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Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines for the use of anticholinesterase drugs. 
Jane Kennedy: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has consulted on draft guidance on the use of anticholinesterase drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The consultation ended on 13 February 2006. NICE has not yet finalised its guidance to the national health service.
Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to ensure key workers in (a) power plant operations, (b) telephone services and (c) other essential public services are inoculated against avian influenza. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: There has been some confusion between seasonal flu, avian flu and pandemic flu. Avian influenza is a disease which mainly affects birds. Seasonal flu refers to the viruses that circulate in the human population and cause widespread illness each winter. Pandemic flu will occur only after an avian virus has mutated into a strain to which large numbers of the population have not been exposed and which can spread easily between humans.
We are finalising a contract for the purchase of a two to three million doses of vaccine against the H5N1 strain currently circulating in South East Asia and other areas. This vaccine can be used for research and for possible use for health care workers in an emergency, and may provide some limited protection against a pandemic emerging from that source. We hope to award this contract shortly and would receive some stocks early next year.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the total number of human (a) fatalities and (b) infections resulting from H5N1 avian influenza to date, broken down by country. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The number of confirmed cases and deaths from avian influenza (H5N1) is provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which is shown in the table. This information is regularly updated and is available on the WHO website at:
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Ms Rosie Winterton: The pandemic strain may not necessarily be H5N1. The widespread occurrence of a highly pathogenic avian (bird) influenza virus (H5N1) in poultry since 2003, which has also infected some people, is thought to provide a seedbed for the possible emergence of a new virus with greater affinity for people and thus the potential to cause a new pandemic.
Estimates of the impact of an influenza pandemic are based on the best available evidence. However, the number of people affected and the impact on the healthcare system will depend critically on the detailed properties of the pandemic Flu virus.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what projections her Department has made of the expected take up of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in (a) 200506, (b) 200607 and (c) 200708; 
The Government have stated their commitment to a national bowel cancer screening programme. On 30 January 2006, the new Health White Paper, Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services" reaffirmed that the programme will be rolled out from April 2006. Departmental budgets for 200607 are currently being finalised, and announcements will be made in due course.
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Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place (a) to inform people from (i)ethnic minorities, (ii) deprived areas and (iii) hard to reach groups about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and (b) to encourage them to participate. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 19 January 2006]: A bowel cancer communications group was set up in 2005 to discuss communications with the public when the bowel cancer screening programme begins. The voluntary sector, patient groups, researchers, NHS Cancer Screening Programmes and the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes press office are all represented on the group. The group is considering all aspects of communications, including reaching ethnic minorities, people from deprived areas and hard to reach groups.
In addition, bowel cancer screening leaflets sent out with each invitation will be translated into a number of languages, as happens in breast and cervical screening now. Lessons are also being learned on how to reach these groups from the existing breast and cervical screening programmes, and from the bowel cancer screening pilot.
Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what central funding has been made available for the roll-out of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in (a) 200405, (b) 200506, (c) 200607 and (d) 200708; and what ring-fenced funding has been made available to primary care trusts to assist with the roll-out. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 2 February 2006]: The Government have stated their commitment to a national bowel cancer screening programme. On 30 January 2006, the new Health White Paper, Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services" reaffirmed that the programme will be rolled out from April 2006. Departmental budgets for 200607 are currently being finalised, and announcements will be made in due course.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether (a) there are any plans to delay construction of the new Braintree Community Hospital on the site of St. Michael's Hospital, (b) the levels of funding originally planned for the new hospital have
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changed and (c) changes have been made to the project's scheduled completion date since its original approval; and what the scheduled completion date is for the hospital. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Essex Strategic Health Authority (SHA) has no plans to delay construction of a new Braintree Hospital on the site of the existing St. Michael's Hospital. Witham, Braintree and Halstead Care Trust has consistently maintained that this private finance initiative (PFI) project had to fit hand in glove with the Mid Essex Hospital PFI scheme at Broomfield Hospital and this has taken time to negotiate.
Witham, Braintree and Halstead Care Trust is currently pulling together its full business case (FBC) which will include revised capital costs and revenue costs. The care trust plans to bring its FBC to the SHA in the summer/autumn this year for consideration and approval.
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