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Andy Burnham: The Department does not hold data on the total number of prescriptions issued. The following table provides the total number of Benzodiazepines items dispensed in the community in England in each of the last five available years represented in thousands.
So, to improve access and cut waiting times, the genetics White Paper Our Inheritance, Our Futurerealising the potential of genetics in the NHS, published in June 2003, committed up to £18 million for NHS genetics laboratories in England. This major investment is boosting capacity and supporting modernisation in genetics laboratories, thus helping them meet the rising demand for genetic tests.
within three days where the result is needed urgently, for example, for prenatal diagnosis
within two weeks where the potential genetic mutation is already known, for example, because another family member has already been tested; and
within eight weeks for unknown mutations in a large gene.
We are monitoring molecular genetics laboratories' progress through the commissioners of genetic services. The laboratories serving the population of Surrey
Heath expect to be meeting these standards for new referrals of genetic tests for breast cancer by the end of 2006.
The Government do not prescribe the terms and conditions that insurance companies may set when offering insurance. Nor do they intervene in the decisions of insurance companies when determining whether or not to offer cover. As a rule, insurers use their claims experience and other industry-wide statistics to set the terms on which they will offer insurance cover.
Although the availability for an individual patient will depend on their individual circumstances, travel insurance is generally available for cancer patients, and some brokers and insurers specialise in offering cover for cancer patients or those with a pre-existing condition more widely.
The Government are not, at the current time, undertaking research on the availability of travel insurance to cancer patients. The Government are currently reviewing whether sales of travel insurance sold alongside a holiday should be regulated by the Financial Services Authority. This will include looking at whether travellers are informed during the sales process of what is and what is not covered by their policy and whether they are also informed that they should disclose any pre-existing medical conditions to their insurer.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial support her Department gave to (a) breast cancer, (b) lung cancer, (c) prostate cancer and (d) colorectal cancer charities in each of the last eight years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has given financial support to a number of cancer charities over the last eight years through section 64 of the Public Health Act 1968, which gives Ministers the power to make grants to voluntary organisations.
|Breast cancer||Lung cancer||Prostate cancer||Colorectal cancer|
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding her Department gave to research into the development of screening technology for (a) breast cancer, (b) lung cancer, (c) prostate cancer and (d) colorectal cancer in each of the last eight years. 
Andy Burnham: The main agency through which the Government support biomedical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Innovation.
|Medical Research Council|
|n/a = not available|
|Department of Health|
The Department and the MRC, together with Cancer Research UK, agreed in 2001 to provide £7.4 million over five years for two National Cancer Research Institute prostate cancer collaboratives. The collaboratives are working to find the origins and causes of prostate cancer in order to lead to better treatment and to develop diagnostics to predict different forms of the disease. Following a review of progress by an international expert panel the Department, Cancer Research UK and the MRC have agreed to provide a further three years funding of £3.9 million.
Building on its recent international symposium on Biomarkers, which highlighted a shortage in biomarkers that are qualified for use in clinical studies, the MRC has made £10 million available to support proposals for world-class, innovative projects to evaluate potential biomarkers in diagnosis of disease (including cancer), disease heterogeneity and underlying mechanisms or response to interventions.
Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by national health service organisations. Details of individual projects are available on the national research register at www.dh.gov.uk/research.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the national health service spent on services for (a) breast cancer, (b) lung cancer, (c) prostate cancer, (d) colorectal cancer and (e) all cancers in each of the last eight years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: We do not hold information centrally on levels of funding on cancer services for different cancers. However a total of around £3.4 billion was spent on cancer services in 2003-04 and this increased by 12 per cent. each year to around £3.8 billion in 2004-05, and £4.3 billion in 2005-06.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence issued guidance on Improving Outcomes in Urological Cancers, including prostate cancer, in September 2002. This guidance included recommendations aimed at ensuring that prostate surgery was carried out only by surgeons and teams that had sufficient experience to ensure specialisation in this field. Each strategic health authority was asked to demonstrate that its cancer network(s) had suitable action plans in place for the implementation of this guidance. Progress towards the implementation of these plans is assessed by both the Department and the Healthcare Commission. The Department has also made funds available to the national health service to pilot a national multidisciplinary team training programme in prostate cancer surgical techniques in 2006-07 with the aim of improving outcomes of surgical procedures in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions she has had with (a) charitable organisations and (b) the voluntary sector on the effectiveness of the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what estimate she has made of the number of general practitioners who (a) operate within the guidelines set out by the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme and (b) did not receive the packs distributed as part of that programme. 
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