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23 Mar 2007 : Column 1189W—continued

Blood Products: Inquiry

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what mechanism she will report to the House the findings of the review under way into the documents held by the Department relating to the safety of blood products between 1970 and 1985 when it is completed; and if she will make a statement. [129651]

Caroline Flint: When the report is finalised it will be placed in the Library.

Bowel Cancer Screening

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in England participating in the national bowel cancer screening programme have been invited to attend a follow-up endoscopy at each of the bowel cancer screening centres; and how many have attended at each of the centres. [129626]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Up to 5 February 2007, 594 people had attended a faecal occult blood (FOB) test positive clinic. At the clinic, a screening nurse assesses the person's suitability to undergo colonoscopy. The number of colonoscopies undertaken was 496, giving a colonoscopy uptake rate of 84 per cent. Please note these data are only to 5 February as colonoscopy data take longer to be entered on to the bowel cancer screening computer system.

The table shows the colonoscopies broken down by screening centre:

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Local screening centre Screening nurse clinic attendance Colonoscopies










South Devon



St. Mark’s, London



St. George’s, London






Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding her Department allocated to the national bowel cancer screening programe for 2006-07; and what funding has been agreed for the programme in 2007-08. [129627]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Funding for the national health service bowel cancer screening programme is included in the strategic health authority (SHA) bundle, which incorporates a number of budgets formally managed directly by the Department.

Around £10 million will be spent on wave 1 of the programme in 2006-07. The value of the SHA bundle for 2007-08 is £6,945.78 million, and was announced in the NHS Operating Framework that was published on 11 December to the NHS. Allocations are made direct to SHAs, and they manage the distribution of funds among the different programmes, including the bowel cancer screening programme, taking account of local circumstances.

This is an ambitious programme, and the Government are committed to ensuring that the necessary funding is available to ensure the full implementation of the bowel cancer screening programme.

Cancer: Tamworth

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many Tamworth constituency residents have been treated for cancer in the last 12 months. [128334]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not centrally collect data on the number of people who have received treatment for cancer.


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) minimum and (b) average period was that (i) primagravida and (ii) all other mothers spent in hospital after delivery in each year since 1995. [126142]

Andy Burnham: That information is not available in the form requested and it is not obtainable without incurring disproportionate cost.

Chiropody: Wirral

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on provision of chiropody services in the Wirral. [127938]

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Andy Burnham: Wirral Primary Care Trust funds and manages a community podiatry department which aims to meet the needs of people requiring podiatric intervention. Treatments and services include nail surgery, clinical treatments (routine and high risk care), biomechanical assessments (orthotics/insole provision), diabetic screening and training sessions for patients and outside agencies.

This Department also provides services to multi-disciplinary clinics at Wirral Hospital National Health Service Trust, as well as undertaking joint clinics with the community physiotherapy service.


Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the net primary dental service allocation in North Yorkshire and York primary care trust is ring-fenced. [129369]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Strategic health authorities (SHAs) and primary care trusts (PCTs) are expected, as a minimum, to maintain levels of investment in national health service primary dental care services across their respective areas. If an individual PCT cannot maintain levels of expenditure, for example because of delays in securing replacement services where a dentist retires or leaves, the PCT should plan to restore full levels of service as soon as possible. If necessary, SHAs will be expected to move any unused resources to other PCTs for re-investment in dentistry.

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the (a) net primary dental service allocation and (b) allocation for possible patient charge income was for Hambleton and Richmondshire primary care trust in 2006-07; [129434]

(2) what the (a) net primary dental service allocation and (b) allocation for possible patient charge income was for Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale primary care trust in 2006-07; [129435]

(3) what the (a) net primary dental service allocation and (b) allocation for possible patient charge income was for Selby and York Primary Care Trust in 2006-07. [129436]

Ms Rosie Winterton: A table listing the Primary Dental Service Resource Allocations for 2006-07 for all primary care trusts (PCTs) in England as at 31 July 2006 is available in the Library. This sets out the net allocations awarded to PCTs and the assumed gross budgets based on illustrative assumptions about levels of patient charge income for each PCT. Strategic health authorities agreed with their PCTs locally how these allocations would be redistributed within the new PCT areas that took effect from 1 October 2006.

Departments: Risk Register

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will place in the Library a copy of her Department's risk register. [123387]

Andy Burnham: The Department’s risk register is a live document. It is continuously updated as the basis
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of advice to top management in the Department about current and emerging risks to the Department’s programme and the national health service, and what can be done to control and mitigate these risks. It also informs discussions between the Department and top management in the NHS about addressing key issues in policy, resourcing and service management. Putting the risk register in the public domain would be likely to reduce the detail and utility of its contents. This would inhibit the free and frank exchange of views about significant risks and their management, and inhibit the provision of advice to Ministers. We cannot therefore agree to place a copy of the current version of the register in the Library.


Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2007, Official Report, column 1112W, on depression, who is responsible for (a) responding to and (b) following up recommendations made by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on matters other than guidelines on clinical matters. [126186]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Research recommendations made by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are considered by the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme. The HTA programme ensures that high-quality research information on health technologies is produced in the most effective way for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. The programme is coordinated by the National Coordinating Centre for HTA on behalf of the Department’s Research and Development Directorate.

