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The NHS prostate cancer programme confirmed the NHS Plan commitment to increase the Departments funding for directly commissioned prostate cancer research to £4.2 million by 2003-04. The Departments expenditure on directly commissioned prostate cancer research was £4.2 million in that year and in 2004-05. A similar level of funding will be maintained for future years, subject to the quality of research proposals received.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the difference between (a) the number of instances of prostate cancer and (b) prostate cancer mortalityrates in the North of England and those in the South;what steps the Government are taking to reducesuch differences; and if she will make a statement. 
|Government office region||Number||Crude rate||Age standardised rate|
|Government office region||Number||Crude rate||Age standardised rate|
1. Per 100,000 population.
2. The age standardised rate (ASR) is the rate per 100,000 population standardised to the European standard population.
3. Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code C61 (prostate cancer).
4. Based on the Government office region (GOR) boundaries as of 2005.
Office for National Statistics.
There is variability in incidence and deaths from prostate cancer around the country with a slightly higher than average incidence across London and the South of England. A similar pattern exists for mortality, although there was less variation than for incidence. The mortality rate has started to decline in recent years.
Geographical variations in incidence may, to some extent, be explained by regional differences in the availability and uptake of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. The introduction of the PSA test in the early 1990s led to a big increase in the diagnosis of prostate cancer, although this was on top of an existing underlying trend of more cases. Figures on PSA testing are not collected centrally.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures will be adopted (a) to determine which patients are treated by (i) the contractor and (ii) the NHS acute trust and (b) to offer choice to patients about where they will be treated following the award of the contract for the capture, assess, treat and support scheme in Lancashire. 
Andy Burnham: The clinical assessment and treatment service (CATS) is a primary care based referral and assessment service and will be available for patients who do not need the specialist skills of secondary care or an elective procedure as part of an integrated modern clinical pathway.
Patients will be afforded a number of choices as they move along their pathway. Patients can select from different CATS locations when referred by their general practitioners and patients will also be offered a choice of provider after they have been assessed through CATS.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to improve computer systems operating choose and book; and what plans she has to review the effectiveness of choose and book. 
Caroline Flint: Many different types of general practice and hospital computer systems are in use across the national health service. NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for maintaining and upgrading local systems, for the technical integration of these systems with choose and book. NHS Connecting for Health supports technical upgrading by providing funding to cover the reasonable costs of making existing systems choose and book-compliant. NHS Connecting for Health is also currently piloting a performance-monitoring tool designed to help local project and information technology teams diagnose and locate any problems in the overall choose and book process.
Nationally, the system has performed well since its launch in 2004. One PCT already uses choose and book for over 90 per cent. of its referrals, which demonstrates that the system is working and fit for purpose. Local benchmarking suggests that when local configuration is correct choose and book is easy and convenient to use, and over the last 12 months the national system has been available for use over 99 per cent. of the time.
Choose and book has now achieved over 15,000 bookings in a single day and is being used for over25 per cent. of NHS referral activity from general practitioners (GPs) surgeries to first outpatient appointment. Over 1.7 million bookings have been made to date, and over 80 per cent. of all GP practices have used choose and book to refer their patients to hospital.
We know that when patients have the opportunity to book their appointments electronically they are more likely to attend their hospital appointment. This helps avoid wasting valuable appointments and contributes to hospitals running more efficiently. Missed appointments are a constant drain on NHS resources, estimated to cost up to £300 million a year. For example, one trust has seen non-attendance and rescheduling rates fall from 9 per cent. to 5 per cent., and from 14 per cent. to4 per cent. respectively, where choose and book is in use.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the conclusion was of the report which her Department commissioned to look at international experiences of implementing community treatment orders; 
(2) which countries were investigated in the course of the preparation of the report which her Department commissioned to look at international experiences of implementing community treatment orders; and how those countries were chosen; 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The research, which looks at international experiences of implementing Community Treatment Orders, has not been completed yet. It would therefore be inappropriate to discuss the report at this stage.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what new instructions have been issued to those responsible for procuring (a) software and (b) hardware under the Connecting for Health programme in the last three months. 
As at 30 September 2006, 135 dentists in East and Western Wakefield primary care trusts PCTs), 1923 dentists in NHS Yorkshire and the Humber and 20,285 dentists in England held open national health services (NHS) contracts. A dentist can provide as much NHS treatment as he or she chooses and has agreed with the primary care trusts (PCTs). Information is not held centrally at town, county or constituency level and could be provided only in these formats at disproportionate cost.
1. The data in this report are based on NHS dentists on PCT lists. These details were passed on to the Business Services Authority (BSA) who paid dentists based on activity undertaken. A dentist can provide as little or as much NHS treatment as he or she chooses or has agreed with the PCT. In some cases, an NHS dentist may appear on a PCT list but not perform any NHS work in that period. Most NHS dentists do some private work. The data do not take into account the proportion of NHS work undertaken by dentists.
2. Figures for the numbers of dentists at specified dates may vary depending on the date the figures are compiled. This is because the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) may be notified of joiners or leavers to or from the GDS or PDS up to several months, or more, after the move has taken place.
3. SHA and PCT data include all dentists practising in that area. Some dentists may have an open GDS or PDS contract in more than one PCT or SHA and therefore they have been counted more than once. The total number of dentists given for England does not include duplication.
The Information Centre for health and social care NHS Business Services Authority (BSA)
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which primary care trusts provide school children with routine dental screening in school; and what age groups receive such screening; 
(2) in how many of the areas in which primary care trusts provide children with routine dental screening in schools screening is given (a) with and (b) without the consent of a parent or guardian. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Dentists in primary care trusts' salaried dental services undertake statutory dental screening inspections of schoolchildren at around ages six and nine to identify those in need of a further examination and treatment.
Originally, it was the practice for the primary care trust (PCT) dental services to advise parents that a school dental inspection was going to take place and that parents were to advise the school if they had any objection to their child being inspected. We reviewed this policy earlier this year and issued new guidance
which indicated that it was necessary to obtain positive consent for these inspections from either the child (if he/she was judged to be competent to give consent) or from the parents/or relevant person with parental responsibility.
In November 2006 the United Kingdom (UK) National Screening Committee (NSC) recommended to the UK chief dental officers that there is no evidence to support the continued population screening for dental disease among children aged six to nine years.
The NSC recommended that higher value from the use of these resources would be achieved if they were used in addressing oral health inequalities more effectively. We will shortly be issuing guidance to primarycare trusts on the implementation of the NSCs recommendations.
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