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20 Jan 2009 : Column 1356Wcontinued
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the extent to which (a) primary care trusts and (b) cancer networks are giving high priority to raising public awareness of cancer risk factors. 
Through the Cancer Reform Strategys (CRS) National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI), the Department, in partnership with Cancer Research UK, is co-ordinating a programme to support local interventions to increase cancer symptom awareness and encourage earlier presentation. NAEDIs launch
event in November 2008, was very well attended by primary care trusts and cancer networks from across the country.
As highlighted in the first annual report on the CRS, which was published in December 2008 (a copy has already been placed in the Library), the annual report for 2009 will have a greater focus on local implementation. This will include an assessment of local progress in raising public awareness of cancer risk factors.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the extent to which commissioners have put in place systems to ensure that patients experience good continuity of care in relation to cancer services; 
(2) how many and what proportion of commissioners of cancer services have established service level agreements with local mental health services for advanced psychological support services. 
Ann Keen: The information requested is not held centrally. It is for primary care trusts working in partnership with their strategic health authorities, local services and stakeholders to provide appropriate services for their local populations, including the commissioning of cancer services and psychological support for cancer patients.
Through the implementation of the Cancer Reform Strategy, the Department provides a range of support to help commissioners of cancer services to ensure that their services meet their populations needs. This includes the Cancer Commissioning Guidance, which sets out key issues and key questions that commissioners will want to take into consideration when assessing health needs, reviewing services, developing their contract service specifications and monitoring performance; and the Cancer Commissioning Toolkit, which provides an easily accessible one stop source of cancer information to provide answers to the key questions in the Cancer Commissioning Guidance.
The planned annual patient experience survey will provide us with information about how far patients are satisfied with the quality of the services being commissioned for them. Local patient experience surveys are already in operation in some cancer networks.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress the representative advisory group on cancer inequalities has made towards (a) researching proposals, (b) testing inequalities and (c) advising on the development of a wider policy; and when and how he plans to evaluate the National Cancer Equality Initiative. 
As highlighted in the first annual report of the Cancer Reform Strategy (CRS), Cancer Reform Strategy: Maintaining momentum, building for the futurefirst annual report, published on 1 December 2008 (a copy of which has already been placed in the Library), we have set up the National Cancer Equality Initiative (NCEI) to take forward a series of actions to reduce inequalities in cancer care. An advisory group has been established, co-chaired by Professor Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, and Joanne Rule, the former Chief Executive of Cancer Backup. The membership of the group comprises representatives
of all six equality strands, plus representatives on deprivation, leading academics, professionals, and departmental officials on cancer, equality and human rights, and health inequalities.
The NCEI Advisory Group has already met three times, and has taken forward work on the following:
to establish a baseline, the NCEI has undertaken a good practice survey to identify current projects aiming to reduce inequalities in cancer care. The principles behind undertaking robust projects to reduce cancer inequalities, including examples from the survey, will be issued to the national health service later this year;
writing to the chairs of the other CRS initiatives to embed equality issues across the whole programme. Letters have already been sent to the chairs of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative and the National Cancer Intelligence Network, and future letters will be sent to the National Cancer Research Institute and the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative, and other major initiatives as appropriate;
working with Macmillan Cancer Support on their Human Rights programme of work, Know Your Rights; and
producing a newsletter, We Can, which was launched at the Britain Against Cancer Conference in December 2008.
The NCEI action plan for 2009-10 is currently being developed. The Cancer Programme Board has the responsibility for monitoring progress on all CRS initiatives, including the NCEI, and we are committed to publishing an annual report on progress.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evaluation he has made of the pilot programme for information prescriptions in relation to cancer. 
Ann Keen: The piloting of information prescriptions, which included four cancer pilot sites, concluded with an evaluation report and a government response which were both published in September 2008. These have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to implement a system nationwide to enable health professionals to generate tailored information prescriptions at any point in the cancer pathway. 
Ann Keen: The national cancer action team is working in partnership with the cancer networks and cancer charities (Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support) to develop tumour-specific information pathways and an electronic delivery system that can be used by professionals to deliver tailored Information Prescriptions to patients at any point during the cancer pathway. These are currently being piloted across 39 trusts in England. It is planned that the full system, which will include tumour-specific pathways, will be available to most NHS trusts and cancer health care professionals in 2009.
In addition NHS Choices website currently makes available Information Prescriptions to patients, carers and professionals for prostate cancer and bowel cancer, with other cancers planned to follow. NHS Choices and the cancer partnership are working together to ensure consistent information delivery.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the extent to which good psychological support services are available throughout the cancer journey; 
(2) what progress he has made towards introducing a national cancer survivorship initiative. 
Ann Keen: The Cancer Reform Strategy 2007 set out plans to ensure that people living with and beyond cancer receive the care and support, including psychological support, that they need to enable them to live as healthy and active a life as possible. A copy of the strategy has already been placed in the Library.
Elements of this are being taken forward through the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative, which was formally launched in September 2008. It is co-chaired by Mike Richards, the Departments National Cancer Director, and Ciaran Devane, the Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support. Seven workstreams have been established and have already started work.
As set out in the report Cancer Reform StrategyMaintaining momentum, building for the future: first annual report, a priority for the coming year is to ensure that cancer patients benefit from the expansion and development of psychological therapies. A copy of the report has already been placed in the Library.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the extent to which primary care professionals have fast access to relevant diagnostic tests for cancer; and what sanctions there are for primary care trusts which do not implement this policy. 
