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16 Jan 2006 : Column 1075W—continued


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has commissioned into where smokers under the age of 16 years obtain their tobacco. [39369]

Caroline Flint: Data on smoking among young people are available from a series of surveys of secondary school children. The main purpose of the surveys are to
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monitor smoking, drinking and drug use among secondary school pupils in years seven to 11, where the majority are aged 11 to 15.

We have provided an example of data available from the Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England 2004" report, chapter 5 Where children get cigarettes" which is shown in the table. This survey and chapter is available on the Department's website at:
Usual sources of cigarettes(61), by age, England 2004—Current smokers

Age 11–12 years13 years14 years15 yearsTotal
Bought from any shop2853637866
Bought from supermarket513163021
Bought from newsagent/tobacconist/sweet shop2445547058
Bought from garage shop915253829
Bought from other type of shop3991612
Bought from street markets28545
Bought from machine1414172219
Bought through the internet00
Bought from other people4038413337
Bought from friends/relatives2829302527
Bought from someone else2422221519
Given by other people6267676163
Given by friends5164615658
Given by brother/sister1817121113
Given by father/mother32797
Found or taken119746

(61)Percentages total more than 100 because pupils could give more than one answer.
The survey from which the results are taken are from secondary school pupils in years 7 to 11. The majority of pupils questioned are therefore aged between 11 and 15.
Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England 2004. Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Social Services

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of (a) the recent report by the Association of Directors of Social Services on learning disabilities services and (b) the likely impact of its recommendations on social care in North Yorkshire. [39693]

Mr. Byrne: The Department welcomes this report as a useful piece of work, particularly in its emphasis on the importance of maintaining support for people with learning disabilities to lead their lives as independently as possible.

It is for North Yorkshire to consider the contents of the report in relation to their local service provision.


Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the likely timescale for introducing Sorafenib following successful clinical trials. [27480]

Jane Kennedy: A press statement issued by the applicant pharmaceutical company indicates that an application for a marketing authorisation for Sorafenib has been submitted to the European medicines agency (EMEA) in September 2005 for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell cancer. As with all medicinal products, before Sorafenib is granted a marketing authorisation and becomes available in the United Kingdom it must be fully evaluated in relation to the appropriate standards required in the relevant European rules and regulations on medicinal products. Data submitted in support of the application will need to demonstrate that the safety, quality and efficacy of the product are satisfactory for its intended use. Under European procedures, it takes up to 210 days for an opinion on licensing to be given by the scientific committee of the EMEA, the Committee for human medicinal products, excluding time taken by the company to provide further information or data to support any questions which may arise during the assessment process. Should the assessment consider that the quality, safety and efficacy are satisfactory and a
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positive opinion be given, the European Commission will consider the opinion and decide upon granting a marketing authorisation, valid across the community.

Waiting Lists/Times

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 5 October 2005, Official Report, column 2843W, on waiting times, whether the Department has agreed local delivery plans with every strategic health authority; where the Department is piloting data collections to support the 18-week waiting time target; where these pilots are taking place; whether she has taken a decision on whether data drawn from the pilots will be published; and when she intends to begin monitoring waiting times across England for the purpose of measuring the 18-week waiting time target. [31895]

Mr. Byrne: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 8 December 2005, Official Report, column 1579W.

Measurement of the total patient pathway, from referral to treatment, will be in place in advance of 2008 to help support delivery of 18 weeks. In the meantime, all strategic health authorities (SHAs) have developed plans, based upon the three stages of treatment, outpatients, diagnostics and inpatients, which have been signed off by the Department.

Primary care trusts and SHAs have recently been asked to refresh their plans for cutting long waits for outpatients, diagnostics and inpatients, in order to reflect their latest thinking on achievement of the 18-week target. We plan to monitor referral-to-treatment times across England from early 2007.

Winter Deaths

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment the Department has made of the strength of the correlation between excess winter deaths and the average outdoor temperature. [32642]

Mr. Byrne: It is well known that there is a linear relationship of temperature and mortality, 1.4 per cent. increase in mortality for every one degree centigrade fall in temperature from 18 degrees centigrade. This means that all winter days, not just the coldest, create some excess mortality.

This message is spelt out in the materials for the Keep Warm Keep Well campaign, a campaign run every winter for the last 17 winters in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Age Concern, Help the Aged, National Energy Action, and WRVS.

The Eurowinter group. Lancet, 1997, May 10; 349 (9062): 1341–6.

Yorkshire Wolds and Coast PCT

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the reasons for Yorkshire Wolds and Coast primary care trust's budget deficit. [39585]

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Mr. Byrne: Strategic health authorities (SHAs) are responsible for managing the financial position for their local health communities, which includes assessing the reasons for organisations incurring deficits. SHAs are charged with ensuring that every organisation achieves financial balance.


Parliamentary Questions

Peter Law: To ask the Leader of the House what assessment he has made of the merits of arranging for 'will write answers' to hon. Members to be published in full in an annex to the Official Report. [41535]

Mr. Hoon: Improvements to the way Government Departments handle replies to parliamentary questions, to reduce the number and increase the accessibility of 'I will write' replies, were announced by written ministerial statement on 21 July 2004.

I have recently conducted a review of how these new arrangements have been working, in response to a report recommendation from the Public Administration Select Committee. I am content that the arrangements at the time of Prorogation are working well.

I have sent a memorandum to the Committee today.

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