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Mr. Byrne [holding answer 27 March 2006]: Pension contributions made by employers amount to 14 per cent. of the pensionable payroll. This equates to 5.3 per cent. of gross departmental expenditure on the national health service in 200405.
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated increase in the level of pensions is that will be payable on retirement on average to (a) GPs as a result of the new contract, (b) consultants under their new contract and (c) other NHS staff as a result of Agenda for Change. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the estimated additional accrued pension liability to the NHS is as a result of the (a) GPs' new contract, (b) consultants' new contract and (c) Agenda for Change; 
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(2) what assessment she has made of the potential impact of new contracts (a) for GPs, (b) for consultants and (c) under Agenda for Change on the cost of pensions for the NHS; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 27 March 2006]: The information requested is not available, but the Government's actuary Department has valued the total liabilities of the NHS Pension Scheme as at 31 March 2005 to be £127.9 billion. They are in the process of preparing a detailed actuarial valuation of the scheme as at 31 March 2004 which will be published later this year which will include analysis of the factors leading to any change in valuation.
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 27 March 2006]: The NHS pension scheme is revalued periodically to take account of overall scheme liabilities. The last valuation was based on 1999 data, and a further valuation, based on 2004 data will be completed shortly. Contribution rates have not therefore increased in this period as a result of changes to scheme liabilities. A change was however made in employer contributions in 2004 to take account of the transfer of responsibility for the indexation of national health service pensions, together with the associated funding, from HM Treasury to the NHS.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when cryotherapy treatment was approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for use in early prostate cancer; where in the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight strategic health authority area such treatment is available; and on what date the treatment became available in each case. 
In November 2005, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued interventional procedure guidance on the use of cryotherapy as a primary (first) treatment for prostate
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cancer. The guidance concluded that the current evidence appeared to support the use of this treatment provided that normal arrangements are in place for consent, audit and clinical governance.
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact on patients' prognoses of delays in the commencement of radiotherapy treatment; and what steps she plans to take to speed up the commencement of treatment for those patients requiring radiotherapy. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Data on waiting times for radiotherapy are not collected centrally, nor is the impact of delays in radiotherapy treatment. We know from a recent audit by the Royal College of Radiologists, that waiting times for radiotherapy in some parts of the country are unacceptably long but that the situation is improving. The NHS Cancer Plan sets out maximum waiting time targets for cancer treatment which may include radiotherapy where this is given as a first definitive treatment. From December 2005, there is a maximum two-month wait from urgent referral to treatment and a maximum one-month wait from diagnosis to first treatment for all cancers.
To tackle radiotherapy waiting times, we are increasing the numbers of therapy radiographers in post and in training, making better use of existing staff, making unprecedented investment in new radiotherapy equipment, and streamlining the patient journey. Professor Mike Richards, the national cancer director, is also currently working with Royal Colleges, professional bodies, cancer networks and trusts through the National Radiotherapy Advisory Group, who are looking into radiotherapy provision and will be reporting in the summer on recommendations for long-term solutions for the future.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the likely impact on the future incidence of (a) strokes and (b) heart disease in the UK of the revised salt reduction targets. 
High salt intakes are associated with high blood pressure, which is one of a number of risk factors that contribute to the incidence of cardiovascular disease. There are also other risk factors which contribute to high blood pressure such as being overweight, physical inactivity, and excess alcohol consumption. It is difficult to accurately separate out the impact of salt reduction, from other factors, on the incidence of strokes and heart disease and my Department has not made an evaluation of this type.
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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)what estimate her Department has made of the achievability of lowering the average daily salt intake of children to a maximum of 3g for 4 to 6-year-olds and 5gfor 7 to 10-year-olds; 
(2) what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the revised salt reduction targets for various foods on the aim to reduce average salt intake in adults to a maximum of 6g per day. 
Caroline Flint: Achievement of the Government's targets for reducing salt intakes of adults and children will be dependent upon a range of factors. In addition to the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) voluntary salt reduction targets, changes in consumption patterns and reductions in the amount of salt added to foods by consumers will have an impact. It is not possible to predict accurately exactly when the targets for dietary intakes will be met for adults and children.
The FSA's salt reduction targets, however, cover those foods that contribute most of the salt in the diet of both adults and children, and have been set at levels that are both challenging and will have a real impact on consumers' intakes. The FSA aims to monitor reductions in consumers' salt intakes using urinary monitoring and will review the salt reduction targets in 2008 to ensure continued progress towards the dietary intake targets.
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