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Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of women non-urgently referred by their GP with a suspected breast problem in the last period for which figures are available were subsequently diagnosed with cancer. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 5 March 2007]: Statistics on the number of women referred by their general practitioner (GP) with suspected breast problems are not collected centrally. The statistics held by the Department only identify those women who are urgently referred by a GP for suspected breast cancer. For the most recently available period (October to December 2006) 49.3 per cent. of all patients treated for breast cancer had been referred urgently for suspected cancer by their GP.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to ensure that women whose treatment for breast cancer is delayed at Maidstone oncology department do not develop other cancers during the wait. 
In August 2002, National Institute for Clinical Excellence published an update of Improving Outcomes in Breast Cancer. One of the key recommendations sets out that breast cancer patients should not have to wait more than four weeks for any form of treatment or supportive intervention. The Improving Outcomes Guidance also recommends that radiotherapy centres should have sufficient staff and capacity to guarantee access to radiotherapy within four weeks of identification of need.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of patients urgently referred by their GP with suspected cancer in the last period for which figures were available were subsequently diagnosed with cancer. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 5 March 2007]: During the most recently available period (October to December 2006) 162,855 people were referred urgently for suspected cancer by their general practitioner. 20,366 patients began treatment for a diagnosed cancer following an urgent referral for suspected cancer during the same period. However these two figures do not refer to the same group of patients because a proportion of the patients beginning their treatment within the period will have been referred prior to October 2006.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of patients diagnosed with cancer in the last period for which figures are available were (a) urgently referred and (b) routinely referred by their GP; and what proportion were identified through an NHS cancer screening programme. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 5 March 2007]: Data are not held centrally for those patients who were not urgently referred by their general practitioner (GP) for suspected cancer. For the most recently available period (October to December 2006) published data show that of all patients treated 39.7 per cent. were referred urgently for suspected cancer by their GP, and 60.3 per cent. were referred from another source, or routinely referred (this will include referrals from NHS screening services).
We do hold information specifically relating to screening services. For breast screening, during the year 2004-05 (the most recently available) statistics show that 71,363 women were referred for an assessment by a local breast screening service. Of these patients 71,363 were subsequently diagnosed with cancer.
For cervical screening, during the year 2005-06 (the most recently available) information held by the Department indicates that 129,207 women were referred for a colposcopy examination by a local cervical screening service. Of these women 857 were subsequently diagnosed with a severe or invasive carcinoma.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress she is making towards meeting the commitment made in paragraph 5.55 of her Departments Primary Care White Paper Our health, our care, our say published 30 January 2006, Cm 6737, for short-term, home-based respite support to be established for carers in crisis and emergency situations in each council area in England. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department unveiled a multi-million pound package of support for carers on 21 March 2007. This included £25 million to be divided between councils and spent on providing short-term home based breaks for carers in crisis or emergency situations.
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Women invited to participate in the national health service cervical screening programme need to understand the potential benefits and harms in doing so and to be able to make an informed choice
about whether or not they wish to proceed. Information provided to women must be honest, comprehensive and understandable. That is why the NHS Cancer Plan stated that all eligible women will receive a national information leaflet on cervical screening, which is now sent out with each invitation for screening and can be viewed at www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk
To raise awareness about the availability of cervical screening, NHS cancer screening programmes have issued a regional communications pack to all local cervical screening services. The packs include advice on raising the awareness of screening, including posters and supplement local activity to promote the availability of cervical screening. We encourage all women to make an informed choice on whether to accept their invitations to be screened.
We are aware of the concerns about the fall in the number of young women taking up their invitation to be screened. NHS cancer screening programmes are currently undertaking a piece of work exploring the reasons why these women do not attend. Preliminary results indicate that some women think screening will hurt or that the experience will be embarrassing. Another key factor may be that the programme is a victim of its own success, cervical cancer is now a relatively rare disease in this country thanks to the screening programme, and the public perception of risk may have diminished.
