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Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy

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. [100654]

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 is spending £1.7 million in 2006-07 on the “Know your Limits” campaign, which seeks to prevent binge drinking. The Home Office is contributing additional funding.

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.

We estimate that £217 million was spent on alcohol treatment by PCTs and local authorities in 2003-04.

We have previously announced that £15 million has been included in PCTs’ general allocations from 2007-08 to help improve local arrangements for commissioning and delivering alcohol interventions.

Spending on prevention of alcohol-related disorder is a matter for the Home Office. Funding for school and college-based education is a matter for the Department for Education and Skills.

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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on advertising the risks associated with alcohol addiction in each year since 1997. [110319]

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.

We have financial information on safe alcohol consumption expenditure only for the last four years, as figures pre-2002-03 were held on an old financial system which is no longer accessible.

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; [109066]

(2) when the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence is expected to reach its decision on whether Alimta should be approved for use in the NHS. [109067]

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.

Ambulance Services

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) average and (b) target response time is for ambulance attendance at the scene of an incident following a 999 call. [110256]

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:

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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


Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will provide free prescriptions to chronic asthmatics. [109973]

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:

These options will be considered on the basis that any changes to prescription charge exemptions, if implemented, are cost-neutral for the national health service.

Blue Badges

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts pay general practitioners for completing blue badge application forms. [105263]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not held centrally.

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.

Cancer Treatment

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. [106343]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a series of guidance for the national health service,
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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.

The IOG series sets out that clinical nurse specialists should be core members of the expert teams that co-ordinate care for cancer patients.

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.

Carbon Credits

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on carbon credits by the NHS in the last year. [109096]

Andy Burnham: The information requested is not colleted centrally.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

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. [109879]

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:

A report published in 2005 of a study by Staffordshire Ambulance Trust on the use of an impedance threshold device(2) can be found on PubMed at:


Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency expects to publish its updated assessment on carisoprodol; [106272]

(2) when the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency expects to update the Patient Information Leaflet for carisoprodol; [106273]

(3) when her Department was first notified of possible side effects of carisoprodol linked to metabolism; [106274]

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(4) what guidelines she issues on the length of time the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency should take to re-evaluate a drug where concerns have been raised about it; [106275]

(5) how many patients have reported side effects from using carisoprodol not listed on the patient information leaflet; [106276]

(6) what research (a) her Department and (b) the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has commissioned on the side effects of carisoprodol. [106277]

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 individual’s 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.

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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.

Cervical Cancer

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. [103203]

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.

Child Health Interim Application

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. [102662]

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.

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Childhood Obesity

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will undertake research into the effect of the consumption of fruit juices on excess weight and obesity among schoolchildren. [110099]

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.

The Food Standards Agency is developing a strategy to help consumers achieve energy balance.

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