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Yvette Cooper: Individually and collectively the National Health Service trusts in Shropshire have achieved real terms savings in management costs. The three acute trusts are all in the upper quartile for achieving management costs efficiency for the West Midlands region.
|Royal Shrewsbury Hospital||103|
|Princess Royal Hospital||25|
|Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt||112|
|Shropshire's Community and Mental Health(22)||656|
(22) The high level of savings from Shropshire's Community and Mental Health NHS trust is due to the merger of two trusts.
West Midlands Regional Office
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 22 March 2001]: The Department obtains advice on potential health risks associated with electromagnetic fields (EMF) from the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB). In a report published on 6 March the NRPB's advisory group on non-ionising radiation has provided an assessment of the potential risks of cancer from extremely low frequency EMFs, (documents of the NRPB Vol. 12, No 1, 2001) and copies have been placed in the Library.
The board of the NRPB also published a response statement that can be found on the NRPB website www.nrpb.org.uk. The statement includes the following points. From the findings of the main study in this country
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(United Kingdom childhood cancer study) the higher levels of magnetic fields are not attributable solely to proximity to power lines. The conclusions of the report indicate that the question whether exposure to electromagnetic fields can influence the development of cancer cannot at present be completely resolved. The report made a number of specific research recommendations. The board also considers that the report provides no additional scientific evidence to require a change in exposure guidelines.
The Department will consider carefully the recommendations of the NRPB and commission appropriate research in the light of that which is already under way. Current research includes Government- funded studies in this country and support for the multinational EMFs project set up and co-ordinated by the World Health Organisation.
Mr. Denham: We asked the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to conduct an authoritative appraisal of beta interferon and glatiramer acetate in August 1999. We expect NICE to produce its authoritative guidance on these drugs in November 2001, provided there are no appeals.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the same criteria of cost effectiveness applied to beta interferons and copaxone were applied in the appraisal of Orlistat for the treatment of obesity. 
Mr. Denham: Guidance on how the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) should carry out its appraisals is contained in Annexe C of its framework document. The detailed application of the approach is a matter for NICE.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria are to be used in the economic modelling to measure the cost effectiveness of disease modifying MS drugs being assessed by NICE. 
Mr. Denham: Detailed issues of the appraisal process are a matter for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). I understand that NICE is currently discussing additional economic modelling with relevant interested parties.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received concerning the decision by NICE to delay issuing guidance on beta interferon and glatiramer acetate (copaxone). 
Mr. Denham: On 22 December the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced that it was extending the time scale for its appraisal of beta interferon and glatiramer acetate to enable further modelling to be undertaken on their cost effectiveness. Since that date my Department's records indicate receipt of approximately 300 written representations from hon. Members, patient groups and the public about the current arrangements for
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prescribing and funding of beta interferon. I have also met representatives of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, the MS Research Trust and the Association of British Neurologists.
Mr. Denham: It is because there appeared to be genuine uncertainty over the appropriate use of beta interferon, which was reflected in different prescribing patterns across the country, that we asked the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to conduct an authoritative appraisal of the evidence on disease- modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis. We expect NICE to produce its authoritative guidance in November, provided there are no appeals.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many additional non-surgical cancer consultants are in post in the NHS in England; and how many were in post on the date of publication of the NHS Plan; 
(3) if all cancer consultants appointed up to 2006 in the NHS, if trained in the United Kingdom, will have been in training before 1 May 1997; 
(4) what the percentage increase is in NHS consultants in England, expressed as an annualised percentage rate (a) between 1994 and 1997 and (b) between 1997 and the projected figure according to the targets set out in the NHS Plan for 2006; 
(5) what analysis his Department has made of trends in the rate of growth in consultant numbers in the period (a) 1997 to 2000 and (b) 1994 to 1997; 
(6) which Minister took the decision to include the figure of nearly 1,000 as the target for growth in numbers of non-surgical cancer consultants by 2006; 
(7) pursuant to his oral statement of 13 March 2001, Official Report, column 805, by what date the target of nearly 1,000 additional non-surgical cancer consultants by 2006 included in the NHS Plan will be met; and what advice he received from Professor Mike Richards on the prospects for meeting the target. 
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Director, Professor Mike Richards. It states that the increases of 971 in the number of non-surgical cancer consultants will be achieved by 2006.
The typical training period for these specialties is three to six years, so of those appointed through higher specialist training in the United Kingdom, virtually all will have entered higher specialist training after 1997.
Consultant numbers increased by 4.2 per cent. per year between 1997 and 1999, and will increase by 7.2 per cent. per year over the NHS Plan period. Direct comparison with the period 1994 to 1997 would be misleading, because the method of data collection changed in 1995 when data were collected directly from National Health Service trusts for the first time.
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