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16 Feb 2006 : Column 2322W—continued


Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the use of statins in each year since they have been prescribed. [45563]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Statin prescribing effectively began in 1991 with a low base. Since publication of the national service framework for coronary heart disease (CHD) in 2000 it has been rising at approximately 30 per cent. per year. In the last financial year the national health service spent about £0.75 billion on statins, benefiting around £2.7 million patients.

There are numerous studies showing the benefits of statins for secondary prevention of CHD. One of the most influential is the heart protection study published in 2002 which found that reducing low density lipoprotein cholesterol in high risk patients resulted—allowing for non-compliance—in a possible 70 to 100 lives saved per 1,000 treated over five years.

Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people made up the financial and management specialist team that visited Suffolk Coastal primary care trust to examine the state of the primary care trust; and how many days the team spent investigating onsite. [47653]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 2 February 2006]: The turnaround teams were announced in a ministerial statement on 1 December 2005, Official Report, column 37WS. The teams will comprise of experts with a mix of commercial and national health service turnaround skills.

The first stage of this is a baseline assessment, the aim of which is to ensure there is an agreed understanding of the local financial problem and that actions are in hand to address this.

The contract for the baseline assessment was awarded to consultants KPMG. Suffolk Coastal primary care trust's assessment was included in this assessment, which covered 62 organisations. Information is not available on the breakdown of the resources KPMG assigned to each assessment. The value of this contract is commercial in confidence.


Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether Tarceva (erlotinib) has been prescribed by NHS trusts. [50505]

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Jane Kennedy [holding answer 14 February 2006]: Erlotinib (Tarceva), for non-small cell lung cancer, was granted a licence by the European Medicines Agency in September 2005. There is no record of it having been dispensed in England, though our information is not comprehensive and might not capture the use of the drug in clinical trials where it has not been dispensed at the national health service's expense.

Terminal Illness (Benefit Provision)

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to ensure advice on benefits is made available to patients when they are diagnosed as having terminal illness. [44334]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department is working with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that advice on benefits is available to all patients including those with a terminal illness.

Total Purchasing Pilots

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of total purchasing pilots in primary care services. [46590]

Jane Kennedy: No recent assessment has been made.

Visual Impairment

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when a comprehensive low vision service will be available to visually-impaired people in all primary care trust areas. [43172]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Low vision aids are already available free on loan to any person requiring them. The Hospital Eye Service assesses the needs of the individual and provides any necessary low vision aids.

Social services departments have responsibility for assessing the needs of individuals who request help due to problems with their vision. This is usually in the form of modifications to a person's home such as improved lighting and hi-marks for cookers. Any help offered will be following a comprehensive assessment of the individual's needs.

The Government-funded integrating community equipment services (ICES) project was designed to improve equipment services for people by integrating the previously separate national health service and social services equipment services. The ICES team completed their work on integration in March 2005 and it is now the responsibility of the local social care and health service providers to determine how best to provide services to meet the needs of the individuals in their populations, in the light of local priorities.

Low vision was one of the areas identified by the eye care services steering group as an area for further development. A care pathway for low vision services has been published and a number of pilots are currently testing the pathway. The model pathways are designed to improve integration of eye care services across primary and secondary care and social services.
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Learning from the pilots and their developing evidence-base will be shared with the NHS to support wider implementation. A conference is planned for June 2006 to showcase the pilots.

Waiting Lists/Times

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2006, Official Report, column 1299W, on Health Committee evidence, if she will place in the Library the diagnostic waiting time statistics referred to in answer to Question 188 before the Health Committee on 1 December 2005, HC 736-i, on public health and personal social services. [45420]

Jane Kennedy: The data collected from the pilot sites is unvalidated management information collected to help to refine the list of diagnostic tests and procedures to be included in the national data collection, and to inform the development of policy on 18 weeks. Pilot sites submitted data in the knowledge that it was unvalidated and of variable data quality. It would not, therefore, be appropriate to publish this information in the Library. However, over time, we will commence routine publication of data on diagnostic waiting times and activity and expect the first report to be published during spring 2006.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) average and (b) longest waiting time was for an out-patient appointment at each of the hospitals run by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the last year for which figures are available. [50729]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is not available in the requested format. However, the table shows waiting times for a first out-patient appointment following general practitioner written referral request for the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust.
Waiting times for first out-patient appointment following GP written referral request—Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust—tranche 2

QuarterMedian wait (weeks)
December 20048.5
March 20058.2
June 20057.6
September 20057.9
December 2005n/a

Tranche 1

QuarterNot seen over 13 but less than 17 weeksNot seen over 17 but less than 21 weeksNot seen over 21 weeks
December 20041,10500
March 200544300
June 200562400
September 200555700
December 2005000

December 2005 contains only data collected in tranche 1. Tranche 2 data that is used to calculate the average waiting time will be available on 3 March.
Department of Health form QM08

16 Feb 2006 : Column 2325W

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards ensuring every patient is treated within 18 weeks of general practitioner referral; and what assessment she has made of the impact of such progress on other NHS services. [40263]

Jane Kennedy: Clear progress has been made in setting the foundations for 18-weeks over the past few years—with in-patient and out-patient waiting times falling to six months and 13 weeks respectively. A new data collection on diagnostic test has been rolled out nationally since January 2006 in order to monitor progress against local plans.

We plan to measure the total patient pathway, from referral to treatment, across England starting in April 2007. In the meantime, all strategic health authorities (SHAs) have developed plans, based upon the three stages of treatment, out-patients, diagnostics and in-patients. The Department has recently asked primary care trusts and SHAs to refresh these plans for cutting long waits in order to reflect their latest thinking on achievement of the 18-week target.

The Department is currently collating the responses of a service-wide listening exercise on the proposed principles and definitions for 18-weeks and will publish the outcome in 2006.

The Department has issued very clear guidance that clinical priority must be the main determinant of when patients should be seen and we are not aware of any evidence to suggest that the successes in delivering shorter maximum waiting times to date has had any adverse impact on other national health service services. NHS guidelines make it clear that it remains the responsibility of local health services to ensure that there are fair and acceptable local standards governing access to services for areas not covered by national targets.

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