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18 Apr 2006 : Column 225W—continued


Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria her Department uses to determine whether primary care trusts should prescribe Herceptin for early stage breast cancer. [62457]

Ms Rosie Winterton: It is for individual clinicians to decide whether it is suitable to prescribe Herceptin for early breast cancer. Primary care trusts (PCTs) may have to be involved to decide whether to support the clinician's decision and supply the drug at national health service expense.

The National Cancer Research Institute has produced a United Kingdom clinical guideline on the use of Herceptin for early breast cancer. This provides useful information to those considering prescribing Herceptin for this indication in advance of a decision on licensing and the publication of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance. PCTs have been alerted to the availability of these guidelines.

Decisions on funding Herceptin for early stage breast cancer are a matter for local determination within the following parameters set by the Secretary of State for Health:

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts are making Herceptin available for early stage breast cancer. [62459]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not collected centrally.

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients who participated in the HERA Herceptin adjuvant trial are receiving Herceptin on the NHS. [62460]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not collected centrally.
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Hillingdon Primacy Care Trust

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for a hip replacement was in (a) Hillingdon primary care trust and (b) England in each of the last five years. [60289]

Jane Kennedy: Waiting time data are collected at speciality level, for example trauma and orthopaedics, and it is not possible to split this data down to show waiting list data for specific operations, for example, hip replacement operations. Median waiting time data for the trauma and orthopaedics speciality for Hillingdon primary care trust (PCT) and England is shown in the table. These data were collected from the first quarter of 2002–03.
Median waiting time within:
Hillingdon PCTEngland

QF01—Commissioner Based Waiting Time Data.


Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations she has received from adult and childrens' hospices on funding; and if she will make a statement. [56513]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Ministers in the Department have recently met with a number of commissioners and providers of palliative care for adults and children to discuss a range of issues affecting provision of palliative care, including funding. These have included a meeting on 9 February with representatives of the children's hospice movement and other interested parties and on 7 March a meeting with the all party parliamentary group on hospices and palliative care.

Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible within the national health service for commissioning and funding services for their resident population, including palliative care. It is for PCTs to determine how to use the funding allocated to them to commission services to meet the healthcare needs of their local populations. PCTs having assessed their local priorities, can invest more. This investment should be in line with local strategic plans.
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Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had regarding the inclusion of hospice care within the payment by results system; when these discussions took place; what the content of these discussions was; and if she will make a statement. [53084]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Work to develop healthcare resource groups for specialist palliative care, which will inform the implementation of payment by results, is ongoing. Part of this work will include consideration of the funding implications of introducing payment by results in specialist palliative care.

Hospitals (Mobile Telephones)

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what type of machines in hospitals are affected by mobile telephone signals. [61571]

Jane Kennedy: The use of mobile phones and other communication equipment in close proximity to certain electrically sensitive medical equipment is not advised, as the consequences of disrupting such equipment may cause direct harm to patients.

The types of equipment that may be affected by electromagnetic interference from mobile phones include infusion pumps, electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors, anaesthetic machines, pulse oximeters, and defibrillators. The use of these medical devices is widespread throughout healthcare organisations in the United Kingdom and the number in use at any time will be high, but difficult to estimate precisely.

The effects of this interference may range from stopping the equipment working when a mobile phone is in close proximity, to interference with displays or alarm circuits in the medical device.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published a detailed study on the effects of mobile phones and other communication equipment on a range of medical devices in their device bulletin, Electromagnetic Compatibility of Medical Devices with Mobile Communications", in March 1997 (Medical Devices Agency at that time).

Further advice on mobile phones and other communication equipment and their effects on medical devices is available on the MHRA's website at


Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her answer of 14 March 2006, Official Report, columns 2194–95W, on immunisation, if she will place in the Library a copy of the analysis referred to in her answer. [62397]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 30 March 2006]: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

Independent Complaints Advocacy Service

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effect on the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service of the decision to end the Citizen's Advice Bureau's contract. [62492]

18 Apr 2006 : Column 228W

Ms Rosie Winterton: Following a rigorous procurement exercise, the Department has awarded contracts to three organisations who will deliver a new and improved independent complaints advocacy service (ICAS) from 1 April 2006 across England. Those successful organisations submitted tenders that more closely matched the Department's requirements under the new contract specification than the tender submitted by the Citizen's Advice Bureau. All of the successful organisations have been delivering ICAS under contract to the Department since 1 September 2003, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise in general and specialist advocacy service delivery and the Department is confident that this new and improved service will be successfully delivered.

The Citizen's Advice Bureau is working closely with the new providers in order to ensure a smooth transition for clients. Detailed transition plans have been drawn up, the implementation of which is being monitored by Departmental officials.

Independent Sector Treatment Centre

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what powers she has to compel the Southampton City primary care trust to commission operations from the proposed Southampton Independent Sector Treatment Centre. [57754]

Caroline Flint: The Secretary of State has power to give directions to primary care trusts (PCTs) about their exercise of any functions. Their functions include that of providing medical services under the National Health Service Act 1977, and arranging with any person or body for that person or body to provide, or assist in providing, such services. The Secretary of State has not, however, used these powers to compel any PCT to procure services from independent sector treatment centres.

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