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Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what moneys were attached to the alcohol harm reduction strategy (a) at its inception and (b) for the 2006-07 financial year; and what moneys have been announced for the future strategy. 
Caroline Flint: The health commitments in the alcohol harm reduction strategy for England were reinforced by the Choosing Health White Paper. As with other health commitments, primary care trusts (PCTs), working in partnership with other local agencies, are responsible for assessing local need and for funding service provision. The Department has supported primary care trusts through guidance on local programmes of improvement, published in November 2005.
The Department plans to spend £1.5 million in 2006-07 and £1.7 million from 2007-08 on trailblazer projects to develop interventions and brief advice for hazardous and harmful drinkers in primary care, accident and emergency, and criminal justice settings.
Caroline Flint: There has been no major campaign expenditure on safe alcohol consumption in the financial years 1997 to 2005, so costs given relate to literature and website activity only. However, the Department and Home Office developed a joint alcohol communications campaign in October 2006. The Department is contributing £2 million to the cost of this campaign.
|Alcohol campaign (£ million)|
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will take steps to ensure that the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence's decision about Alimta is communicated to mesothelioma sufferers as soon as it is known; 
Andy Burnham: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced on 19 December 2006 that the appeals lodged against NICE's appraisal of pemetrexed disodium (Alimta) for the treatment of mesothelioma had been upheld. The appraisal will be returned to NICE's Appraisal Committee for further work. Final guidance is now expected later in 2007 and NICE will ensure that this is widely publicised.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not collect information on the average response times to emergency calls by national health service ambulance trusts. The Department only centrally collects data, from NHS ambulance trusts, which allows response time standards to be monitored. The response time standards are as follows:
Category A / presenting conditions which may be immediately life threatening and which should be responded to within 8 minutes irrespective of location in 75 per cent. of cases. A fully equipped ambulance should attend incidents classified as category A within 19 minutes of a request being made for transport, 95 per cent. of the time;
Category B / presenting conditions which though serious are not immediately life threatening and should be responded to within 19 minutes in 95 per cent. of cases;
Category C / presenting conditions which are not immediately serious or life threateningsince 1 October 2004 local NHS organisations have had responsibility for managing and monitoring the ways in which local services respond to these calls,
GP Urgent Calls / as specified by a GPto receive a response at scene within 15 minutes of the time stipulated by the GP, 95 per cent. of the time.
The data that the Department collects on ambulance response times are published on an annual basis in the statistical bulletin, Ambulance services, England. The most recent data are available in the Library and at
Andy Burnham: The Government have announced that they will undertake a review of prescription charges and report the outcome of this review by the summer recess 2007. This review will include options to:
revising the list of medical exemptions to prescription charges;
introducing a flat rate prescription charge with no exemptions; and
basing exemption to prescription charges solely on income.
The completion of blue badge reports, and any associated examination, is not part of the work that a primary medical services contractor is required to do as part of their contractual arrangements with the primary care trust.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department has taken to encourage the (a) cancer networks, (b) strategic health authorities and (c) work force development directorate to implement National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on specialist nurses. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a series of guidance for the national health service,
setting out recommendations on how services should be arranged for patients with cancer. This series of guidance is called improving outcomes guidance (IOG) and covers each main tumour type.
It is for cancer networks to work in partnership with strategic health authorities and work force development directorates to assess, plan and review their work force needs and the education and training of all staff, including specialist nurses, linked to local and national priorities for cancer, including implementation of NICE improving outcomes guidance.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research is being undertaken by her Department into the efficacy of the ResQPOD device as an aid to cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and if she will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: None directly, although a study currently being undertaken by the South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust refers to the ResQPOD device(1). Details can be found on the National Research Register at:
(1) Outcome from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a pilot randomised controlled trial comparing survival after standard or inspiratory impedance threshold values augmented cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
(2) Use of an impedance threshold device improves short-term outcomes following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Andy Burnham: Carisoprodol, brand name Carisoma, is a muscle relaxant authorised as an add-on therapy to the symptomatic treatment of acute musculoskeletal disorders associated with muscle spasm. Clinical trials carried out by the marketing authorisation holder for carisoprodol were evaluated at the time of licensing to ensure that it met appropriate standards of safety, quality and efficacy to justify its use as a muscle relaxant. Full guidance on prescribing and the use of carisoprodol, including possible side- effects, is provided in the product information for prescribers, the Summary of Product Characteristics, and the patient information leaflet.
Since the marketing of carisoprodol, although no formal research has been commissioned, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have kept under review its safety in routine clinical practice.
Up to 29 November 2005, a total of 31 reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) have been received in association with carisoprodol. The majority of these (28 out of 31 reports) were received prior to 1982. Of the 31 reports, a total of 20 reports describe suspected side-effects from using carisoprodol that are not listed in the patient information leaflet. Urticaria, three reports, and chills, two reports, are the only unlisted suspected side-effects associated with carisoprodol reported in more than one patient. It is important to note that a report of a suspected ADR does not necessarily mean that the drug caused it.
In June 2005 the MHRA was alerted to concerns about the effect that an individuals genetic makeup may have on how they metabolise carisoprodol and that this may have implications for the likelihood of experiencing potential side-effects associated with its use. Following a review of the available data, the Summary of Product Characteristics and the patient Information leaflet have been updated to reflect these new data and to add a warning that patients who are so called poor metabolisers for a specific enzyme, Cytochrome 2C19, involved in the metabolism of carisoprodol may be at an increased risk of certain side-effects such as drowsiness.
In parallel with this action, the overall balance of risks and benefits of carisoprodol has been raised at European level. The MHRA in conjunction with its European counterparts is currently re-evaluating the risk and benefits of carisoprodol and considering what implications this may have for its clinical use. As soon as the European review is completed the results will be made publicly available.
The use of carisoprodol in the UK is limited and the British National Formulary, a joint publication of the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, advises doctors that carisoprodol may not be considered as a drug of first choice although its use may be justifiable in certain circumstances.
The length of time for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to re-evaluate a drug by completing of a risk: benefit review depends on the public health impact of the safety or efficacy concerns and is commensurate with the need for a thorough evaluation of the available data.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to introduce a vaccination programme against the human papilloma virus subtypes responsible for causing cervical cancer. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation is currently considering the evidence on human papilloma virus vaccines. It will provide advice to Ministers and once received, Ministers will consider the advice.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the status of the Child Health Interim Application; whether it is still being supported by manual systems; and whether it is able to issue COVER reports. 
Caroline Flint: The Child Health Interim Application (CHIA) is currently live in 10 primary care trusts (PCTs) in the London area. Supporting manual systems continue to operate for some aspects of the system's functionality, which remain under development. Software to enable PCTs to generate COVER reports from the live system is expected to be deployed into the live system in April 2007. Meanwhile, COVER reports for each PCT, using live CHIA data, are being produced centrally on a quarterly basis in line with Health Protection Agency submission requirements. However, due to a backlog of data, which have not yet been loaded on to the CHIA system, some PCTs have requested their data are not published until local data quality queries have been addressed.
Successful deployments of child health systems by the national programme for information technology have already taken place in 48 PCTs across the programme's north-east and eastern cluster areas. The system enables production of the required statutory reports, and a robust data migration and checking procedure is in place, ensuring successful migrations of demographic and clinical data to the new system, which provides a fully integrated patient record across primary care. Experience has shown that the key variable around successful implementation and operation is the quality of local record keeping standards and processes.
Caroline Flint: The Department, which is co-ordinating action on obesity, has not commissioned nor has specific plans to commission research on the effects of consumption of different food products on weight gain, excess weight and obesity among schoolchildren.
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