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Bowel Cancer

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investment his Department is making in services to combat bowel cancer. [2522]

Yvette Cooper: An additional £280 million is available in 2001–02 to improve the delivery of cancer care.

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Since 1998, £10 million per year has been invested to implement "Improving Outcomes" guidance on colorectal cancer. Bowel cancer patients have also benefited from the £6 million investment in nine cancer services collaborative (CSC) pilots which have been proven to reduce delays in diagnosis and treatment. The CSC is now being rolled out across all 34 cancer networks.

The NHS cancer plan set out a commitment to a £2.5 million endoscopy training programme. Endoscopy is a key diagnostic procedure for gastro-intestinal cancers. General practitioners, nurses, surgeons and gastroenterologists will benefit from this initiative which will help in meeting an increasing demand for endoscopy.

There is also a programme of investment in cancer equipment under way. £93 million from the new opportunities fund and £100 million from the modernisation fund will buy new and replacement equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

A bowel cancer screening pilot is currently under way at sites in Scotland and England. The pilot will complete in 2002, and if it demonstrates that colorectal cancer screening is appropriate, feasible and acceptable to the public we will introduce it for all people aged 50–69.

Chrysotile Asbestos

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the use of chrysotile asbestos in environmental projects for which his Department is responsible. [2521]

Yvette Cooper: Departmental policy is that chrysotile asbestos must not be used in any new works or projects in accordance with the provisions of the relevant health and safety legislation.

NHS Recruitment and Retention

(North Staffordshire)

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the further investment announced in March to improve the recruitment and retention of general practitioners and nurses was allocated to the north Staffordshire health authority. [2669]

Yvette Cooper: We announced £135 million in March 2001 for recruitment, retention and returners to the national health service work force, particularly general practitioners and nurses. Allocations have not yet been made to individual health authorities.

This additional money will be significant in enabling us to achieve the ambitious proposals set out in the NHS plan, with 7,500 more consultants, 2,000 more GPs, 20,000 more nurses, midwives and health visitors, and 6,500 more therapists and other health professionals by 2004.

Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to (a) monitor the implementation of NICE guidance on the use of Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and (b) publish the results; [3213]

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Jacqui Smith: All national health service bodies and clinicians are expected to give due weight to guidance from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and to the evidence on which it is based. The Department is monitoring implementation of NICE's guidance through its established procedures supplemented through other data sources available to the Department. We will be looking to the Commission for Health Improvement to provide more information in due course.

We are currently preparing to implement our manifesto commitment that

Care Homes

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people under 16 live in care homes in England and Wales. [2847]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested for England is provided in the table for the year ending 31 March 2000, the latest year for which figures are available. Requests for information about Wales should be addressed to the National Assembly for Wales.

Children looked after at 31 March 2000 who were placed in children's homes or residential care homes—England

Children's homes6,300
Community homes4,800
Voluntary homes370
Private registered children's homes1,200
Residential care homes and nursing homes (Residential Homes Act 1984110


1. Figures for children looked after in this table exclude children accommodated under an agreed series of short-term placements.

2. Figures are estimates derived in part from SSDA903 one-third sample of looked-after children, and include estimates for missing data and incomplete returns.

3. Figures have been rounded and therefore the detailed figures may not sum to the total presented.


DH annual returns SSDA 903 and CLA 100.

Drug Prescriptions

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what quantity of each individual antidepressant was prescribed by doctors in England in 2000; [2954]

Jacqui Smith: Statistics about prescription items dispensed in the community in England during 2000, at individual preparation level, are published in the publication "Prescription Cost Analysis: England 2000". The publication provides details about items dispensed, their cost, and the quantity, and covers all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England during 2000. The items are listed alphabetically within chemical entity by

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British National Formulary therapeutic class. A copy has been placed in the Library. The data are also available on the internet:

Food Labelling

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to ensure that labels on food products accurately reflect the country of origin; and if he will make a statement. [2946]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 9 July 2001]: The Food Standards Agency is pressing for changes to labelling rules at European and international levels to require information about country-of-origin labelling to be provided to consumers on a wider range of foods, particularly meat products, and for clear rules on the use of terms like "produce of". The FSA will shortly begin a review of the guidance notes on origin labelling, issued last year, to ensure that current legal requirements are interpreted in the way most likely to meet consumers' concerns.

Mental Health Services

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to have collated information from health authorities and trusts in order to determine the proportion of total NHS spend used to provide mental health services in (a) 1999–2000 and (b) 2000–01. [3828]

Jacqui Smith: Information from health authorities and national health service trusts showing the proportion of total NHS spend used to provide mental health services in 1999–2000 will be available in early August. Information for 2000–01 will be available early August 2002.


Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has received on the carcinogenic, toxic and psychotic effects of smoking cannabis; and if he will place it in the Library. [4156]

Yvette Cooper: A report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, published on 11 November 1998, included a review of available evidence on the effects of cannabis. The report is available in the Library.

The Department has funded three literature reviews of various aspects of cannabis. The following reports are also available in the Library.

A further study, "Long Term Heavy Cannabis Use: Patterns and Problems" is due to be completed in September 2001.

Public Appointments

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the proportion was of (a) women and (b) black and Asian non-executive members of health authorities and

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NHS trusts in May 1997; and what were the proportions appointed in (i) 1997–98, (ii) 1998–99, (iii) 1999–2000 and (iv) 2000–01. [3489]

Ms Blears: The proportions of non-executive directors, including chairs, on the boards of national health service trusts and health authorities for each year since May 1997 who were women, or black or from an ethnic minority background, are shown in the table in percentage terms.


Proportion of non-executives and chairs who were women39.842.648.449,349.2
Proportion of non-executives and chairs who were black or from an ethnic minority5.87.810.511.812.4

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