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9 Jan 2008 : Column 577W—continued

Arthritis: Medical Treatments

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to publish the assessment of the availability of access to (a) anti-TNF medicines and (b) other biologic therapies for patients with rheumatoid arthritis; whether any overall assessment has been made of (i) access to and (ii) efficiency of rheumatoid arthritis medicines and therapies; and if he will make a statement. [175351]

Ann Keen: The Department has made no assessment of the availability of anti-TNF medicines, and other biologic therapies, for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. All primary care trusts in England and Wales are obliged to fund, from general allocations, anti-TNF therapy for those patients with rheumatoid arthritis who meet the clinical guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

We are not aware of any overall assessment of access to, and the efficiency of, medicines and therapies for rheumatoid arthritis.

Assura Group

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that his Department collects and publishes information on (a) activities of the Assura Group throughout the NHS and (b) the expenditure of the Assura Group via polyclinics. [177160]

Mr. Bradshaw: This is not a matter for the Department. It is for primary care trusts to collect information, including details of locally negotiated contracts, on those providers delivering services on its behalf.

Baby Care Units: West Midlands

Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many neo-natal unit nurses there are in hospitals in the West Midlands. [175440]

Dawn Primarolo: Information relating to the numbers of neo-natal unit nurses requested is not held centrally by the Department.

It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities to analyse their local workforce needs and develop plans, in liaison with providers and service users, to deliver high quality, safe services and take action to secure the appropriate staff and skills to deliver these services.

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The 2008-09 operating framework has reinforced neonatal services as a top national health service priority. In 2008-009, PCTs should aim to ensure that sufficient numbers of maternity staff and neonatal teams are in place to meet local needs.

The Department has sponsored research by the NHS National Workforce Projects, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to review the workforce in maternity, paediatric and neonatal services and to promote sustainable service models. This includes looking at the challenge of fully implementing the European Working Time Directive for doctors in training from August 2009. Findings will be published in 2008.

Blood Contamination

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of (a) malaria and (b) other diseases apart from HIV and CJD were caused by blood transfusion in England between (i) 1980 and 1990 and (ii) 2000 and 2005. [174144]

Dawn Primarolo: There have been five cases of malaria transmission in England since the mid-1980s: in 1986 (two cases), 1994, 1997, and 2003. The National Blood Service (NBS) does not hold data on transmission of other infections prior to 1995.

For the years 2000 to 2005, the annual summaries of the NBS/Health Protection Agency Infection Surveillance Scheme record the following infections (excluding malaria) transmitted by blood transfusion for the United Kingdom (excluding Scotland):

Bone Diseases: Medical Treatments

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that the issuing of final guidance by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the two anti-TNF treatments for ankylosing spondylitis is not affected by appeals relating to the anti-TNF treatment rejected by NICE. [175155]

Ann Keen: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has received two appeals against its final appraisal determination on adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis. Final guidance will not be published until the appeals have been heard.

Funding for licensed treatments should not be withheld because guidance from NICE is unavailable. In December 2006, we issued refreshed good practice guidance which asks national health service bodies to
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continue with local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies where guidance from NICE is not available at the time the treatment or technology first becomes available.

Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Finance

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential impact on the Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust of the removal of the specialist top-up funds paid to district general hospitals. [176646]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 7 January 2008]: We have carried out an assessment of the potential financial impact for Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Foundation Trust. Based on the latest data available to the Department, we expect that their income for specialist activity in 2008-09 will be broadly similar to that in 2007-08.


Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many campylobacter infections were recorded in England in each of the last five years. [162911]

Dawn Primarolo: The following laboratory reports of Campylobacter infections were received in each of the last five years in England:

Year Total

















Cancer Patients: Administrative Delays

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what targets there are for waiting times for cancer patients requiring diagnostic endoscopies; and what the average waiting time is for cancer patients awaiting diagnostic endoscopies in each hospital in the most recent period for which information is available. [174139]

Ann Keen: Patients referred with suspected cancer should wait no longer than two weeks to see a cancer specialist and no longer than 62 days, including all diagnostic tests, to commencing treatment.

