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28 Oct 2002 : Column 663Wcontinued
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the annual expenditure per person under the age of 18 on mental health services in (a) England, (b) each NHS region and (c) each health authority in each of the last six years. 
Ms Blears: When the Department becomes aware of an impending licence for a significant new cancer treatment it is considered for referral to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). The appraisal process takes a minimum of 54 weeks from referral to completion as it has been designed to allow the full participation of patients, clinicians, companies and stakeholders. NICE is fully aware of the need to ensure that the process is as streamlined as possible, without losing any of the important safeguards it contains, in order to publish guidance soon after the treatments are launched.
Ms Blears: The Government recognises the importance of physical activity to improving health and has set up a programme of activity to increase rates of physical activity. Together with the Countryside
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Agency and Sport England, the Department is developing a programme of local exercise action pilots (LEAPs), which will test out different community approaches to increasing physical activity. The results will inform and lead action on physical activity across the National Health service.
Local strategies to increase physical activity are being developed as part of the national service framework for coronary heart disease. To support the development of local physical activity programmes, the Department published a national quality assurance framework for exercise referral systems in April 2001. This offers guidance to primary care and fitness professionals who work together to offer tailored exercise programmes to patients whose health would benefit from increased exercise.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has considered the case for primary care trusts having physical activity co-ordinators within their public health teams. 
Ms Blears: The issue of whether Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) should appoint physical activity co-ordinators as part of their public health teams is a matter for local determination. However, what is clear is that PCTs have a role in delivering improvements to public health, including increasing rates of physical activity. In order to assist PCTs in this, together with the Countryside Agency and Sport England, the Department is developing a programme of local exercise action pilots (LEAPs) to test out different approaches to increasing physical activity.
This programme will fund one pilot in each of the nine regions in England. Pilots will be led by PCTs and based in neighbourhood renewal areas and some will also involve sport action zones. The ongoing results will inform and lead action on physical activity across the National Health Service.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has considered the case for a cross departmental strategy at national, regional and local level for joined-up action and funding to improve physical activity levels. 
Ms Blears: The Government recognises the importance of a strategic approach in order to increase rates of physical activity. This Department works closely with other Government Departments to ensure that policy initiatives on health, sport and recreation, education and transport are co-ordinated and contribute to our shared goal of increasing access and rates of physical activity. This has been backed up by significant investment, including #581 million from the new opportunities fund for a physical education and sports programme, #459 million to transform physical education, school sport and club links over the next three years and #2.5 million for a new programme of local exercise action pilots, led by primary care trusts (PCTs).
At a national level, Ministers from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health have regular monthly meetings to ensure joint working and co-ordination on issues relating to physical activity and sport. The Department of Health has also set up a
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national alliance on physical activity that draws together policy makers, experts and practitioners to share local experiences and learning on strategies, plans and practices to increase physical activity.
At a regional level the positioning of regional directors of public health and their teams in the Government offices of the regions provides a very real opportunity to make connections across policy areas that will support increased physical activity.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on prescribing the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in each of the last three years, broken down by NHS trust; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for post-surgery radiotherapy in (a) Southampton Hospital and (b) the nearest three units which provide similar services has been in the last year for which figures are available; what clinical guidance is on such waiting times; and if he will make a statement. 
The NHS Cancer Plan sets out new goals to reduce waiting times for diagnosis and treatment. The ultimate goal is that no one should wait longer than one month from an urgent referral for suspected cancer to the beginning of treatment, except for a good clinical reason or through patient choice. In order to tackle radiotherapy waiting times we are making unprecedented investment in new radiotherapy facilities, streamlining care processes through the cancer services collaborative and working to best utilise the current workforce and to increase the number of staff in post and in training.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations his Department has received concerning the success of the 'education and support programme for district and community nurses in the principles and practice of palliative care; 
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Ms Blears: Funding of #6 million over three years has been made available to train and support district and community nurses in the principles and practice of palliative care. Bids were invited in April 2001 with one project from each cancer network being chosen. The projects were required to reflect collaboration between education provider(s); training recipients; specialist palliative healthcare professionals; and education consortia/confederations and demonstrate a multi-professional approach to the training provision. Details of the projects can be found on the web at www.doh.gov/cancer/edusup.htm
We are in the second year of the programme. All reports received so far suggest that the project is proving beneficial and is being well received by district and community nurses. The project will be evaluated.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when a full review will be published on current progress in implementing the Government Prostate Cancer Programme issued in December 2000. 
Ms Blears: Good progress has been made since the national health service prostate cancer programme was published on 6 September 2000. All targets within the programme have been achieved, and the planned increase in consultant urologists is currently being exceeded.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from (a) Public Health Laboratory Service Management and (b) trades unions concerning (i) the transfer of local public health laboratories from Public Health Laboratory Service central organisation to hospital trusts; and (ii) the timing of implementation of the transfer; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: A discussion document on the proposals was issued in June 2002, and representations were received from the PHLS Board and from Amicus and the British Medical Association on both the detail of the proposals and on the proposed timing. We sought to address issues raised in the final decisions about which laboratories would transfer to the NHS from 1 April 2003. This was announced on 3 September. Representations have since been received from Unison.
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