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The Petition of Mr. Martin Burke,
Declares that Mr. Martin Burke of Elizabeth Regina Love has written to several Members of the Commons and Lords individually and collectively in the past three years and now wishes to introduce himself and address the Commons as a whole;
Further declares that Mr. Burke worked on his own initiative since 2005 and made a contribution to the resolution of several national and international emergencies: 7/7; Northern Ireland; Iraq; Afghanistan; entrenching democracy in Pakistan; Darfur; the Burma cyclone; the North Korea nuclear crisis; the Royal Navy prisoners in Iran; the Lebanon War 2006; the development of the Palestinian state; relations with Russia, Zimbabwe, Gaza and Sri Lanka, and with others;
Further declares that prior to Elizabeth Regina Love (est. 2004) Mr. Burke carried out fundamental work in the field of Economics and Mathematics, discovering and defining a new mathematical
object in 1997, the General Economic Measurement Scale, simple illustrations of which were prepared for the Bank of England in 2005; notes that until this time the science of Economics did not have a defined measurement scale; further notes that an eminent academic confirmed no prior literature in 2006; further notes that the General Democratic Voting Scale was defined in 2007; further notes that these objects can be seen at www.eheartr.com and have been accepted by the British Library; further notes that the symbol for Elizabeth Regina Love is by invitation of the Lord Chamberlain on behalf of the Queen; further notes that Mr. Burke works independently and on his own initiative and this is his petition; and further notes that these objects have not previously been reported in Hansard.
The Petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons bears in mind the General Economic Measurement Scale and the General Democratic Voting Scale in its work on the current challenges facing the country and in its future law making, and uses them in its thinking, whatever the consequences to the petitioner of the small parts played by him in the above declared events; and the petitioner further requests that the House accepts these objects for inclusion in the House of Commons Library where Members can see them.
And the Petitioner remains, etc.
Ms Dari Taylor (Stockton, South) (Lab): I beg leave to present to the House a petition signed by 6,000 residents, the majority of whom are parents of young children, and who live in Ingleby Barwick, a residential area in my constituency. They are requesting that the Government locate the rebuilding of Egglescliffe school in the Preston Park area of Stockton-on-Tees, so that the school will serve the two communities of Ingleby Barwick and Egglescliffe, delivering excellent education to all children.
The Petition of residents of Barwick, and others,
Declares that providing a secondary school of 900 places in or on the periphery of Barwick would offer choice and diversity to the parents and children of Ingleby Barwick, improve standards of education for children, and would allow children to be educated locally within their town; believes that this could be achieved by
moving the secondary school currently based in Egglescliffe to Preston (within the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees) so that children from both areas could attend the school.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to support the request made by parents to move the secondary school currently based in Egglescliffe to Preston (within the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees) so that children from both areas could attend the school.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
Mr. Mike Hall (Weaver Vale) (Lab): This petition relates to a road proposal being brought forward by Cheshire West and Chester local authority to link the Winnington urban village to the A556. The proposed road will pass through the Hartford part of my constituency and through a conservation area. If this had been a planning application, it would have been refused. However, because it is a road scheme, it is being permitted to go ahead. Unfortunately, the work started on Monday. This petition has been collected by the Hartford civic society and contains more than 800 names.
The Petition of residents of Hartford, and others:
The proposed slip road to be built at Bradburns Lane and Chester Road will destroy a triangular grassed area with an ancient fountain, leading to the irreversible loss of a major village feature; further declares that the proposals ignore the areas status as a designated conservation area; believes that the slip road will offer no benefit to Hartford residents and that it would only marginally improve traffic flow from Winnington Urban Village; further believes that the slip road would be a waste of £500,000 of public money; and supports the Hartford Civic Society, the Parish Council and the Borough Conservation Manager in their opposition to the proposed slip road.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take whatever action possible to prevent the construction of the slip road at Bradburns Lane and Chester Road.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
Ben Chapman (Wirral, South) (Lab): I am delighted to have secured this debate on the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology. It is an immensely valuable institution and a source of pride to the local community, but I fear that it is none the less under a degree of threat. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) would have liked to be here, but was unable to be. He has asked me to say that he supports my campaign to prevent moves that could damage the services provided at the CCO. My hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, West (Stephen Hesford) has been similarly supportive throughout the campaign and in this context.
Stephen Hesford (Wirral, West) (Lab): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. May I remind him of a meeting that we had with the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Ann Keen), whom I am pleased to see in her place tonight? Does he remember that that meeting was not wholly positive? Is that one of the reasons he feels the need to bring the matter before the House of Commons? May I urge him to continue his work in this regard?
