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3 May 2006 : Column 1692W—continued

Colorectal Cancer

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has approved cetuximab as a prescribed drug for colorectal cancer. [67683]

Jane Kennedy: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) plans to publish its technology appraisal on bevacizumab and cetuximab
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for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer in November 2006. Further information on this appraisal can be found on NICE's website at

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many primary care trusts have prescribed cetuximab for colorectal cancer. [67684]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Data are not collected on the number of primary care trusts prescribing particular drugs.


Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 10 March. [67129]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 2 May 2006]: A reply to this letter was sent on 2 May 2006.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to reply to letters from the hon. Member for North Shropshire of (a) 25 March, (b) 5 April and (c) 19 April. [67970]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Responses to these letters were sent on 2 May 2006.

Delayed Discharges

Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many delayed discharges there were in acute hospitals serving the Kingston-upon-Hull area in the last 12 months; and how many acute hospital bed nights these represented. [65436]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is shown in the table.
Acute delayed transfers of care, acute hospitals serving the Kingston-upon-Hull area

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS
Delayed transfers
of care
Number of
days delayed
April 200512666
May 200510684
June 200520999
July 200527832
August 200518668
September 2005251,104
October 200521661
November 200518921
December 200513906
January 200617972
February 200621804
March 200614938

1.Data in the table is taken from local monitoring of delayed discharges included in the situation reports (SITREPs) collection. The delayed transfers of care figures are based on a snapshot taken on the last typical Thursday in the month. This differs to the day used in the separate, quarterly, LDPR commissioner collections on which the figures published in the Statistical Supplement to the Chief Executive's Report to the NHS, December 2005 are based. The number of days delayed sums all delays in the month.
2.Due to the way the data is collected, the number of days delayed data for June 2005, September 2005, December 2005 and March 2006 are based on five weeks' data—all other months are based on four weeks' data.
Department of Health, SITREPS

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Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists have signed the new contract in dispute in (a) Greater London and (b) England. [66893]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of dentists who have signed the new contract and the number who have signed in dispute is not available centrally.

We do however have some provisional information that covers contracts. A contract may well be for more than one dentist so cannot be broken down further to individual dentist level. These management estimates show that 488 contracts were signed in dispute in the five London strategic health authorities and 2884 in England.

Primary care trusts are working with dentists to resolve as many disputes as possible locally.

Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the availability of NHS dental services in Gosport constituency; how many dentists are giving appointments for NHS treatment; what the average time patients waited for treatment was in the latest period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [67151]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has made no assessment of the availability of national health service dental services in Gosport constituency.

There were 35 NHS dentists with a general dental services or personal dental services contract within Gosport parliamentary constituency area as at 31 December 2005.

Information on average waiting times for treatment is not held centrally.

Departmental Advertising Costs

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much (a) her Department and (b) its agencies spent on advertising for job vacancies in each of the last five years. [65966]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 25 April 2006]: This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to ensure that diabetes patients are provided with a fully informed choice of all available insulins and informed of their risks and benefits. [67671]

Jane Kennedy: The choice of insulin prescribed to a patient is a clinical decision made as a result of a joint decision-making process between the patient and their clinician taking into account all available evidence and the individual's specific clinical needs. From January 2006, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has required all primary care trusts to implement NICE guidance on patient education by
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providing all people with diabetes with high quality, structured education which should include information on insulin use.

Drinking Water

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the consultation by the Food Standards Agency on natural mineral water, spring water and bottled drinking water will be completed; [64771]

(2) what specification applies to UK natural mineral waters that wish to carry the claim that they are suitable for infant feeding. [64772]

Caroline Flint: There is not yet a specification for United Kingdom natural mineral waters that would allow the claim that they are suitable for infant feeding. The Food Standards Agency has completed a consultation on draft criteria that would enable natural mineral water to carry such a claim. These criteria were based on advice from the committee on medical aspects of food and nutrition. The comments received during the consultation are being taken into account in the preparation of the final version of regulations.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has (a) assessed and (b) commissioned on the possible relationship between children drinking tap water with added fluoride and the risk of developing bone cancer as teenagers. [65196]

Caroline Flint: A number of studies regarding water fluoridation and bone cancer have been published. The weight of the scientific evidence, as assessed by independent committees of experts, comprehensive systematic reviews, and review of the findings of individual studies, does not currently support any association between water fluoridated at levels optimal for oral health and the risk for cancer, including bone cancer, in children.

We are aware that an observed association between exposure to fluoride in drinking water and the incidence (new cases) of osteosarcoma in young males has recently been reported in a paper in the United States (Age-specific fluoride exposure in drinking water and Osteosarcom (United States) Bassin et al., Cancer causes control (2006) 17: 421–428). No apparent association was observed in females. The author has described this research as an exploratory analysis and has acknowledged that further research is required to confirm or refute the observed association.

In 2000, the Government commissioned a systematic review of public water fluoridation from the University of York. In this study, no clear association between osteosarcoma and fluoridation was found. In 2002, the Medical Research Council (MRC), commissioned by the Government to consider further research requirements on water fluoridation, agreed with the York findings that overall, the evidence does not suggest that artificially fluoridated water increases the risk of cancer. The Department will keep any further publications from the recent United States study under review and is committed to a continuing programme of research in line with the MRCs recommendations.
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