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17 May 2007 : Column 911W—continued


Cancer: Drugs

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate she has made of the number of people suffering from cancer who have been denied drugs on account of their cost; and if she will make a statement. [137411]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 15 May 2007]: The Department has not made an estimate of the type requested.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, an independent body, was set up to make decisions on the clinical and cost effectiveness of technologies based on the latest evidence. It determines whether a drug is sufficiently effective to justify the cost in the context of a finite health budget. A report published by the National Cancer Director last year, “Uptake of NICE approved cancer drugs”, confirmed that the uptake of new cancer drugs by the national
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health service increases and variation in use around the country reduces following a positive NICE appraisal.

The Department has reiterated in recent good practice guidance that the NHS should not withhold funding for treatments just because NICE guidance is not available. In this instance, primary care trusts should make their decisions based on the available evidence.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the cost of drugs prescribed to treat cancer was in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [137412]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 15 May 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 1 May 2007, Official Report, column 1594W.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of regional variations in England in the treatment of cancer, with particular reference to the prescribing of drugs; and if she will make a statement. [137413]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 15 May 2007]: In June 2004, Professor Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director published ‘Variations in usage of cancer drugs approved by NICE’. This report showed that a positive appraisal of a cancer drug by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was usually followed by increased overall usage of that drug but that there was variation in usage of NICE approved drugs between cancer networks.

In July 2006, Professor Richards published a follow-up report, ‘Usage of cancer drugs approved by NICE’, to confirm if the variations identified had been reduced. This report showed improvements with a continued increase in uptake of cancer drugs following a positive NICE appraisal (a 47 per cent. increase in cancer drug use since the last review) and a reduction in variation between cancer networks in usage of all NICE approved cancer drugs.

Both these reports are available in the Library.

Clacton Hospital

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department has been informed of plans to shut the Peter Bruff Ward in Clacton hospital. [136604]

Andy Burnham: Any decision regarding the closure of the Peter Bruff Ward at Clacton hospital is a matter for the local national health service, which has the responsibility for the configuration and delivery of local services, working in partnership with the communities it serves.

Colorectal Cancer: Drugs

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will take steps to make Cetuximab available to patients on the NHS for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer; [137638]

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(2) if she will direct Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust to make Cetuximab available to Mr. T. Booth of Chorley constituency. [137639]

Ms Rosie Winterton: On 24 January 2007, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidance to the national health service on the use of Cetuximab for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.

NICE'S guidance did not recommend Cetuximab as a treatment option for metastatic colorectal cancer. However, the guidance states that patients who were receiving Cetuximab should have the option to continue to do so until they and their consultants decide that it is the right time to stop treatment.

It will be for individual primary care trusts to decide whether to fund Cetuximab for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer in the light of NICE'S recommendations. It would be inappropriate for ministers to intervene.

Departmental Artwork

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on artwork by her Department in each year since 1997-98 [118163]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has not purchased any artwork in the period since 1997-98.

Departmental Restructuring

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to her Department was of commissioning an external consultant to undertake an equality impact assessment on departmental restructuring; and what conclusions were reached. [115726]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 placed a duty on all public authorities to address issues of racial inequality. The Department is a public authority under the meaning of this Act and is required by law to undertake race equality impact assessments. One such assessment was carried out by an external contractor to ensure independence and impartiality in 2004-05 at a cost of £10,125 to the Department following its major change programme of 2003-04. This assessed the impact of a significant restructuring programme across the whole Department. The conclusions are summarised in an executive summary, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. The Department continues to take action to ensure an ongoing commitment to equality is embedded within the organisation.

Departments: Press

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many press briefings have been held by her Department since May 2005; what the subject of each press briefing was; and whether representatives of (a) the Daily Mail, (b) the Daily Express and (c) The Daily Telegraph were invited in each case. [123124]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: There have been 67 press briefings on a range of subjects since May 2005 and these are listed as follows. In each case, an operational note was
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sent to news organisations inviting them to the briefing. This includes representatives of The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Express.

17 May 2007 : Column 915W

May 2005

Heart operations

Launch of Care Record Guarantee

June 2005

Briefing by Committee of Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment

Press briefing on the launch of smoking consultation

Latest MRSA rates published

New NHS anti smoking ad campaign launched

New era for NHS ambulance services

July 2005

New statutory hygiene code and Legislative proposals for Action Health on Health Care Associated Infections In England

New statutory hygiene code and inspection regime for NHS

Chief Medical Officer publishes annual report

vCJD and blood donation

August 2005

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act

October 2005

New pay agreement for cleaners, caterers, and porters

NHS Redress Bill

Health Work and Wellbeing Strategy

Revised contingency plans for pandemic flu

Pandemic preparedness

Your Health, Your Care, Your Say

Health Bill

November 2005

Faster drugs guidance for the NHS

Proposals for a new role—Medical Care Practitioners (MCPs)

December 2005

Publication of Chief Executives Report to the NHS

Choice in the NHS

January 2006

Community health and care services white paper

February 2006

MRSA statistics

Childhood immunisation programme

Good Corporate Citizenship Self-assessment Model

March 2006

Mental health legislation

Pay Awards for NHS Staff

April 2006

New dental contract

Older people’s National Service Framework

Mental Health Nursing

Small Change Big Difference

May 2006

Reconfiguration of Primary Care Trusts and Ambulance Trusts

June 2006

Junior doctor training

National Programme for IT in the NHS

Investment in the new generation of community hospitals

Seasonal flu vaccine

July 2006

Cash boost for community hospitals

Tackling hidden waiting lists

Review of doctors’ regulation

Payment by Results

Chief Medical Officer Publishes Fifth Annual Report

August 2006

Reform plans for pathology services

September 2006

New work programme to reduce the number of ineffective treatments in the NHS

Seasonal flu vaccine

October 2006

Health Challenge England

Know Your Limits alcohol harm reduction campaign

NHS efficiency

November 2006

Sexual health campaign

Mental health bill

Future regulation of health and adult social care

New Practice Based Commissioning Guidance

GP patient survey

December 2006

NHS chief executive to set out blueprint for 2007-08

Revised law on assisted reproduction

Electronic care record

HOOK campaign

18 week target

January 2007

Seasonal flu vaccination

February 2007

GP services

Children’s and maternity services

Professional regulation white paper and response to 5th Shipman inquiry

White paper on regulation of health professionals—pharmacy aspects

New second hand smoke ad campaign

March 2007

NHS pay awards

17 May 2007 : Column 916W

Departments: Training

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she attended the financial and risk management seminars offered to Ministers by the National School of Government for 2006. [133653]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Secretary of State did not attend the 2006 financial and risk management seminars. Two Ministers of State attended to represent the Department.

Food Standards Agency: Prosecutions

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the companies which have been prosecuted by the Food Standards Agency since 2001 in respect of which no further legal proceedings are active; what the reasons were for prosecution in each case; and what penalty was imposed. [136879]

Caroline Flint: [holding answer 14 May 2007]: The following is a list of the companies that have been successfully prosecuted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) since the end of 2001 in respect of which no further legal proceedings are active, the legislation under which the companies were prosecuted and the penalties which were imposed.

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