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E.coli 0157

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Of the reports of Escherichia coli 0157 received to date by the Public Health Laboratory Service's Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre for the first 18 weeks of 1998, two incidents, involving three cases, have been associated through epidemiological and microbiological evidence with the consumption of specified food products. The specified foods were unpasteurised milk and cheese made from unpasteurised milk. The figures are provisional to date. The Department of Health's Food Incident Control Team was involved in dealing with the second incident, which concerned cheese originating from R. A. Duckett & Co. Ltd.

Food Safety

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Food Safety Act 1990 Section 8(2) sets out the circumstances when food fails to comply with food safety requirements. These circumstances are as follows:

20 Jul 1998 : Column WA76

Prostate Cancer Screening

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department of Health's decision not to screen for prostate cancer excludes selective screening even where research findings show that a particular group is at much higher risk of developing the condition.[HL2768]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Practitioners are free to test patients, including those who have evidence of a family history of prostate cancer. The key aim of any screening programme must be to secure a demonstrable improvement in health by increasing the length and quality of life. The National Screening Committee has advised that there is, as yet, no evidence that this would be achieved in relation to prostate cancer. The Government's policy, therefore, is to encourage early reporting and to ensure rapid referral of any patients with symptoms.

Prostate Cancer: Research Expenditure

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to Written Answer by the Baroness Jay of Paddington on 19 May (WA162-164), whether they will explain the basis for the statement that in contrast to lung cancer and pancreatic cancers, prostate cancer may be life-threatening, but many are slow growing and death occurs through other causes; and whether this explains the fall in government-funded research into prostate cancer from £141,000 in 1996-97 to only £47,000 in 1997-98.[HL2802]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Prostate cancer is common in older men and, while it can prove fatal, research suggests that many men with prostate cancer have no symptoms and die from other causes. Autopsy studies show that 30 per cent. of men over 59 who had no symptoms of prostate cancer while alive, have histological evidence of prostate cancer at the time of death. This percentage rises to over 50 per cent. in men over 80 years of age.

Fluctuations in departmental spending stem from the cycle of commissioning (as projects and programmes start and finish) rather than any policy to change funding levels. Prostate cancer has been identified as a priority area for Health Technology Assessment. This represents a significant commitment to prostate cancer research. The Department is about to commission research investigating the feasibility of conducting a multi-centre randomised trial of treatments for localised prostate cancer. The study, which is to begin later this year, will cost about £200,000 over a 12 month period.

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Cancer Treatment Waiting Times

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to Written Answer by the Baroness Jay of Paddington on 19 May (WA162-164), how much they estimate it would cost to make centrally available information on current waiting times for patients in need of radical therapy in the area of each health authority for:

    (a) all cancers;

    (b) breast cancer;

    (c) lung cancer; and

    (d) prostate cancer;[HL2770] and Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Jay of Paddington on 19 May (WA162-164), how much they estimate it would cost to make centrally available information on current waiting times for cancer patients in need of radical therapy in NHS hospitals in Birmingham, Leeds, London, and Manchester.[HL2771]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: A number of reviews are planned or are under way to consider the information needs at a national or local level to monitor the achievement of the cancer target within The New NHS, the proposed target within Our Healthier Nation and the provision of high quality cancer treatment and care. The measures set out in A First Class Service will strengthen our capacity to monitor and evaluate all aspects of care; providing information which can then be used to improve standards still further.

Haemophiliacs Infected with Hepatitis C

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people with haemophilia have been infected with hepatitis C by contaminated NHS blood products.[HL2805]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Department of Health estimates that around 4,000 people with haemophilia were infected with hepatitis C through blood products prior to the introduction of viral inactivation processes in 1985.

Department of Health: Reviews

Lord Tope asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many of the reviews currently being undertaken by the Department of Health will be published during the parliamentary summer Recess.[HL2789]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: There are two reviews which may be published during the summer Recess.

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Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority: Code of Practice

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have approved the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's Fourth Code of Practice.[HL2920]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's revised Code of Practice has been approved and was laid before the House on 17 July. Copies of the code have been placed in the Library.

Transport Programme Expenditure Plans

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will announce their expenditure plans for transport programmes, in the light of the publication of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review.[HL2922]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): We are today announcing, in conjunction with the publication of our Integrated Transport White Paper, plans to revitalise local and public transport. An extra £1.8 billion of funds will be made available for local transport, bus services, road maintenance and railways.

The table below shows my department's current plans to use the resources available for transport programmes.

These plans will secure greatly increased investment in transport infrastructure, through both increases in public spending in areas identified as priorities in our Integrated Transport White Paper and through partnership with the private sector. They will allow local authorities to spend almost twice as much on their transport programmes in 2001-02 as they do now.

Extra public spending on rail services will bring in substantial amounts of private investment and, by removing bottlenecks in the network, real improvements for passengers and freight in support of our objective of reducing car use.

The plans involve:

    £700 million more for local authorities to establish 150 new local transport plans and to restore cuts in maintenance of their principal roads;

    £300 million more for local bus services. Buses have a major contribution to make to developing more sustainable transport policies. The Government have already allocated this year an extra £50 billion for rural transport;

    more than £300 million additional resources for the rail industry (including support for the Channel Tunnel Rail link) on top of the annual subsidy of over £1 billion to rail operators for existing franchise contracts. These new resources will allow for extra freight grants, and extra funds to be made available from two new sources--the Infrastructure

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    Investment Fund and the Rail Passenger Partnership Scheme;

    over £400 million extra spending on the trunk road and motorway network with priority given to maintenance of the existing trunk road network and to making better use of it;

    resources for the new mayor to pursue an integrated transport strategy for London as soon as the Greater London Authority is set up and to allow the acceleration of various initiatives in the capital.

These plans reflect the reduced demands on public support for the London Underground from 2000-01 as a result of the new public private partnership arrangements. These were announced on 20 March, along with £365 million additional resources for this year and next. The plans will allow £7 billion of investment to take place in the Underground over the next 15 years. The expenditure plans also take account of the reduced subsidy required for train operating companies, who are contractually committed to maintaining service levels and improving performance while receiving less subsidy. All these savings taken together amount to £1.9 billion over three years.

More details of how extra spending on the trunk and motorway network will be targeted will be given when the roads review is published.

£ millions

Programme area within Departmental Expenditure Limit:
Motorway and trunk roads1,3501,4071,5361,580
Local Transport523598695987
Support for local buses(1)262313355425
Railways (Domestic and International)1,7581,5691,4901,630
Transport programmes in London(2)599436128157
Other transport186227266261

(1) Bus fuel duty rebate, rural bus grants and concessionary bus fares for the elderly.

(2) Includes London Transport (and Croydon Tramlink) and other transport programmes currently administered by the Government Office for London. Excludes spending in London on trunk roads and motorways by the Highways Agency and support for transport capital expenditure by the boroughs from the local transport settlement. Includes no provision for London Underground from 2000-01, from when a PPP is planned to be in place.

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