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16 Feb 2006 : Column 2293W—continued

Breast Cancer

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made in rolling out HER2 testing for all women diagnosed with breast cancer. [47020]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Professor Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, is working with cancer networks to ensure that testing arrangements are put in place to enable women who require it to be tested for HER2 status. This work is ongoing.
 
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Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the reasons for the long-term trend in rates of breast cancer over the last 30 years. [47986]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 2 February 2006]: The reasons behind the increase in breast cancer rates are complex. The Cancer Atlas, published by the Office for National Statistics in 2005, states that most of the known risk factors for breast cancer relate to a woman's reproductive history and that lifestyle factors, such as poor diet and alcohol consumption, may also contribute to a higher risk.

Although breast cancer rates are increasing, death rates are falling. Since 1997 there has been a 13 per cent. decrease in breast cancer mortality in those under 75.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) average and (b) longest wait for urgent breast cancer referral at the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was in the latest period for which figures are available. [50428]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is not available in the requested format. However, information relating to:


Table 1. Number of patients referred by their GP with suspected breast cancer, by waiting time from referral to first out-patient appointment—England and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 2005–06 quarter 2

Waiting time from referral to first out-patient appointment (days)
Percentage seen within two weeks of referralTotal referralsUnder 1415–1617–2122–28Over 28
Urgent referrals received by trust within 24 hours
Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust1002812810000
England99.533,78233,6052684643
Urgent referrals not received by trust within 24 hours
Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust75.044333224
England87.51,8751,641591013539



Source:
CWT-Db, Department of Health



Table 2. Number of patients treated for breast cancer during the quarter within two months (62 days) of the decision to refer by their GP—England and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 2005–06 quarter 2

Patients treated within two monthsPatients not treated within two monthsPercentage treated within two months
Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust380100
England4,26810097.7



Source:
CWT-Db, Department of Health


Chelmsford Primary Care Trust

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) why the average NHS funding per person for the Chelmsford Primary Care Trust (PCT) area is less than the average figure for England; what measures are being taken to bring the funding for the Chelmsford PCT area closer to the average figure for England; and if she will make a statement; [48368]

(2) what the average NHS funding per person is in (a) England and (b) the Chelmsford Primary Care Trust area; and what each figure is projected to be in 2008. [48370]


 
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Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answers 6 February 2006]: The recurrent revenue allocations per head for 2005–06 and 2007–08 for Chelmsford Primary Care Trust (PCT) and England are shown in the table.
Unweighted

Allocation per head
2005–062007–08
Chelmsford PCT9751,159
England1,1721,388

Revenue allocations are made to PCTs on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. A weighted capitation formula is used to determine PCTs' target shares of available resources, to enable PCTs to commission similar levels of health services for populations in similar need.

The components of the formula are used to weight each PCTs crude population according to their relative need (age, and additional need) for healthcare and the unavoidable geographical differences in the cost of providing healthcare (the market forces factor).

The formula does not determine allocations. The formula is used to set targets, which then inform allocations. Actual allocations reflect decisions on the speed at which PCTs are brought nearer to target through the distribution of extra funds (pace of change policy).

Pace of change policy is decided for each allocations round. For the 2006–08 allocations, it has been decided to move PCTs more quickly towards their fair share of funds. As a result of this allocation round, no PCT will be more than 3.5 per cent. under its fair share by the end of 2007–08. At the start of 2006–07, Chelmsford PCT will be very close to their target allocation (only 0.1 per cent. below target).

The reason that Chelmsford PCT receives lower allocations per person than the England average, is that the measurement of healthcare needs across the population of Chelmsford is lower than the England average.

The development of the formula is kept under constant review by the advisory committee on resource allocation (ACRA). ACRA is an independent body, made up of national health service managers, academics and general practitioners. ACRA will make recommendations on any changes to the formula, that may be required in advance of the next round of allocations.

Chicken Farms

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if her Department will issue advice to educational establishments on the health implications for (a) children and (b) staff of a school of being in close proximity to a large-scale chicken farming establishment. [51802]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer14 February 2006]: The Department does not propose to issue advice on the health implications for children and staff of a school of being in close proximity to a large-scale chicken farming establishment.
 
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Child Eye Examinations

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that parents understand the importance of eye examinations for children. [46658]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 31 January 2006]: Personal child health records are provided to parents after the birth of their child. The record provides families with a means of recording visits, immunisation, concerns raised and action taken. The record covers the range of health and development milestones and although it cannot go into the detail of conditions the record does prompt inquiries about vision and promotes further discussion and specific eye checks where indicated.

Free sight tests are available under the national health service for children under 16 and those aged 16 to 18 in full time education. Sight tests allow the opportunity to review all aspects of eye health, including investigations for signs of disease.

Information about the extensive arrangements for providing help with NHS optical services and other health costs are publicised in leaflet HC11 Are you entitled to help with health costs?".

Colon Cancer

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much was spent by the NHS in 2004–05 on testing for colon cancer; [46189]

(2) which test procedures are used to detect colon cancer; what plans she has to change the procedures; and if she will make a statement; [46190]

(3) what proportion of people over the age of 50 have undertaken a test for colon cancer. [46191]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Screening for bowel cancer in England is currently only available as part of the English bowel cancer screening pilot in Coventry and Warwickshire. The pilot began in 2000, and is now into its third round of screening. People aged 58 to 69 are sent a kit called a faecal occult blood (FOB) test, which looks for hidden blood in the stools, an indicator that bowel cancer may be present. People are invited every two years, and complete the kit in their own homes before returning it to the laboratory where the results are interpreted.

Around 2 per cent. of people who take the FOB test will be positive, and they are invited for a full bowel investigation called a colonoscopy.

In 2004–05, 31,074 people were screened at a cost of around £800,000. Research and an independent evaluation of the pilot have shown that around 60 per cent. of the population take up their invitations to participate in bowel cancer screening.


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