A table showing the average waiting time for all patients waiting for endoscopies, has been placed in the Library. Data for cancer patients waiting for endoscopies is not collected centrally.

Cancer: Health Services

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the funding contribution of his Department as part of the consortium funding the infrastructure support
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for the five Public Health Research Centres of Excellence was as described in paragraph 2.59 of his Department’s Cancer Reform Strategy; and what the other (a) organisations and (b) individuals contributing funds to the consortium were. [174886]

Dawn Primarolo: The United Kingdom Clinical Research Collaboration Public Health Research Centres of Excellence are funded by eight organisations that are together contributing a total of £21.15 million over a five-year period. The organisations concerned, and their individual financial contributions are:

£ million

British Heart Foundation


Cancer Research UK


Department of Health


Economic and Social Research Council


Medical Research Council


Northern Ireland HSC


Wellcome Trust


Welsh Office of Research and Development


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the commissioning brief issued by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme, referred to in paragraph 3.36 of his Department’s Cancer Reform Strategy. [175133]

Dawn Primarolo: Copies of the commissioning brief have been placed in the Library.

Cancer: Screening

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what new equipment for genetic testing is coming on stream, as described in paragraph 2.41 of his Department’s Cancer Reform Strategy, published on 3 December 2007; and how many tests for cancer genes have been carried out in each of the last four years. [174887]

Dawn Primarolo: The new equipment referred to in paragraph 2.54 of the Cancer Reform Strategy was funded through an investment of £18 million under the 2003 Genetics White Paper “Our Inheritance, our Future—realising the potential of genetics in the National Health Service”. The funding has modernised and expanded genetics laboratory capacity through investment in automated and high volume technology. This includes automated DNA extraction systems, high throughput DNA sequencers and microarray readers. This increased funding has also allowed many of the processes in the laboratory such as, the amplification of DNA and liquid handling to be automated with the purchase of robotics. In addition, the improvements in both information technology hardware and software has lead to significant improvements in the time taken to analyse the data generated.

The Department does not collect data centrally on the numbers of genetic tests carried out for the purpose of identifying, or predicting the risk of developing, inherited forms of cancer.

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Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health where the seven pilot sites were established to develop new services for assessing genetic risk, as described in paragraph 2.50 of his Department's Cancer Reform Strategy; and when he expects the evaluation of the pilot sites being undertaken by the University of Nottingham to be published. [174888]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department co-funded the seven pilot sites in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support. The sites were:

The University of Nottingham is undertaking an evaluation of the organisational issues associated with the introduction of new types of service into the national health service, such as these cancer genetics services and other service development pilots funded under the 2003 Genetics White Paper. Its report is due in autumn 2008.

The individual cancer genetics service pilot sites are evaluating the effectiveness of their services and this evidence will contribute to the development of the guidance for commissioners referred to in the Cancer Reform Strategy (paragraph 2.53).

Cannabis: Misuse

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many finished consultant episodes resulting from the misuse of cannabis there were for (a) patients aged under 18 years and (b) patients aged over 18 years in (i) England and (ii) each strategic health authority area in each year from 1997-98 to 2006-07. [175143]

Dawn Primarolo: Information as requested is not collected.

Data on the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) is only available from April 2004, with national data on under-18s available from April 2005.

The NDTMS does not monitor activity through ‘finished consultant episodes’—the data relates to structured treatment activity for all those providing treatment for drug misuse and records those who attend specialist drug treatment services only.

The following data shows the number of individuals who received drug treatment for cannabis, and is broken down by SHA. There are separate figures for adults (over 18) and young people (under 18) in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and figures for over 18s only for 2004-05.

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2006-07 data

England total

Data by strategic health authority (SHA) 18 and over 18 Under 18 Total

East Midlands SHA




East of England SHA




London SHA




North East SHA




North West SHA




South Central SHA




South East Coast SHA




South West SHA




West Midlands SHA




Yorkshire and the Humber SHA









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