These findings, and any others that come out of this piece of work, will be fed into the next Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening (ACCS) meeting in the spring and the ACCS will advise on future action.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the bowel cancer screening programme; in what areas screening is being carried out; when she expects preliminary results to be available from the programme; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) how many (a) men and (b) women aged 60 to 69 years have been screened for bowel cancer (i) at home and (ii) in the NHS since April 2006, broken down by Government region; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Roll out of the national health service Bowel Cancer Screening Programme began in April 2006, as stated in the Health White Paper Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services. The first invitations were sent out in July 2006. The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme is one of the first national bowel screening programmes in the world, and is the first cancer screening programme in England to invite men as well as women.
Five hubs across England will invite men and women to participate in the screening programme, send out the faecal occult blood (FOB) testing kits, analyse the returned kits and send results out. Ninety to 100 local screening centres will provide endoscopy services for the 2 per cent. of men and women who have a positive FOB test result.
The five programme hubs have been confirmed as Rugby (West Midlands and the North West), Guildford (Southern), St. Marks (London), Gateshead (North
East) and Nottingham (Eastern). All five hubs will be operational by the end of March 2007.
In addition, the first eight local screening centres have now begun operations. These are: Wolverhampton, Norwich, South Devon, Liverpool, St. Marks London, St. Georges London, Gloucestershire and Bolton. The other six sites due to become local screening centres in wave 1 of the programme (2006-07) will be confirmed as soon as possible, when they have satisfied quality and capacity criteria.
Strategic health authorities (SHAs) were invited to bid for their local endoscopy units to become local screening centres as part of wave 2 of the programme in 2007-08 on 25 January 2007. It is up to SHAs to decide where local screening centres should be located for the benefit of their own populations.
The table shows the activity of the programme from July 2006 to 9 February 2007, broken down by gender and SHA. The table shows the number of testing kits sent out, the number of people who have completed the kits in their own homes and returned them to the laboratory, and the number of positive results. People with a positive result have received an appointment to discuss colonoscopy with a screening nurse at a local screening centre in a hospital-based setting, and have undergone their colonoscopies if appropriate. Further information, such as the number of cancers detected, will be made available as the programme progresses.
|Strategic health authority||Invitations sent||Returned kits||Positive results|
As testing kits are being sent out continuously, and there is a time period between people receiving and completing the kits, the figures above do not show the true level of uptake. We are confident that the 60 per cent. uptake rate demonstrated in the research and the pilot site will be achieved by the programme.
The bowel cancer screening programme is an ambitious project. When fully implemented by December 2009, 2 million men and women will be screened and around 3,000 bowel cancers detected every year. We are committed to implementing this important programme.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of
waiting times in the County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospital Trust area. 
|Stage of treatment||Total waiting||Median(weeks)||Number waiting over 13 weeks||Number waiting over 26 weeks||Number waiting over 52 weeks|
Department of Health, KH07, QM08 and DM01
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists there are in (a) England and (b) Somerset; how many accept new (i) NHS and (ii) private patients; and if she will make a statement. 
Information on the dental workforce under the new dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006, is published at every quarter by The Information Centre for health and social care. The latest information is as at 30 September 2006 and is provided in the following table, with the primary care trust (PCT) boundaries as at 30 September 2006.
The Information Centre for health and social care will publish information as at 30 June, 30 September and 31 December 2006 by the new PCT boundaries (PCT boundaries as at 1 October 2006) on 23 March 2007.
|Numbers of dentists (performers) on open NHS contracts in England and within the specified PCTs as at 30 September 2006|
1. A performer is defined as a dentist who has been set up on the BSAs payments online (POL) system by the PCT to work under an open contract during the relevant period.
2. Data provided are a count of the individuals listed as performers on open contracts within a PCT, including orthodontists.
3. In some cases an NHS dentist may be listed to carry out NHS work but may not do so for a given period.
4. Dentists will be counted more than once if they have contracts in more than one PCT. The England total excludes duplication.
5. The PCTs listed are those that now form Somerset PCT as a result of the 1 October 2006 PCT boundary changes.
The Information Centre for health and social care NHS Business Services Authority (BSA)
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