Max, the son of my hon. Friend the Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mark Tami), was given radiotherapy treatment at Clatterbridge prior to having a bone marrow transplant, and my hon. Friendwhom I am delighted to see hereis unstinting in his praise for the services provided there.
I want to say a few words about the history, which illustrates the CCOs long-standing contribution to cancer services in Britain and to its locality. The centres roots date back over a century to the Liverpool hospital for cancer and diseases of the skin, which was established in 1862. In 1882, the hospital moved to a new site and was renamed the Radium Institute. The first Roentgen ray apparatus was purchased in 1901 and the centre gradually developed into one of the two major radiotherapy centres in the north-west of England. The centre has been at Clatterbridge since the early 1950s. It has provided chemotherapy since the 1970s, and CCO consultants were among the first to use multiple-drug chemotherapy. Today, the centre is thriving. It became a foundation trust hospital in 2006. Patient numbers are continually rising, with an average of 50 treated on each accelerator every day. Over 7,000 new patients are registered at the hospital each year.
The CCO has received significant investment in recent years and is now one of the best-equipped radiotherapy centres in Britain. Facilities include nine linear accelerators, which I am going to call linacs, a cobalt unit, superficial and orthovoltage X-ray machines, two simulators, two scanners, tomography simulators and so forth. The centre places great emphasis on research and development, regularly participating in national and international
clinical trails. It employs 650 staff, most of whom live locally. Any diminution of services would thus be damaging not just to the hospital but to the community.
In addition to the CCOs importance locally and to patients, it is recognised at national level as an outstanding NHS foundation trust. The Healthcare Commission rated it as excellent for quality and use of resources; and Monitor awarded the CCO green for governance and the provision of mandatory services, and gave it 5the highest possible markfor financial viability. It is in excellent financial shape.
The quality of the treatment provided is matched by the service delivery record. There is no waiting time for chemotherapy at the CCO, with 66 per cent. delivered in outreach clinicsthe highest rate in the country. That is important for the comfort and convenience of patients.
Mr. Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool, Walton) (Lab): I know what a redoubtable defender and advocate my hon. Friend is of Clatterbridge hospital and the fine services it provides. That is to his credit, but will he say a little more about the plans for outreach across other hospitals in the region? I know that both he and I support that outreach in order to ensure that the excellent services currently provided get to a wider audience.
Despite the CCOs impressive record in the provision of services and its importance locally and nationally, its future is to a degree under threat. The crux of the issue is that the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network has put forward proposals for two satellite sites with linacs used in radiotherapy treatment. One satellite at Aintree, to be run as a CCO operation, has been agreed and no one contests that it will make an important contribution to providing accessible services for those living in and around Liverpool. However, I am not sure that the case has been mademy hon. Friend may well disagree with me on this pointfor a second satellite at the Royal Liverpool hospital, only 5 miles from Aintree. Let me say a little more about this.
meet demand for these services north of the River Mersey, as this area has some of the highest cancer death rates in the country.
It is assumed that the establishment of a second satellite only 5 miles from the first will inevitably improve cancer outcomes in Liverpool and satisfy unmet demand. Clinical opinion at the CCO, however, states that patients from the region, and particularly in Liverpool, already receive the best treatments available and that the outcomes following diagnosis are similar to the national rate. In fact, the cancer reform strategy and the north-west cancer plan both argue that late diagnosis is the major contributing factor to poor cancer survival rates. There is no evidence to suggest that providing more non-surgical oncology services in a given areain this case, in Liverpool city centrewould have a direct impact on survival rates. Improved screening programmes and public awareness campaigns are considered more likely to make a difference.
A related argument presented in favour of a second satellite at the Royal is that Clatterbridge is too far away for patients in Liverpool and that more non-surgical oncology services, over and above those planned for Aintree, are necessary to improve access. I am not wholly convinced that cancer services cannot be accessed within a reasonable travel period by people in Liverpool, or more generally in the Cheshire and Merseyside area that the CCO covers. The cancer reform strategy recommends that travel times to services should not exceed 45 minutes, and 92 per cent. of CCO patients travel by car, ambulance or taxi and are able to obtain their treatments within that timeand in many cases more quickly. When the Aintree site is fully functioning, times will be even shorter.
I want to emphasise that I accept the need for some non-surgical oncology services to be provided at a satellite in Liverpool. Along with the CCO and others involved, I very much support the establishment of the site at Aintree, which the CCO will provide. However, in that light, it is very difficult to see why we need a second site only five miles away. Projections suggest that the Aintree site will provide enough linacs to meet demand until 2017, so the second satellite will lead to overcapacity. Resources, which are always finite, will be hard pressed in the current economic climate; and it seems to me that overcapacity in Liverpool across the two sites will inevitably lead to a reduction of services at the CCO.
