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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect on people with ankylosing spondylitis of waiting for the appeal process to complete on Remicade before issuing guidance on the administering of anti-TNF medication; and if he will make a statement. 
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 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.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of people with asthma who have a care plan as stated in the Our Care, Our Health, Our Say, White Paper. 
The new general medical services contract includes a specific quality indicator for treatment and care of people with asthma. It is the responsibility of local health bodies to ensure that patients living with asthma are offered care plans and regular reviews.
Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many of those previously addicted to prescribed tranquillisers have suffered long-term impairment as a consequence of their addiction. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reported infections of each type arising from blood transfusion have occurred in each of the last five years for which information is available. 
Dawn Primarolo: The following table gives the number of reports of transfusion transmitted infections made to the National Blood Service/Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections Surveillance for the last five years.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what groups his Department has identified as being at high risk of being exposed to infectious disease transmittable by blood transfusion; how this risk has been assessed and measured; what restrictions are placed on the donating of blood by members of these groups; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The rules for blood donor selection have been developed in line with scientific and medical knowledge. The current donor selection rules are a precaution against known infections and also against other infectious agents, known or unknown, that could be transmitted by blood.
Every blood donation is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and human T-lymphotropic virus. However, no testing process can be perfect. Infected donations may be missed because of the window period between getting an infection and the test showing a positive result.
To minimise the risk, the United Kingdom blood transfusion service donor selection rules, in common with those of many other countries, permanently bar from blood donation any individual who has ever injected drugs, accepted payment for sex, or a man who has ever had anal or oral sex with another man. A temporary (one year) bar on donation is applied to individuals who report a potential exposure to infection that is stated to be no longer ongoing and unlikely to be resumed.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of blood donations which would be made each year by gay men if they were not banned from giving blood. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of early stage breast cancer patients tested positive for HER2 in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(2) what guidance has been issued to hospital trusts on compliance with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines in relation to HER2 testing; and if he will place copies in the Library; 
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has not published guidelines on HER2 testing, although it published guidance in 2006 on the use of Herceptin for early stage HER2 positive breast cancer.
The Department has issued no official guidance on HER2 testing. However in January 2006, National Cancer Research Institute guidelines on HER2 testing were circulated to cancer networks as useful information. This guidance can be found on the Department's website at:
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to the publication of the Cancer Reform Strategy, how he plans to ensure that patients with rarer cancers receive the treatment and support that they require; and how he plans to measure progress towards this objective. 
Ann Keen: The Cancer Reform Strategy, published last year, reconfirmed the Governments commitment to improving services for all cancer patients including those diagnosed with less common and rare cancers.
The strategy aims to improve cancer prevention, speed up the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, reduce inequalities, improve the experience of people living with and beyond cancer and ensure care is delivered in the most appropriate settings.
In addition, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has issued Improving Outcomes Guidance covering the majority of less common cancers such as brain tumours, sarcoma, pancreatic cancers and haematological cancers.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to the publication of the Cancer Reform Strategy, how he plans to address the health inequalities faced by socio-economically deprived groups in relation to cancer; and how he plans to measure progress. 
Ann Keen: As announced in the Cancer Reform Strategy, we are launching the National Cancer Equality Initiative (NCEI) to tackle inequalities in cancer outcomes. The NCEI will bring together key stakeholders to develop research proposals on cancer inequalities, test interventions and to advise on the development of wider policy. This work is in the early stages of development and is being lead by the National Cancer Director.
Local action will also be necessary to tackle inequalities. As part of the measures we are introducing to ensure stronger commissioning, primary care trusts, in association with their cancer network, will wish to undertake a local equality impact assessment and take appropriate steps to address local issues. The Department will also continue to encourage innovation in tackling inequalities through the section 64 grant programme.
We are committed to tracking progress on cancer to ensure that all the aims of the Cancer Reform Strategy, including reducing inequalities, are achieved and the National Cancer Director will deliver annual reports on progress to Ministers.
Additionally, the UK National Screening Committee is conducting an equality review within the national screening programmes, including those for cancer. As a result of this review, the National Screening Committee will consider what initiatives could be undertaken to improve access to screening in vulnerable populations.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) mean and (b) median waiting time was from diagnosis of children with cancer to treatment for each type of cancer in (i) 2004-05, (ii) 2005-06 and (iii) 2006-07. 
Ann Keen: Average waiting times for cancer patients and average waiting times for specific cancer conditions are not collected centrally. The cancer waiting time standard of a maximum wait of 31 days from urgent referral for suspected cancer to first cancer treatment for children's cancers was introduced from 2001. Performance against this standard in each of the last three years is shown in the following table:
|Total number of patients||Performance (percentage)|
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to the publication of the Cancer Reform Strategy, how he plans to ensure that there is an increase in the number of older people and young people included in clinical trials for cancer treatments; and how he plans to measure progress towards this objective. 
We are working with the National Cancer Research Institute Clinical Studies Groups to encourage trial designs that do not include upper age limits in their inclusion criteria. We will also encourage medicines regulators and industry to work together to achieve the
same aim for industry-sponsored trials. We are also working with the National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network to help ensure that, for trials where there are already no upper age limits to entry, older people are offered entry whenever appropriate.
The United Kingdom Childrens Cancer and Leukaemia Group (UKCCLG) is one of the most successful clinical trials organisations in the UK. Increasingly and particularly in relation to the development of specialist clinical units commonly funded from charitable sources, entry into many studies in the UKCCLGs portfolio has expanded to include teenagers and young adults.
We are committed to tracking progress on cancer to ensure that all the aims of the Cancer Reform Strategy are achieved and the National Cancer Director will deliver annual reports on progress to Ministers.
Ann Keen: It is for strategic health authorities working in partnership with their primary care trusts, local screening services and stakeholders to provide appropriate screening services to meet the needs of their local populations and to consider the appropriate location of those services.
My hon. Friend will know from the replies to his earlier questions on alcohol abuse that the Government are committed to reducing substance misuse among young people. This includes that relating to cannabis. Education about cannabis is delivered alongside that on other drugs, alcohol and volatile substances and is a vital element of our approach.
We are clear of the need to be sure that drug education in schools is robust, accurate and effective. As part of the Children's Plan we have given a commitment to examine the effectiveness of current delivery arrangements for all drugs education and act to strengthen them if necessary.
In addition to school-based education the Government's FRANK campaign has consistently informed young people about the risks associated with cannabis through the media and the dedicated FRANK website. There are around 1,100 visits to the cannabis web page each day alone and the message is clearcannabis is harmful and illegal and should not be taken.
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