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15 May 2006 : Column 734W—continued


Dr. Vis: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what training in diversity issues is compulsory for (a) sitting and (b) new magistrates. [68122]

Ms Harman: For (a), sitting magistrates, the Judicial Studies Board has included diversity within the Magistrates' National Training Initiative (MNTI 2) competence framework. This framework contains a number of knowledge and performance elements requiring magistrates to demonstrate an understanding of, among other things, "Diversity and fair treatment issues, including the use of non-discriminatory language" and "The potential impact of your background and personal prejudices on decision making". Sitting magistrates are regularly appraised against these competences.

For (b), new magistrates, they must complete induction training before being allowed to sit. Diversity is a part of this programme. Following induction training, new magistrates undertake mentored sittings to identify any further training needs, using the MNTI 2 competence framework. Any needs so identified are addressed at local level. The new magistrate is first appraised after sitting for 12 to18 months, and thereafter further training follows as for sitting magistrates.

Members of Parliament Judges

Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will list the hon. Members who are serving (a) Crown court recorders and (b) circuit judges. [70088]

Ms Harman: Circuit judges are disqualified from membership of the House. Although the Department does not keep a central list of Members of Parliament who hold current appointments as Recorders, our records show that the following Members of Parliament hold that office:

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Sentencing Policy

Dr. Vis: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps are taken to minimise the discrepancies in sentencing practices between magistrates courts. [68121]

Ms Harman: The Sentencing Guidelines Council promulgates guidelines to enable all criminal courts to approach the sentencing of offenders from a common starting point to promote consistency in sentencing. All courts are required to take the guidelines of the Sentencing Guidelines Council into account when sentencing offenders and have to give reasons for departing from them in any particular case. Discrepancies in sentencing in all criminal courts are therefore minimised through the use of these guidelines. Currently magistrates courts use the Magistrates Courts Sentencing Guidelines issued in 2004 by the Magistrates Association but these are to be replaced by guidelines produced by the Sentencing Guidelines Council. Appealing against sentence to the Crown court is another mechanism for ensuring consistency of sentencing in the magistrates courts. Consistency in sentencing is further promoted through the publication of judgments on appeals to the Court of Appeal from the Crown court.

Staff Development

David Simpson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the total cost was of (a) staff away days and (b) staff team building exercises in her Department in each of the last three years. [69029]

Bridget Prentice: The cost of (a) staff away days and (b) staff team building exercises in the Department in each of the last three years is not separately identifiable within the Department's accounts without incurring disproportionate costs.

The Department is committed to providing access to training for staff and developing them to their full potential.

Tribunals Service

Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the estimated net cost is of establishing the Tribunals Service in each of the five financial years from 2006-07. [65714]

Ms Harman: The latest estimated cost of operating the Tribunal Service for the first five years from 2006-07 is:

£ million











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The first two years reflects a £15 million efficiency baseline saving in each year from the total cost of running the tribunals separately. The cost of the final three years includes the £15 million a year baseline saving but does not take into account any further efficiency to be identified within the Tribunals Service. The final three years include cost increases due to assumptions of pay awards at the current levels of judicial and staff salary costs and inflation but makes no further assumptions as to targets or further savings or efficiencies.

Voter Registration

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much the Government spent in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006 on campaigns to increase voter registration, including grants to local authorities. [70605]

Bridget Prentice: In 2005, the Government spent £2,132 on the launch of the London-based campaign to raise awareness of the need to register. In 2006, the Government spent £192,571 on this "1824 Collective" campaign which promoted awareness of voter registration amongst London's "urban youth" using the creative concept of an urban music collective to appeal to 18-24 year olds.

During 2006 the Government will also provide grants totalling £90,600 to seven English local authorities to explore new methods of encouraging young people to register to vote through working with youth organisations and further and higher education institutions.


Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment has been made of which at-risk groups would benefit from screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm; [67436]

(2) what plans she has to introduce screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. [67437]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The United Kingdom national screening committee (NSC) has advised that screening for men aged 65 for abdominal aortic aneurysms can be recommended in principle subject to the two critical issues of ensuring appropriate configuration and to deliver high quality treatment services and providing information and support to enable men to make an informed choice about whether to be screened.

Ministers have noted the advice of the NSC and further detailed work is in progress.

Adverse Drug Reactions

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the online adverse drug reaction report information analyses for the use of the general public will be updated from the January 2004 materials; and if she will make a statement. [69645]

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Andy Burnham: Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are collected by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the commission on human medicines (CHM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the yellow card scheme. Approximately 19,000 reports of suspected ADRs are reported to the MHRA/CHM through this scheme each year by health professionals and patients.

The MHRA are committed to making drug safety information derived from the yellow card scheme as accessible as possible. To this end, in January 2005 the MHRA published aggregated, anonymised data summarising the suspected ADRs reported for all medicines on its website. At initial publication this information comprised reports received up to January 2004.

In September 2005 the information was updated to June 2005 and this is the information currently available online. A further update of the information to bring it up to March 2006 is in progress and will be in place by the end of May.