Furthermore, even if it could be proved that there is a need for additional linacs beyond those already provided at the CCO and at the Aintree satellite, that would not necessarily provide an argument for the establishment of a second site. Surely it would be logical and cost-effective to increase the number of linacs at Aintree. I am told that the site could incorporate that, and it would prevent the expenditure involved in building another site.
All this must be seen in the context of wider proposals for relocating the CCO to Liverpool, which are outlined in the Baker review. There is now general agreement that such a move, which would cost approximately £150 million, is inconceivable in the current economic climate, and it has been put on the back burner for at least the next five years. However, the chairman of Cheshire and Merseyside strategic health authority has confirmed that it is the direction of travel towards 2020.
That bothers me. I challenge the fundamental assumption that the primary centre for non-surgical oncology services in the region should necessarily be in Liverpool. The existing Clatterbridge location is liked by patients, it aint broke, it is a pleasant environment and, as I have said, it makes an important contribution to the local community. To move it would involve unnecessary and unwise expenditure, and in my view the idea has no obvious merit. Furthermore, proposals to move the centre seem to reflect a city-centric point of view. In fact, the CCO serves Cheshire and Merseyside and, as we have just heard, part of north WalesAlyn and Deessideand in that sense it is centrally located.
The case that the Royal is a desirable location for these services rests on two central arguments. The first is that it would allow cancer services to be in close physical proximity to acute facilities. Although I see the merits of that argument, it does not necessarily provide a reason for the centre to be moved to Liverpool. The CCO is about 15 minutes drive from Arrowe Park
Hospital. It is also developing its own high-dependency unit to support patients who become acutely ill during their treatment at the centre.
Secondly, it has been argued that the Royal location has advantages in terms of its academic links. However, the first satellite is to be built on the campus of the University Hospitals Aintree NHS Foundation Trust, which enjoys the same status as the Royal in terms of well-established academic links with Liverpool university. It seems to me that there is some confusion between academic status and proximity to the university itself. Moreover, the CCO is committed to developing its academic links and research. I am not convinced that the case for relocation at the Royal has been fully demonstrated either by the arguments about its acute facilities or by those about its academic links.
As I have said, for the time being there are no clear plans for a full-scale relocation, but I fear that, in the short term, the creation of a second satellite may constitute a piecemeal development, which the Cancer Network, the Royal and PCTs hope will eventually lead to the establishment of a cancer centre at the Royal. The second satellite was originally suggested in the context of relocation of the whole centre, in the light of the Baker report. It does not make sense on its own merits. However, the Cancer Network and PCTs preferred to push on regardless, apparently on the primary basis that if the money was available, why not?
This raises important question about how decisions are made about cancer services in the region. I am deeply concerned that PCTs, which have the power to determine the expenditure of large amounts of moneyfor instance, on the establishment of the proposed satellitesare, in my experience, only notionally accountable and often, I am afraid, profligate. They have not consulted me or other local Members of Parliamentor as far as I am aware, othersabout the current round of proposals. If the PCTs are only notionally accountable, the Cancer Network is wholly unaccountable. Although it can only make recommendations rather than decisions, the PCTs do not appear to have probed its proposals sufficiently before endorsing them.
There is a clear need for cancer services in the region to be viewed on a strategic basis. Resources must be allocated and services located in a logical and transparent way, based on an assessment of the current and future needs of all local people and on expert advice.
I have described the CCO as a centre of excellence, and as such it is worth protecting for a number of reasons. It houses an impressive concentration of services and expertise, and continues to develop, improve and carry out research. As such, it is in a strong position to attract investment. In the current economic climate, funding will of course be scarce. Public money must be used even more wisely and cautiously than usual. If services are salami-sliced away from Clatterbridge with no clear plan, and cancer services in Merseyside are spread across multiple sites, no one institution in the area will draw the substantial funding that will be required in future years. Furthermore, if services are gradually moved from Clatterbridge, eroding the critical mass, the centre may well suffer a loss of confidence. It will fail to attract the best qualified staff, and it may start to decline.
I suspect that the Minister will reply to me on the basis of drafts provided by the strategic health authority and the Cancer Network. However, in none of the correspondence that I have received from either of those organisations is there any evidence that they have taken account of the views of the CCO, or, indeed, of the concerns expressed by me and my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, West. Can the Minister assure me that she will take account of them in her response, and may I tell her that although what is proposed is euphemistically presented merely as a long-term direction of travel, in my view it is a wrong direction for which the case remains unproven and the costs very large?
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