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14 Dec 2005 : Column 2128W—continued

Breast Cancer

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of non-urgent referrals by general practitioners each year for investigations into possible breast cancer which are later identified as having breast cancer. [27559]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: All women with suspected breast cancer should be referred urgently by their general practitioner under the two week out-patient waiting time standard. From the data centrally collected, we cannot identify those women who were routinely referred with other breast conditions but who were subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer. The number of patients who were treated for breast cancer who were referred under the two week wait and those who were referred through other routes is shown in the table.
Number of patients treated for breast cancer who were urgently referred under the two week waitNumber of patients treated for breast cancer who were referred through other routes(45)Percentage of patients treated for breast cancer who were referred through other routes(45)

(45)Includes patients referred routinely with other breast conditions and those patients referred through the breast screening service.

The Cancer Plan target of 31 days from diagnosis with cancer to first treatment, to be achieved from December 2005, picks up those patients who are referred with other conditions but who are subsequently diagnosed with cancer to ensure they receive prompt treatment.

Cancelled Operations

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many operations were cancelled by Lancashire hospital trust (a) for medical reasons and (b) because of lack of beds at (i) Royal Preston hospital and (ii)Queen's Park hospital in each month between January 2004 and September 2005. [34523]

Mr. Byrne: The information is not available in the format requested. However, information relating to the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust and the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS trust is available on a quarterly basis which is shown in the following table.
Lancashire teaching hospitals NHS trust—cancelled operations

Number of last minute cancelled operations
Q4January to March145
Q1April to June102
Q2July to September114
Q3October to December059
Q4January March131
Q1April to June123
Q2July to September84

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East Lancashire hospitals NHS trust—cancelled operations

Number of last minute cancelled operations
Q4January to March166
Q1April to June176
Q2July to September156
Q3October to December127
Q4January to March130
Q1April to June112
Q2July to September82

1.Data are collected each quarter on an NHS trust basis only.
2.A last minute cancellation is one that occurs on the day the patient was due to arrive, after they have arrived in hospital, or on the day of their operation. For example, if the patient is to be admitted to hospital on a Monday for an operation scheduled for the following day (Tuesday). If the hospital cancels the operation for non-clinical reasons on the Monday then this would count as a last minute cancellation. This includes patients who have not actually arrived in hospital, but who have been telephoned at home prior to their arrival.
3.Some common non-clinical reasons for cancellations by the hospital include: ward beds unavailable; surgeon unavailable; other emergency patient needing theatre; theatre list over-run; equipment failure; administrative error; anaesthetist unavailable; theatre staff unavailable; and critical care bed unavailable.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department has taken to increase awareness of (a) breast and (b) prostate cancer among ethnic minority communities. [34930]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Together with Cancer Research UK, the Department produces the Be Breast Aware" leaflet, which advises women on how to be breast aware and what signs to watch for.

The leaflet is widely available from primary care surgeries and breast screening units and is available in Bengali, Chinese, Gurjarati, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu and Vietnamese.

Currently we are providing £58,710 to fund Breast Cancer Care's Here for you, Near to you" project, which aims to provide breast cancer information and awareness for ethnic minority groups.

We have previously provided Breakthrough Breast Cancer with £40,000 to fund their To develop the voice of breast cancer patients" project. This project was aimed at difficult to reach groups, ethnic minorities and socially disadvantaged.

Thanks to the work of the Prostate Cancer Advisory Group (PCAG) we now have, for the first time, a definitive set of key messages for the general public about the prostate, including prostate cancer. 20 voluntary, patient and professional groups have signed up to the key messages.
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A pilot communications programme using the key messages, jointly funded by the Department and signatories to the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, is expected to start in February 2006.

We are currently providing £105,000 to the Prostate Cancer Charity to improve awareness of the risks and symptoms of prostate cancer in African and Afro-Caribbean men in Britain. We have previously provided the Prostate Cancer Charity with £135,000 to fund a project to increase awareness of prostate cancer in all men.

Care Homes

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many residential care and nursing (a) homes and (b) places she estimates there will be in (i) 2005, (ii) 2006 and (iii) 2007. [34599]

Mr. Byrne: The Government believes that care homes are only one of a range of options that should be available to support people with long-term care needs.

The Department has made no formal estimate of the number of care home places available between 2005 and 2007. However, according to the latest United Kingdom market survey, published in September 2005 by the independent healthcare analysts Laing and Buisson, the level of spare capacity in the care home sector has remained the same over the last three years, at 10,000 to 15,000 places, despite the fall in the number of care home places.

Chase Farm Hospital

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the future provision of accident and emergency services at Chase Farm hospital. [30051]

Jane Kennedy: Responsibility for the provision of local services rests with local national health service organisations working in conjunction with local stakeholders and their strategic health authorities. I understand that the local disposition of services between Barnet hospital, which is a new private funded initiative funded hospital, and Chase Farm hospital is proposed to be the subject of an engagement exercise with local people. There is still much further work to be done taking into account the results of engagement before proposals reach the stage of formal consultation which is expected in the new year.

A strategic outline case has already been approved for an £80 million development on the Chase Farm site which would replace many of the old Victorian buildings. A revised outline business case is expected by the North Central London strategic health authority towards the end of November for the development which will need to be seen in the context of the future services on the site. It offers a good opportunity to replace unacceptable buildings and to demonstrate a commitment for appropriate services on the Chase Farm hospital site well into the future.

Choose and Book Programme

Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the likely
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effects of the Choose and Book programme not being fully operational on the predicted date on primary care trusts' ability to meet their targets; [32112]

(2) when the Choose and Book programme will become fully operational. [32123]

Mr. Byrne: Meeting the public service agreement targets on booking and choice is not dependent on the choose and book service, as manual systems are available. Implementation and utilisation of the choose and book service requires complex changes to local information technology systems and management and clinical staff practices, which presents considerable challenges. National roll-out of choose and book is progressing, supported by the Department and NHS Connecting for Health. Utilisation is now increasing rapidly and it is anticipated that this will continue through 2006.

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