The MHRA is currently implementing a major upgrade of the drug safety monitoring database and data reporting systems. This upgrade includes a review of the presentation of aggregated drug safety information with a view to making the information easier to interpret.

Subsequent to this redesign, the MHRA will update the adverse drug reaction data on a three-monthly cycle.


Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the supply of (a) dental anaesthetic and (b) anaesthetics used in hospitals in relation to expected demand in 2006; [68323]

(2) what recent assessment she has made of the supply of anaesthetic to the NHS from Dentsply; what action she is taking to meet shortfalls in supply; and if she will make a statement; [68324]

(3) whether consideration is being given (a) to supplementing 2.2ml cartridges of dental anaesthetic with 1.8ml cartridges and (b) to licensing the latter. [68325]

Andy Burnham: Departmental officials have met with the two companies who manufacture dental cartridges for the United Kingdom market. Deproco has increased its production to meet the predicted shortfall in the market created by the temporary absence of Dentsply, and is making regular weekly supplies. Based on historic demand the Department's assessment is that these should be sufficient for all dental sectors.

Dentsply is seeking approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for a new production site, and in the meantime has obtained MHRA approval to supply a limited amount of 1.8 millilitre (ml) cartridges. The Chief Dental Officer has written to dentists and issued a statement on the Department's website to explain the supply issues and advise dentists not to stockpile.

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Companies may take the commercial decision to enter the dental anaesthetic market with 1.8ml or 2.2ml cartridges. As with other medicines, these products must be licensed by the MHRA.

Bowel Cancer

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many faecal occult blood kits had been (a) ordered and (b) received by 29 March in preparation for the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme; [63429]

(2) how many individuals she expects to receive faecal occult blood kits as part of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme by 31 December. [63428]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The first order of 100,000 testing kits has been made with the supplier. We estimate that between 100,000 and 120,000 men and women will be screened in 2006-07.

Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme will be extended to Durham. [68128]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The bowel cancer screening programme will be rolled out across the whole of England over the next three years.

Five programme hubs across England will invite men and women to participate in the screening programme, send out the faecal occult blood (FOB) testing kits, interpret kits and send results out.

The first of the five programme hubs will be established in Rugby. The national cancer screening team are currently assessing where the other programme hubs will be located and announcements will be made as soon as possible.

Ninety to 100 local screening centres will provide endoscopy services for the 2 per cent. of men and women who have a positive FOB test result.

Strategic health authorities (SHAs) were asked to bid last August for their local endoscopy units to become local screening centres as part of the first wave of the programme in 2006-07. Similar exercises will take place for the second wave in 2007-08 and the third wave in 2008-09. It is up to SHAs to decide where local screening centres should be located for the benefit of their own populations.

We intend that all five programme hubs will be established, and around 14 local screening centres will be operating, out of a total of 90 to 100 for full national coverage, by March 2007.

Breast Screening

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects the mobile breast screening unit to visit Great Dunmow; and what the date was of its last visit. [68412]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not held centrally.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the breast screening programme at St. Margaret's hospital, Epping; how many women are waiting to be examined; and for how long each has been waiting. [68415]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: It is for primary care trusts to commission services to meet the needs of the populations that they serve. However, I understand that the breast screening service in West Essex, based at St. Margaret's hospital, Epping, was suspended between November 2004 and January 2006.

Screening resumed at the end of January 2006 with a limited service initially with a phased implementation plan to expand the service from one mobile unit to two units later this year.

The data as to the number of women waiting to be examined are not held centrally.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the catchment area is for breast screening for Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford. [68416]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Colchester and Chelmsford breast screening services cover Mid Essex Hospital (of which Broomfield hospital is a part), and Essex Rivers catchment areas and therefore offer a screening service to approximately 83,000 women living in Chelmsford, Maldon, Witham, Braintree, Halstead, Colchester and Tendring.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on her Department's Cancer Plan. [68830]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Cancer Plan set out our 10-year strategy for cancer services in England. We are now almost six years into the plan and are focusing on delivering its commitments.

Progress reports on the NHS Cancer Plan were published in 2001, 2003 and 2004, which showed considerable successes and improvements in cancer services in England, while acknowledging that more remains to be done.

Additionally, in March 2005 the National Audit Office published their review of the NHS Cancer Plan. Their review acknowledged the significant improvements in the management and provision of cancer services since the publication of the NHS Cancer Plan and the good progress already made against the major targets.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the five most common causes of lung cancer are in England. [68831]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The greatest risk factor for causing lung cancer is smoking tobacco, which causes 90 per cent. of cases of lung cancer in men and 80 per cent. of cases of lung cancer in women.

Other risk factors include exposure to industrial carcinogens, such as asbestos, exposure to radon gas and its decay products, and air pollution.

Scarring from previous lung disease has been related to increased risk, but would account for a very small proportion of lung cancer cases. Smoking tobacco remains by far the most important risk factor.

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