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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many speech therapists are employed by the NHS in Barnet; how many there were in 1997; what the estimated shortfall is of numbers of speech therapists in Barnet; what the average waiting time for a first appointment to see a speech therapist in Barnet was on the latest date for which figures are available; what steps he is taking to improve the provision of speech therapy in Barnet; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: It is for primary care trusts in partnership with local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, and to commission services accordingly. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community, including the provision of speech and language therapy (SLT).
Information about waiting times for SLT provided by the national health service is not collected centrally. The Department collects waiting time information by consultant-led specialties. SLT is not a consultant-led speciality. Our objective is to balance the need for data against the burden that data collection places on the NHS.
There are 6,623 SLTs working in the NHS (NHS staff census September 2006headcount), an increase of 36 per cent. since 1997. The number of SLTs entering training has increased by 65 per cent. since 1998-99.
Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to extend the Marie Curie Delivering Choice programme for terminally ill people to parts of the country not currently served by it. 
Ann Keen: We are supportive of Marie Curie Cancer Care's Delivering Choice programme, which provides a good example of the ways in which charities can work with the statutory sector to deliver quality care and patient choice. We are in discussion with Marie Curie on how we can further support the programme, but decisions on whether to fund local programmes remain the responsibility of primary care trusts.
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department published information as shown in the following tables on each wave 1 independent-sector treatment centre (ISTC) scheme, including the contract value, volume of activity, case mix by volume and utilisation rates on 15 November. This is also available on the Departments website at
|ISTC Phase 1 contractual information (as at end of September 2007-08)|
|Contract||Location||Hospital name||Interim site commencement||Full service commencement||Total nominal contract value (£ million)||Contract utilisation to date (30-09-07) (Percentage)||Total contracted diagnostics|
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