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22 Nov 2006 : Column 138Wcontinued
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans are in place to monitor progress on the Hepatitis C Action Plan for England, published in July 2004; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: Implementation of the Hepatitis C Action Plan for England is being monitored in a variety of ways including:
Epidemiological surveillance by the Health Protection Agency, including of the national outcome indicators in the Hepatitis C Strategy for England, and publication of an annual report on hepatitis C, the first of which was published in December 2005;
Research into hepatitis C awareness of general practitioners and practice nurses and the public;
Monitoring by the National Treatment Agency for substance misuse of hepatitis C testing of injecting drug users, a national audit of needle exchange services and development of a national monitoring system of the movement of injecting equipment through needle exchange services;
Local monitoring and performance management by national health service organisations.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking in order to meet the World Health Organisation's target of vaccinating 75 per cent. of at-risk groups against seasonal influenza. 
Caroline Flint: In 2003, the World Health Assembly urged member states to aim at vaccination coverage of elderly people of at least 50 per cent. by 2006 and 75 per cent. by 2010. This target was achieved in 2005-06 when uptake in those aged 65 and over reached 75.3 per cent.
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether laser treatment is available on the NHS to treat wet macular degeneration; 
(2) whether tests to diagnose macular degeneration are carried out as part of the routine NHS eye test. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: When a doctor or optician tests an individual's sight, they have a duty to perform such examinations as may be necessary to allow them to detect signs of injury, disease or abnormality. The doctor or optician then has to give the patient a written statement to indicate whether or not they are referring the patient to a doctor for further investigation or treatment. These rules apply to sight tests whether provided privately or under general ophthalmic services arrangements within the national health service.
Some people with wet age-related macular degeneration may be suitable for photodynamic therapy. This involves the use of a photosensitive dye which, when activated in the back of the eye by a low energy laser beam, closes abnormal retinal blood vessels.
Photodynamic therapy treatment is available on the NHS for patients with both the wholly classic and predominantly classic forms of age-related macular degeneration.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people in England have wet age-related macular degeneration; 
(2) what NHS funded treatments are available for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of people with age related macular degeneration is not collected centrally. A study sponsored by the Macular Disease Society in 2001 estimated that in the UK there were 182,000 people with age-related macular degeneration with a best eye visual acuity below that judged appropriate for certification as blind or partially sighted.
Photodynamic therapy treatment is available on the national health service for patients with both the wholly classic and predominantly classic forms of age-related macular degeneration. Photodynamic therapy involves the use of a photosensitive dye which, when activated in the back of the eye by a low energy laser beam, closes abnormal retinal blood vessels.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure patients have access to the drugs (a) Macugen and (b) Lucentis for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Lucentis is under assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and is currently not approved for marketing in the European Union. Macugen already has approval for marketing in the European Union.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently carrying out an appraisal of Macugen and Lucentis for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and final guidance is due to be published in August 2007. NICE'S appraisal will take into account the outcome of the EMEA's assessment of Lucentis.
Where guidance from NICE is not yet available, primary care trusts are expected to apply local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies. These arrangements should include an assessment of the available evidence.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health why haemophiliacs with hepatitis C virus contracted through blood transfusions in the last 25 years have been paid less per person in compensation than those with HIV. 
Unlike the Macfarlane and Eileen Trusts, which administer schemes for those infected with HIV, the ex gratia payment scheme for those
infected with hepatitis C as a result of national health service treatment with blood or blood products, known as the Skipton Fund, is not a charitable trust.
The Skipton Fund has been designed to make lump sum, ex gratia payments to those living with the hepatitis C virus. The payments are not compensation.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was invoiced by the NHS to other countries in the European Union for services received by those countries citizens in the UK in the last financial period for which figures are available, broken down by country; and what payments (a) have been received and (b) are still outstanding. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The following table shows, in resource terms, the estimated costs of treatment provided by the national health service to persons insured in other European Economic Area (EEA) member states under the terms of Regulations (EEC) 1408/71 and 574/72, and which the United Kingdom (UK) would reclaim from the states concerned. These are estimated claims in according with existing arrangements under the Regulation 574/72. During 2005-06, the UK settled £56.7 million claims for the treatment provided up to March 2006 by the NHS.
|Estimated claims against other EEA member states: 2005-06|
1. The information is compiled in line with the requirements of Government Accounting 2000 and National Audit Office (NAO) and used for resource accounting and budging purpose during 2005-06.
2. Figures are in thousands and rounded to the nearest thousand.
3. Claims against new member states would be included in future years.
4. We have a waiver arrangement with a number of member states which means they have agreed to bear the costs of each other insured persons.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the likely outturn cost to the public purse of the reconfiguration of primary care in Cambridgeshire in the financial year 2006-07; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: The costs of the changes that were announced on 16 May will depend on a number of factors, including the location and staffing of new organisations. These issues are still under consideration and it is not possible at present to forecast final costs.
Commissioning a patient-led national health service is designed to deliver £250 million recurring savings from administration costs through streamlining for reinvestment in frontline services. The savings are expected to be realised by the end of 2007 and then every year for reinvestment beginning in 2008-09.
Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance is given to health trusts about patients smoking in day care facilities for mental health; and whether the guidance includes circumstances in which patients may be permitted to smoke. 
Caroline Flint: The Health Development Agency (now part of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) published Guidance for Smokefree Hospital Trusts in January 2005. The guidance includes discussion of the issues specific to mental health trusts. It sets out that special arrangements may have to be made to permit a patient to smoke on a trust site. It confirms that where an exception has been made to a trusts smokefree policy,
every effort must be made to minimise staff exposure to smoke. This would normally mean that smoking would only be permitted outdoors where staff and other patients would not be in close proximity to the smoker.
A copy is available in the Library.
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for (a) routine and (b) urgent bone scans is in each NHS Trust. 
Andy Burnham: The waiting times for bone scans are not available split by routine and urgent tests. The latest figures on waits for DEXA scans are published monthly and the table contains the figures for September 2006.
|Waiting times for DEXA scans by NHS trust, September 2006|
|SHA code||Org code||Org name||Total Waiting||Number waiting over 13 weeks||Number waiting over 26 weeks||Median wait (weeks|
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals
North Cumbria Acute NHS Trust Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University
York Health Services NHS Trust Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS
Mansfield District PCT Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital
Good Hope Hospital NHS Trust University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire
Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals NHS
Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS
Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation
Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust
Barts and the London NHS Trust Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS
Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS
Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases
Median waits not calculated where waiting list is less than 10.
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