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Session 2005 - 06
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
20 January 2006

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF SOUTH DERBYSHIRE AND OTHERS

12th January 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of South Derbyshire and others,

Declares that the Petitioners welcome the introduction of the new Animal Welfare Bill. The Petitioners note that the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations say they are "delighted" with the Bill and in particular with the duty of care. The Petitioners believe that the British people support plans to protect animals.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons vote to pass the Animal Welfare Bill and outlaw the vile practice of cruel 'sports' like cock fighting and dog fighting.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF THE FURS ESTATE, SOUTH WOODFORD, LONDON, AND OTHERS

16th January 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of the Furs Estate, South Woodford, London, and others,

Declares that the Furs Estate has become a dangerous place for drivers and pedestrians as a result of excess use of the estate as a practice area and test route for learner drivers by driving schools. The Petitioners further declare that over the past four and a half years over 30 road traffic accidents on the estate have been caused by learner drivers. In addition the Petitioners declare that meetings between residents, the police the council and local driving schools have failed to solve the problem.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to pass legislation restricting the use of enclosed estates as practice areas and test routes for learner drivers by driving schools.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM USERS OF BRIDGNORTH COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, SHROPSHIRE

17th January 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of users of Bridgnorth Community Hospital, Shropshire,

Declares that the future of Bridgnorth Community Hospital is under threat through the county-wide review of healthcare services seeking to find cuts to fund the 36 million of historic debt and 25 million of annual losses in the NHS in the County of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Unitary Authority. The Petitioners are concerned to prevent cuts in services or worse, the threat of closure of the hospital.

The Petitioners note the significant capital investment in Bridgnorth Community Hospital which is under way and are concerned to prevent cuts in services or worse, the threat of closure of the hospital.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons make the Department of Health aware of the Petitioners concerns against cuts in services or closure of the hospital.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM USERS OF LUDLOW COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, SHROPSHIRE

17th January 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of users of Ludlow Community Hospital, Shropshire,

Declares that the future of Ludlow Community Hospital is under threat through the county-wide review of healthcare services seeking to find cuts to fund the 36 million of historic debt and 25 million of annual losses in the NHS in the County of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Unitary Authority. The Petitioners are concerned to prevent cuts in services or worse, the threat of closure of the hospital.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons make the Department of Health aware of the Petitioners concerns against cuts in services or closure of the hospital.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM THE ISITFAIR COUNCIL TAX PROTEST CAMPAIGN

17th January 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the Isitfair Council Tax protest campaign,

Declares that the year-on-year, inflation-busting increases in Council Tax are causing hardship to many and take no account of ability to pay; further that the proposed property revaluation and re-banding exercise will make an already flawed system even worse.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons votes to replace Council Tax with a fair and equitable tax that, without recourse to any supplementary benefit, takes into account ability to pay from disposable income. Such tax to be based on a system that is free from any geographically or politically motivated discrimination, and that clearly identifies the fiscal and managerial responsibilities of all involved parties.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Deputy Prime Minister on the Petitions [10th November [three Petitions]; 14th November [two Petitions]; 15th November [two Petitions]; 16th November [two Petitions]; 23rd November; 30th November; 7th December; 12th December [two Petitions]; and 14th December] from the supporters of the Isitfair Council Tax protest campaign for a fair and equitable replacement for council tax.

    Accepts that above inflation increases in Council Tax do cause hardship to those on fixed incomes for whom council tax absorbs significant amounts of disposable income, but supports responsible control of Local Authority Expenditure and reasonable Council Tax increases. The Government reserves the right to cap excessive increases.

    Notes that proposed revaluation of domestic properties in England has subject to Parliament, been postponed, calls on Parliament to support that postponement, and notes that the Government has set up an Independent Inquiry, led by Sir Michael Lyons, to consider the detailed case for changes to the present system of local government funding and to make recommendations on any changes that are necessary and how to implement them. As part of his inquiry, Sir Michael is looking at how best to reform council tax to make it fairer and more sustainable. On 20 September the Government announced that it was extending the remit of the Sir Michael's Inquiry so that he could consider local government funding in the context of the wider functions of local government and its future role and, in the light of this, postponing the revaluation of council tax in England. Sir Michael is due to report by the end of 2006.

