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Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many ambulance vehicles were involved in (a) slight injuries, (b) serious injuries and (c) fatal accidents in the last five years. [67435]

Mr. Lammy: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on ambulance response times for the Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. [66898]

Mr. Lammy: Staffordshire Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust has consistently been one of the best performers for "Category A" response times in the United Kingdom. In 2001–02, they not only exceeded the national target of 75 per cent. of calls responded to within eight minutes, but also exceeded the target for 2002–03 of 80 per cent of calls responded to within eight minutes. Their response rate was listed by the National Audit office in figures published recently as achieving an average of 87.5 per cent., the top performer in the UK. The trust is to be commended on their continuing excellent response rates.

Yellow Card Scheme

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) adverse incidents and (b) deaths have been reported under the yellow card scheme since 1997 involving (i) proprietary analgesics, (ii) aspirin- based products, (iii) paracetamol-based products, (iv) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-based products and (v) anti-histamines. [67424]

Mr. Lammy: Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to medicines are collected by the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) and the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the yellow card scheme.

The number of suspected ADR reports including reports with a fatal outcome received via the yellow card scheme from 1 January 1997 to 4 July 2002 for aspirin-based products, paracetamol-based products, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) based products and anti-histamines are provided in the following table.

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No. of ADR reportsNo. of reports with a fatal outcome

Proprietary analgesics are difficult to define as a group and include aspirin-based, paracetamol-based and NSAID based products, the data for which are provided in the table above. These data should be seen in the context of the very wide usage of these drugs with millions of patients being treated every year in the United Kingdom.

It is important to note that submission of a suspected ADR report does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the drug. Many factors have to be taken into account in assessing causal relationships including temporal association, the possible contribution of concomitant medication and the underlying disease.

Data from the yellow card scheme cannot be used to measure the frequency of an adverse reaction as it is associated with a degree of underreporting which varies between different medicines.

The MCA/CSM has provided guidance on safe prescribing of NSAIDs to health professionals in 1994 and most recently in April 2002.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent by the NHS on (a) cancer research and (b) cancer treatment in each of the last three years. [67801]

Ms Blears: Total Department and National Health Service expenditure in England for cancer research was £77.4 million in 1999–2000 and £83.8 million in 2000–01. Figures for 2001–02 are not yet available.

The Department does not collect figures on the cost of NHS services in a way that enables an accurate figure to be calculated for the cost of a particular disease.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of Datamonitor's recently published research on five year cancer survival rates. [68279]

Ms Blears: The Datamonitor survey was based on survival rates for cancer patients diagnosed over a decade ago. These figures showed that survival rates in this country were lower than for comparable European countries. That is why, in September 2000, we published the NHS Cancer Plan which sets out a programme of action to improve cancer prevention, detection, treatment and research which are intended to bring our survival rates in line with the rest of Europe.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what epidemiology studies his Department have carried out to investigate the causes of cancer clusters. [67136]

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Ms Blears: The Department has funded a number of epidemiology studies on specific cancer clusters. The following studies were commissioned from the Small Area Health Statistics Unit at Imperial College and all are published in the scientific literature:

The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) recommended (COMARE Third Report) an investigation of the geographical distribution of childhood cancer and leukaemia in Great Britain and how the pattern of cases around nuclear installations compares with the national pattern. A study has been commissioned by the Department of Health Radiological Protection Research Programme (RPRP) and is a multicentre study co-ordinated by the childhood cancer research group in Oxford. This study is nearing completion and the Department has asked COMARE to advise on which, if any, nuclear installations in Great Britain have incidences of childhood cancer and leukaemia in their vicinity which are statistically outside the distribution seen nationally. COMARE is hoping to report on this aspect of the study to the Department in 2003. The study is investigating, among other topics, clustering as a feature of childhood cancer. This will be broken down as leukaemia and other childhood cancers and other groupings considered relevant. The study will also relate leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma around nuclear installations to the Great Britain clustering analysis.

When complete, the database will also allow investigation of other environmental factors and their potential relevance to the temporal and spatial distribution of childhood cancer.

The RPRP is also funding a study into the possible association between childhood cancer, electromagnetic fields (emf) and powerlines. The Department also contributes to the Electromagnetic Field project, which is examining possible associations between emf and general disease patterns (including cancer).

Breast Cancer

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Health Authority in each of the last five years; what the local survival rate is; how much funding has been given to breast cancer treatment in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [67421]

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Ms Blears: Information held centrally on diagnoses of breast cancer in the former Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and

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South East Hampshire Health Authority area is shown in the table.

Finished consultant episodes (FCEs) where the main diagnosis was "Malignant neoplasm of breast" or "Carcinoma in situ of breast", for patients resident in Isle of Wight and Portsmouth & South East Hampshire Health Authority

Health Authority1996–971997–981998–991999–20002000–01
QD2 Portsmouth & South East Hampshire HA471558531494836
QD4 Isle of Wight HA451498508548249


1. An FCE is defined as a period of patient care under one consultant in one health care provider. The figures do not represent the number of patients, as one person may have several episodes within the year.

2. The main diagnosis is the first of seven diagnosis fields in the HES data set, and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital.

3. Data in this table are adjusted for both coverage and unknown/invalid clinical data, except for 2000–01 which are not yet adjusted for shortfalls.


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health.

Additional information on registrations and survival rates can be found in the Compendium of Clinical and Health Indicators 2001, which is available on national centre for health outcomes website. Information on breast cancer is also available on the National Statistics website.

The mortality rates for the former health authority area have decreased over the last decade but do remain high compared to the rest of the country, as do the average life years lost for women under 75 years. The breast cancer group of the central south coast cancer network is to examine in more detail the apparent variations and to review all treatment protocols to ensure they follow best practice.

The funding allocated to local breast cancer services is determined by the health authority and, for that reason, figures are not held centrally.

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