Ann Keen: The Cancer Reform Strategy (CRS) made clear that as a matter of best practice a good primary care trust will wish to ensure that primary care professionals have appropriate and timely direct access to diagnostic tests. Sanctions are not imposed on primary care trusts for not implementing best practice and no assessment has been made of the extent of primary care access to diagnostic tests for cancer.
Information on improvements in diagnostics is set out the first annual report of the CRS, a copy of which is available in the Library. Improving primary care access to diagnostics is a priority for improving early diagnosis of cancer and, although good progress has been made in diagnosis, the CRS Advisory Board feel that further improvements can be made in primary care access to diagnosis. In view of this, diagnostics has been added as an eighth work stream to the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative and work to develop this work stream is currently under way.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much will be paid by the Care Quality Commission for the rent of its premises in 2009-10; and whether it shares its premises with any other publicly-funded body. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has informed us that the preliminary 2009-10 estates budget for CQC is expected to be £9.7 million, which consists of an operating budget of £8.4 million and £1.3 million allocated in the transitional budget for the phased migration in the first half of 2009-10 out of existing buildings surplus to the Commission's requirements.
The number of premises to be shared with other publicly funded bodies is not currently available.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Care Quality Commissions next annual budget will be. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Care Quality Commission, in line with all other arms length bodies, is currently undertaking its 2009-10 annual business planning process with the Department. The Care Quality Commissions budget will be finalised and issued once this process is completed. This will be no later than the 31 March 2009.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time staff are to be employed by the Care Quality Commission once it becomes fully operational in April 2009. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Chair of the Care Quality Commission has informed us that most positions in the Commission will be filled by staff transferring from the Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and Mental Health Act Commission. The process for transferring staff is under way, and information on which transferring staff are full-time or part-time will not be available until late March 2009.
Exact staff numbers are therefore still being finalised.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision has been made for the inclusion of patients views in the consultation being carried out by the Care Quality Commission on proposals for reviews in 2009-10. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Chair of the Care Quality Commission has informed us that planned activities during the consultation period for the Commissions proposals for reviews in 2009-10 will include the following three ways of seeking views from people who use health and social care services:
the first will be a round of consultation events with stakeholders through the local involvement networks (LINks) on topics such as assessment of commissioning;
the second is a series of events aimed specifically at people who use services, their families and carers and will be able to comment on the reviews and studies programme including what they regard as their priorities. The topics for the consultation were generated via involvement activity in Improvement Boards; and
the third will be to receive input to the consultation via an online forum. A panel of people have been recruited from the public and patient and user groups to give their views through an internet discussion forum.
The consultation is scheduled to end on 12 March 2009.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many organisations were contacted by the Care Quality Commission to inform them of its consultation on proposals for reviews in 2009-10. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Chair of the Care Quality Commission has informed us that 1,856 copies of the consultation document have been sent out to date (15 January 2009), consisting of an initial distribution of 1,410 copies, with the remainder being sent out as a result of requests. In addition to this, 24,400 letters have been sent to stakeholders informing them of the consultation and including details on how to obtain a copy on request.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated cost is of the consultation on proposals for reviews in 2009-10 being carried out by the Care Quality Commission. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Chair of the Care Quality Commission has informed us that, as this consultation runs until 12 March 2009, the final details of consultation engagement activity are yet to be confirmed.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans are in place to ensure all health and social care providers meet the requirement of registration with the Care Quality Commission. 
Mr. Bradshaw: From April 2010, all providers of regulated activities, whether from the health care or adult social care sectors, will need to register with the Care Quality Commission. In order to register and remain registered, they will be required to meet the registration requirements. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, the Care Quality Commission will have a range of independent enforcement actions that it can take to bring providers who do not meet the registration requirements into compliance.
The Department consulted on which activities should fall within the scope of registration and on the registration requirements during the summer of 2008, and will publish its response to that consultation in due course. The Commission will subsequently develop and consult on its own compliance criteria that it will use to assess adherence to the registration requirements.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made towards
reducing the variation in cervical cancer screening coverage between primary care trusts; and what progress has been made towards increasing the uptake of screening of (a) poor communities and (b) black and ethnic minority communities. 
Ann Keen: The Cancer Reform Strategy, published in December 2007, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library, said that we wished to reduce the variation of cervical screening coverage between primary care trusts. National health service (NHS) Cancer Screening Programmes have commissioned the Improvement Foundation to work with six primary care trusts with deprived communities to develop and test initiatives to improve uptake. The Improvement Foundation are expected to deliver the outcomes from their work to NHS Cancer Screening Programmes by the end of 2009, and the lessons learned will be shared with strategic health authorities and local screening programmes to develop best practice.
There is a need to ensure that health inequalities are tackled with targeted programmes that increase the uptake of screening in deprived and black and ethnic minority communities. It is be for those primary care trusts with low uptake levels for cervical screening to develop targeted programmes to tackle any identified health inequalities.
NHS Cancer Screening Programmes and the university of Leeds have been working on a research project to provide guidance for communicating screening information to women from minority ethnic and low income groups throughout both the cervical and breast screening programmes. The final report is due shortly and NHS Cancer Screening Programmes will work with the university of Leeds to develop follow-up work to build on the findings.
To incentivise services to encourage higher coverage, the decision has been taken to explore having a tariff for cervical screening, along with breast and bowel screening. The Department is working closely with NHS Cancer Screening Programmes on a scoping exercise to inform this work.
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