    Sir Michael is aware of the sort of concerns that the IsItFair campaign and many others have expressed about how the current council tax system affects those on low and fixed incomes and the Government looks forward to receiving his recommendations.

    Requests that proposals for a workable fair local tax be forwarded and rejects the idea that local tax should be levied irrespective of wealth, including home ownership and supports a fair benefit system which takes into account both income and wealth.

16th January 2006


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Health on the Petition [14th December] from constituents of Harrogate and Knaresborough for the immediate availability of Herceptin to all NHS patients for whom there would be a clinical benefit.

    Herceptin is already licensed and available on the NHS for woman diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

    Of the 35,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year around two thirds will be diagnosed with early breast cancer and of these it is estimated that around 1 in 4 women (over 5000) will be HER2 positive and therefore treatment with Herceptin might be appropriate. Herceptin is not yet licensed for women with early breast cancer although interim results from a number of trials appear promising and have been widely reported. It is therefore understandable that women with this condition are encouraged by the developments and keen to have access to this drug.

    It is already possible for a clinician to prescribe a drug outside its licensed indications. Such use is described as "off-licence" or "off-label" use and is lawful, subject to the ordinary rules relating to clinical negligence. It is down to individual clinicians to decide whether or not it is suitable to prescribe a specific drug. The clinician will make this decision after discussions with the patient about the potential risks and taking into account his/her medical history. PCTs would also be involved as they will decide whether to support the clinician's decision and supply the drug at NHS expense.

    PCTs will need to take a whole range of factors into consideration when reaching these decisions, including the circumstances of the individual patient. On 25th October the Secretary of State stated that PCTs should not refuse to fund Herceptin solely on the grounds of its cost.

    Roche, the manufacturer of Herceptin, has announced that it anticipates applying for a licence to use Herceptin for early breast cancer in February 2006. This would mean that, if this application were successful, a licence could be granted in summer 2006. The licensing process is confidential between the drug company and the licensing authorities (in this case the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA)). The licensing process is vital to assess the safety, quality and efficacy of drugs and this process must be allowed to take its course. The Department of Health plays no part in this process and therefore cannot intervene.

    If Herceptin does receive a licence for use in early stage breast cancer it will then be important to give the NHS advice from the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) about the clinical and cost effectiveness of Herceptin for this indication. NICE does not assess all new drugs, but focuses its work on those that are of particular significance and where its advice will be of most benefit On 3rd November the Secretary of State confirmed that a new, rapid process for assessing the clinical and cost effectiveness of drugs and other treatments would be launched by NICE to sit alongside its standard appraisal process. The new process will not be used for all appraisals but will be used initially to produce faster guidance on certain potentially life-saving drugs used in a single disease or condition. NICE has already been asked to carry out a fast track appraisal of Herceptin for early breast cancer in parallel with the licensing process so that it can issue guidance within weeks of a licensing decision being reached.

    In the interim period between a drug being licensed and NICE guidance being available, the Department of Health has made clear to the NHS (in guidance issued in 1999) that they should not refuse to fund specific drugs or treatments simply because they have not yet been appraised by NICE. In these circumstances health bodies should make their decision based on their own assessment of the available evidence.

    Herceptin is not appropriate for every patient who is HER2 positive but it is important that those patients that are HER2 positive are identified so that Herceptin can be one of the treatment options considered. On 5th October the Secretary of State made it clear that all women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer should be tested for suitability for treatment with Herceptin. As a result, the National Cancer Director is working with cancer networks to ensure that the facilities are put in place to enable women who require it to be tested.

    The steps that have been taken do not, in any way, replace either the licensing processes or the role of NICE in providing the NHS with authoritative advice on clinical and cost effectiveness.

17th January 2006



 
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Revised 20 January 2006