both funding and structure we are improving the knowledge base of prostate cancer, opening up new possibilities for screening, treatment, care, etc.

We are jointly with other National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) members, such as the Medical Research Council, funding two NCRI prostate cancer collaboratives, one based at the University of Cambridge and the other at the Institute of Cancer Research. The Department is funding half of the total £7.4 million cost.

The research undertaken by the collaboratives covers all aspects of prostate cancer and has already generated the groundbreaking discovery of the overactive E2F3 gene in prostate cancer tumours. This discovery provides the potential not only to identify those at risk of developing the disease, but for the first time allows the prediction of how aggressive the cancer will be.
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It is important to note that in order for a screening technology to contribute to saving lives it is essential for there to be effective treatments for the disease detected. That is why the Department is funding a £20 million trial of treatments for prostate specific antigen (PSA) screen-detected early prostate cancer (the ProtecT trial).

The Department directly commissioned funding for prostate cancer research, including screening, as shown in the table.
Commissioned funding for prostate cancer research, including screening, 1999–2000 to 2004–05

Funding amount (£)

The level of funding of £4.2 million will be maintained for future years, subject to the quality of research proposals.

Room for Review

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reasons timescale for the publication of part one of the Taskforce on Medicine Partnership's evaluation of Room for Review was changed; [20665]

(2) pursuant to her answer of 14 July 2005, Official Report, column 1198W, when publication of part two of the Taskforce on Medicine Partnership's evaluation of Room for Review will take place. [20671]

Jane Kennedy: The plan was to publish both parts, part one on the survey of primary care trusts (PCTs) and part two on the views of patients, at the same time. As part two of the evaluation involved patients, ethics approval was required, which took longer than expected. To avoid further delay in sharing the results from the PCT survey, part one of the evaluation was published in March 2005. It is expected that the report of part two of the evaluation will be available by the end of 2006.

St George's Hospital, Hornchurch

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the future of St. George's Hospital, Hornchurch. [21540]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Any plans relating to the reconfiguration of service of St. Georges hospital in Hornchurch. Are a matter for Havering primary care trust (PCT) as PCTs are responsible for commissioning services for the population that they serve.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what distribution arrangements will be made for Tamiflu to ensure it is taken shortly after onset of symptoms. [21786]

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Caroline Flint: Antivirals will provide the first form of defence against pandemic influenza. We have purchased 14.6 million courses of oseltamivir, Tamiflu, to treat the 25 per cent. of the population that may fall ill. Deliveries will be complete by September 2006 and we have published a framework for the national health service for stockpiling, distributing and using antivrals which is available on the Department's website at

Primary care trusts will be responsible for developing plans to enable patients to access antivirals. The overall aim is to ensure that antiviral medicines are available to treat patients suffering from influenza as soon as possible and within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. As more information about the virus and its symptoms emerges, we will develop clinical definitions of the disease and Tamiflu will be distributed on this basis.
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West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her latest estimate is of the outturn against planned expenditure in 2005–06 of West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust; and if she will make a statement. [25572]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The latest financial year for which the audited financial information of all national health service organisations, strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and NHS trusts, is available is 2004–05. A copy of this information is available in the Library. It can also be accessed via the Department's website at: The final position for West Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust for 2004–05 is an overspend against their revenue resource limit of £10 million.
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Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of benefits available to carers; [27008]

(2) what his estimate is of the number of carers (a) in England and (b) in the county of Devon, broken down by local authority area, who are not taking up their entitlement to benefits. [27051]

Mrs. McGuire: Carers may be entitled to the full range of social security benefits depending on their individual circumstances. Information and advice about entitlement to carer's allowance and other benefits are available from a range of outlets including social security offices, Jobcentre Plus offices, DWP and other helplines, DWP and other internet sites, local authorities, Citizens Advice and welfare benefit offices, public libraries, health clinics, doctors' surgeries and health visitors. Officials from the Department's disability and carers service also discuss carer's allowance at outreach events up and down the country.

In addition, the extensive pension credit take-up campaign, recently mounted by the Pension Service, has helped many older carers to benefit from the Government's abolition of the upper age limit on claims to carer's allowance and provided advice on other benefits.

The carer's allowance claim pack is kept under review and improvements are introduced on an ongoing basis. Claims can be made in writing, by phone and on-line, and can be accepted by organisations such as Age Concern and Citizens Advice as well as DWP offices.

Entitlement to benefits for carers depends on whether the qualifying conditions are satisfied, and this can be reliably established only after a claim has been made. There are no data available which would provide an estimate of the number of carers who would meet the conditions for these benefits if they claimed.

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of how many recipients of carers' allowance ceased to receive it on reaching pensionable age in each of the last five years; [22542]

(2) what estimate he has made of the savings to his Department arising from ceasing to pay carers' allowance to carers on reaching pensionable age, broken down by region. [26984]

Mrs. McGuire: The available information is in the following table.

The rules which preclude the payment in full of more than one non-income-related benefit for income maintenance purposes are common to a wide range of benefits. Payment of carer's allowance is withdrawn from carers who receive state pension, either in full where the weekly rate of state pension exceeds the weekly rate of carer's allowance, or in part where the weekly rate of state pension is less than the weekly rate of carer's allowance. This means that carers of state pension age 1 receive at least as much by way of state benefits as they did before state pension age. They may retain entitlement to carer's allowance for so long as
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they continue to meet the entitlement conditions and, if they have a low income, may also be entitled to pension credit which includes an additional amount for carers, currently £25.80 per week.

Estimates of (i) the number of people in Great Britain who ceased to be paid carer's allowance when state pension became payable to them and (ii) what the cost would have been of continuing to pay the allowance to them.

12-month period
ending on 31 May
Estimated number of people in the period to whom carer's allowance ceased to be paid when state pension became payable(46)4,1006,800
Estimated cost if carer's allowance had been paid to the end of the period
(£ million)(47)

(46) Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.
(47) Estimates exclude increases for adult dependants and assume that (a) the dates on which people started to receive state pension were evenly distributed throughout the period; and (b) those people would have continued to meet the entitlement conditions for carer's allowance after state pension became payable.
From August 2003, figures are drawn from a new 100 per cent. data source, the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS). Owing to the limitations of earlier data it is not possible to provide estimates for earlier 12 month periods.
DWP Information Directorate—Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) and 100 per cent. samples.

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