The HTA programme and NICE are working closely together in order to increase uptake of NICE research recommendations and to increase the number of high- quality research recommendations coming to the programme for the benefit of the NHS and its patients. NICE research recommendations are recognised as important and are given special consideration in the HTA programme prioritisation processes.

Health Services: Irish Community

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what sanctions are applicable to health bodies which fail to take account of the needs of the Irish community under the requirements of race equality schemes. [128208]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 places specific duties on national health service trusts, primary care trusts, special health authorities and strategic health authorities. These include a requirement to publish a race equality scheme and to ensure that the organisation is taking account of the needs of minority ethnic communities, including the Irish community.

The Department has issued guidance setting out these accountabilities for NHS boards and the Healthcare Commission's inspection role includes an explicit focus on equality and diversity in their assessments of NHS organisations.

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Like all public authorities, NHS organisations can be challenged in a High Court for failing to meet their duties under the Act and the Commission for Racial Equality can use its powers of formal investigation to enforce these duties.

The Department wrote to all NHS chief executives in January 2007 to remind them of their responsibilities under this legislation.

Health: Prisoners

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures are in place to (a) collect information on prisoners' health and (b) share such information with relevant primary care trusts on the release of prisoners. [127314]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Medical information in prison is managed in accordance with relevant legislation and the NHS code of practice on confidentiality.

A discrete patient clinical record is opened for every prisoner on first reception into custody and reasonable attempts made to merge this with records from previous periods in custody. Where possible, and with the prisoner's express consent, information from the prisoner's general practitioner (GP) or other relevant service he/she has recently been in contact with is also sought.

Last year, the Prison Service issued a mandatory instruction, “Prison Service Order 3050 Continuity of Healthcare for Prisoners”, to prison governors to improve the continuity of healthcare received by prisoners between key stages of their imprisonment—particularly as they enter prison, transfer between prisons, attend court, and on release. A copy is available in the Library.

Offenders with continuing care needs should have relevant information about them communicated to their GP or other agency with responsibility for their care upon their release. Prisons are required to have written and observed guidelines in place setting out the procedures for reception, transfer and release, including:

In 2002, the Department published “Guidance On The Protection and Use Of Confidential Health Information In Prisons And Inter-Agency Information Sharing”, which provides a framework for developing local agreements and inter-agency information sharing protocols to ensure that boundary-crossing processes work smoothly, are effectively managed and that patient and staff uncertainties about information sharing are reduced.

Hearing Impaired: Health Services

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment has been (a) undertaken and (b) published of the effectiveness of open-ear technology for audiology service as advocated
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in the recent document “Improving Access to Audiology Services in England”; and if she will make a statement; [128201]

(2) if she will estimate the cost to the NHS of collating and publishing on a quarterly basis the waiting times for audiology services for each audiology department from GP referral to actual fitting for (a) first time fittings and (b) reassessments; and if she will make a statement. [128202]

Andy Burnham: Twelve national health service trusts have tested the open ear hearing aid technology. The findings from these sites will be published shortly as part of the good practice evidence and tools referenced in “Improving Access to Audiology Services in England”.

Since January 2006, we have been collecting waiting time data for diagnostic tests/procedures, including audiology. The monthly diagnostic data for audiology consisted of waits for pure tone audiometry until October 2006 (published in December) when this was extended to cover all audiometry assessments.

We plan to consider later this year whether a national collection of referral to treatment waiting times for audiology services is necessary as part of the work underpinning “Improving Access to Audiology Services in England”, published in March 2007, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Hospitals: Waiting Lists

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the causes of the correlation between primary care trusts with low-age needs scores and health economies with greater distance from the six-month inpatient waiting time target reported in her Department's chief economist's report, “Explaining NHS deficits” published on 20 February. [127837]

Andy Burnham: The distance between several secondary sector service targets and the service initial positions in March 2003-04 is moderately correlated to the age/needs index: the PCT health economies with low age/needs had modestly further to travel to achieve the targets. However, numerous parts of the country with low age/needs did not have far to travel in meeting these targets. The correlation is not a perfect one (with correlation co-efficients ranging from -0.28 in the case of distance to the A&E four hour wait and age/needs to -0.13 in the case of distance to the outpatient booking targets and age/needs). The reasons behind the relationship are complex.

Secondary sector under-performance in low age/needs areas is likely to have existed for some time prior to March 2003-04. By raising the quality of care to uniform national standards, the Government have significantly improved the services provided to patients in these areas.

The age and need index, and the interactions between them, are currently being reviewed by independent academic researchers under the auspices of the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation. A new age and need adjustment for weighted capitation may emerge from this research for resource allocation in 2008-09.

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Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 March 2007, Official Report, column 2298W, on influenza: disease control, what observations the World Health Organisation representatives made on the likely availability of influenza vaccines from non-UK sources during a pandemic. [129625]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In the context of exercise Winter Willow, the scenario required that manufacturing delays meant that pandemic specific vaccine would not be available to the United Kingdom during the first wave of the exercise pandemic and therefore use of such vaccine was not considered further in the context of the exercise. The views of the World Health Organization representatives were not sought on this aspect of the scenario during the exercise.

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