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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the difference in cancer survival rates between the UK and other European countries; and if he will make a statement. [10748]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 31 October 2001]: The NHS Cancer Plan detailed that while other developed countries have broadly similar incidence of cancer, there is evidence to suggest that, for many cancers, survival

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rates for patients diagnosed a decade ago are lower in this country than in comparable European countries. The actions set out in the plan will mean that England will have the fastest improvement in cancer services across Europe over the next five years and eventually a reduction in the death rate from cancer among people aged under 75 years by at least 20 per cent. by 2010.

Dental Services

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of those aged 18 years and over were registered with a general dental service dentist in (a) each health authority and (b) in total in England for the last two years for which figures are available. [13618]

Ms Blears: The percentage of the population aged 18 years and over registered with a general dental service dentist is given in the table for September 2000 and September 2001 by health authority in England. Registrations last for 15 months from the month in which a patient attends. They are renewed when a patient returns to the dentist. Patients attending occasionally are included only for 15 months after attendance.

Number of adult registrations as a percentage of adult population(10) at 30 September 2000 and 30 September 2001—England

30 September
Health Authority within region 20012000
Northern and Yorkshire49.449.3
Calderdale and Kirklees52.852.8
County Durham and Darlington47.948.0
East Riding and Hull42.441.9
Gateshead and South Tyneside52.451.1
Newcastle and North Tyneside48.950.2
North Cumbria47.246.0
North Yorkshire49.549.3
North Derbyshire41.040.2
North Nottinghamshire55.854.8
Southern Derbyshire44.845.4
South Humber49.648.9
West Midlands42.842.8
North Staffordshire39.138.0
South Staffordshire40.340.9
North West48.549.0
Bury and Rochdale45.845.5
East Lancashire41.246.3
Morecambe Bay48.447.4
North Cheshire48.048.2
North West Lancashire49.150.3
Salford and Trafford47.449.3
South Cheshire47.946.5
South Lancashire42.440.3
St Helens and Knowsley47.246.8
West Pennine48.248.7
Wigan and Bolton51.251.5
North Essex46.346.9
South Essex41.141.5
Barking and Havering38.838.8
Barnet, Enfield and Haringey35.635.0
Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich32.832.6
Brent and Harrow44.044.1
Camden and Islington45.646.6
Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow40.038.8
East London and The City50.050.5
Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster28.730.5
Kingston and Richmond26.728.0
Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham39.940.0
Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth38.738.9
Redbridge and Waltham Forest42.943.1
South East38.138.3
East Kent38.938.2
East Surrey35.035.6
East Sussex, Brighton and Hove44.144.4
Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and SE Hampshire39.440.0
North and Mid Hampshire40.940.5
Southampton and South West Hampshire44.545.2
West Kent36.635.3
West Surrey35.636.2
West Sussex41.540.8
South and West42.542.6
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly38.237.0
North and East Devon49.148.8
South and West Devon44.142.6

(10) Population figures used are Office for National Statistics 2000 mid-year population estimates.

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Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to increase the number of (i) dental practices and (ii) dentists in (a) Berkshire and (b) Slough; [14319]

Ms Blears: The number of general dental service dentists in Berkshire health authority is shown in the table at 30 September for the years (a) 1992, (b) 1997 and (c) 2001. The figures cover dentists whose main work is in the Berkshire health authority area. Data by constituency are not available centrally.

SeptemberNumber of GDS dentists

The number of general dental service dentists in the Berkshire health authority area has increased by 33 in the four years between September 1997 and September 2001. There were 125 general dental service practices in Berkshire on 30 September 2001 of which 45 were in Slough.

Berkshire health authority has developed an action plan for improving access to national health service dentistry in the county. The plan included proposals to encourage local dental practitioners to apply for additional dental care development funding. The health authority is also working with practitioners wishing to develop new or additional surgeries.

A personal dental service pilot is due to open in Slough shortly.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of people are registered for NHS dental care (a) in England and (b) in the Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland East, constituency. [16207]

Ms Blears [holding answer 19 November 2001]: 60 per cent. of the population in Tees Health Authority were registered with a general dental service dentist at the end of September 2001. The proportion in England was 47 per cent. Information is not available at constituency level.

Ambulance Services

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on the proposed merger of Hampshire and Surrey ambulance services; [13687]

Ms Blears [holding answer 9 November 2001]: There has been a public consultation on proposals to establish new ambulance trusts in the south-east region including one to establish a new trust serving Hampshire and Surrey.

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The period of consultation ended on 7 September. There has been a large response to the proposals.

With regard to the proposals for Hampshire and Surrey, all 10 community health councils covering the area wrote jointly expressing their opposition to the proposals. Several also wrote individual letters of opposition.

A total of 34 organisations and individuals responded specifically to the proposals for Hampshire and Surrey, in addition to the CHCs. Of these, eight supported the proposals, 22 opposed them and four set out reservations, without opposing them. Copies of all written responses to the consultation will be placed in the Library.

Ministers are currently considering the responses. A decision on the review will be made taking account of the comments received.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the cost of the recent consultation on the future of Hampshire ambulance service. [15221]

Ms Blears [holding answer 16 November 2001]: The information requested is not available centrally.

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to provide Government funding for the provision of air ambulance services in (a) rural areas across the United Kingdom and (b) Lincolnshire. [15600]

Ms Blears: Air ambulances can have a role in delivering emergency care in rural areas and where road access is a problem. However, in 1995, the Department commissioned Sheffield university to report on air ambulances. The report failed to show clinical or cost benefits which would justify national health service investment. Currently, no air ambulance service receives public funding, although, in most cases the NHS continues to provide fully trained paramedics to crew these aircraft when they respond to emergencies. In recognition of growing public interest in this subject, further research has been commissioned into the contribution of air ambulances to the care and transportation of seriously ill patients in a modern NHS.

The provision and funding of air ambulance services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are matters for the devolved Assemblies.

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