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Health Care Professionals

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether it is his intention that health care professionals who refuse to provide him with patient information will face fines. [61425]

Mr. Lammy: The possibility of a doctor being fined for refusing to disclose information on ethical grounds was a concern voiced during the affirmative procedure debates on the regulations. While the imposition of such a fine cannot be ruled out, circumstances where it would be the appropriate response are difficult to imagine. It is more likely that the involvement of appropriate bodies such as the General Medical Council would be the appropriate response.

Research Projects

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the future of long-term funding of dual support for externally-funded research projects. [61465]

Ms Blears: The Department continues to provide resources in the national health service (NHS) to secure research funded through the dual support system. In March 2000, my noble Friend the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath announced the development programme for NHS research and development (R&D) funding set out in "Research and Development for a First Class Service: R&D funding in the new NHS". This includes transparent and accountable arrangements for targeting NHS funding on providing the NHS base for high quality science and

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on meeting the NHS costs of supporting high quality R&D under appropriate standards of strategic direction and quality assurance.

Cervical Smear Tests

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for results of cervical smear tests in each of the London health authorities was in (a) March 2001 and (b) March 2002. [61432]

Ms Blears: The information is not available in the format requested. Information on waiting times for screening test results is only available for those areas where the result letters are sent to women directly by the health authorities (around two thirds of health authorities do this).

In 2000–01, 60 per cent. of women in these health authorities received their written cervical screening test result within six weeks (54 per cent. in London). 91 per cent. (84 per cent. in London) received their written result within 10 weeks. It is likely that even where a letter is sent, general practitioners will notify their patients by more rapid means as soon as they have a result.

Guidance from the national health service cervical screening programme states that women should have to wait no longer than six weeks for the written results of their cervical smear test. It is regrettable when delays occur and we look to the relevant trust and health authority to work together to address the reasons for any delay.

Bowel Cancer

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is available for the treatment of bowel cancer at Chase Farm hospital in Enfield. [61452]

Ms Blears: This information is not held by the Department.

Tuberculosis

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the trends in the incidence of TB in England in the last five years; and if he will make a statement on the reasons for changes. [61136]

Ms Blears: Data taken from five-yearly surveys of tuberculosis undertaken in 1988, 1993 and 1998 show that the incidences of TB are multi-factorial taking into consideration geographic distribution, ethnic distribution, age, place of birth and other risk factors of developing TB.

Tuberculosis is a disease that we take very seriously and we continue to develop and implement programmes to improve TB control.

Toxoplasma Gondii

Mr. Plaskitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the UK are known to be infected by toxoplasma gondii; how many reported deaths from toxoplasma gondii infection there have been in each of the last five years; and what research is being sponsored by the Department into the causes and treatment of toxoplasma gondii. [61146]

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Ms Blears: There is no current data available on the number of people known to be infected with toxoplasma gondii, as toxoplasmosis, the infection associated with toxoplasma gondii, is not a disease reportable under the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations 1988. However, the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) has received the following confirmed laboratory reports for Toxoplasma gondii in England and Wales for the years 1999 to 2001:

YearNumber
1999610
2000662
2001551

The numbers of deaths from toxoplasma gondii infection are not known, as the Office for National Statistics does not collect these statistics.

There are two projects on the causes and treatment of toxoplasma gondii currently sponsored by the Department. These are:


Deep Vein Thrombosis

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients with deep vein thrombosis were treated by the NHS in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. [61520]

Ms Blears: The information shown in the table is the number of admissions to national health service hospitals in England where the patient's main diagnosis was deep vein thrombosis.

YearFinished consultant episode
1998–9924,871
1999–200025,155
2000–0124,903

Notes:

1. Admissions are defined as the first period of patient care under one consultant within one health care provider. Admissions do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

2. Figures are only given for NHS hospital in-patient admissions; there are no figures available for patients diagnosed or treated elsewhere. The figures are the latest available.

3. The figures for 1998–99 to 1999–2000 are grossed for both coverage and invalid/unknown clinical data, but the figures for 2000–01 have not yet been adjusted for shortfalls in data (ie it is ungrossed).

Source:

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) code used: 180.2


Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated time is between the formation of blood clots in the lower limbs of air travellers and the development of a deep vein thrombosis. [61521]

Ms Blears: The formation of a blood clot in the deep veins of the lower limbs is a deep vein thrombosis. People who sustain a blood clot/deep vein thrombosis in the

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lower limbs may or may not have symptoms. In those who do have symptoms, these may occur soon after and any time up to several weeks after the blood clot/ thrombosis occurred.

A two-year project by the World Health Organisation will start in June 2002 to establish whether there is a link between deep vein thrombosis and air travel.

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what proportion of long haul air travellers he estimates suffer from blood clots in their lower limbs; [61522]

Ms Blears: Information on the proportion of deep vein thromboses treated by the national health service which may have been travel related is not collected.

We do not yet have sufficient scientific understanding of whether there are elements specific to the aircraft cabin environment that can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis. For this reason the UK Government fully support the World Health Organisation's research into air travel and venous thromboembolism and has agreed to provide up to £1.2 million in funding for this work. The two-year project will start in June 2002.

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what records are kept by the NHS on the incidence of thromboembolic diseases among air travellers; [61524]

Ms Blears: The national health service does not currently record the travel history of patients with thromboembolic disease as a matter of routine. However, we recognise the importance of improving the understanding of any link between air travel and deep vein thrombosis. The United Kingdom Government therefore fully support the aims of the World Health Organisation's research into air travel and venous thromboembolism and have agreed to provide up to £1.2 million in funding for this work. The two-year project will start in June 2002.

Any future plans to record such information will be informed by the outcome of this research.


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