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The Advisory Committee advises me on applications from the most senior Crown Servants to take up business appointments after leaving the Service, and it also gives advice directly to former Ministers on appointments they wish to accept after leaving office. The members of the Committee are unpaid, and I am grateful to them for the time they give to this role.
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Mr. Rammell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the outcome of the evaluation of the Quality Protects Management Action Plans submitted to his Department by local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: All local authorities with social services responsibilities submitted their Quality Protects Management Action Plans (MAPs) to the Department of Health by the end of January. The Social Services Inspectorate has now completed its evaluation of the MAPs, and I have considered their findings. I am pleased to announce that MAPs from all 150 local councils have reached an acceptable standard, with eight assessed as of particularly high quality. I have today written to the chief executives of the authorities to confirm that, subject to Parliamentary approval, they will receive payment of their allocation of the children's services special grant for 2000-01.
Local authorities have made a good start over the past year in implementing Quality Protects, which is making a real difference to the lives of children in need and in particular looked after children. We must maintain that momentum to deliver lasting and continued improvements in the way in which children's services are managed and delivered in order to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the annual expenditure allocated by his Department to (a) the Christie Hospital and (b) the Royal Marsden Hospital for cancer care and treatment, in the last three years for which figures are available. 
|Christie Hospital||Royal Marsden|
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the annual income of (a) the Christie Hospital and (b) the Royal Marsden Hospital was derived from the provision of private health care services, in the last three years for which figures are available. 
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Hospital for the years 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 which has been derived from the provision of private health care services is as follows:
|Royal Marsden Hospital|
The Medical Research Council (MRC) is the main agency through which the Government support research on the causes and treatment of disease. The MRC receives most of its income via grant in aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. The Department funds research to support policy development in health and social care, and to support effective practice in the National Health Service. The Department also provides NHS support funding for research commissioned by the MRC and charities that takes place in the NHS.
The approximate annual Government expenditure (Department of Health/NHS, MRC and other Government Departments--principally devolved health Departments) on breast cancer and prostate cancer are £9.33 million and £1.55 million respectively. These figures underestimate the total Government research expenditure in these areas, as detailed estimates of NHS support funding are not currently collected routinely.
Since 1997 the Government have committed an extra £800,000 to new research projects on prostate cancer, through the Medical Research Council and through the Department of Health. The Department has actively sought to support such work in prostate cancer, and has not rejected any high quality proposals for work in this area.
Following the seminar last year at No. 10 a "Cancer Research Funders' Forum" has been established to help improve the co-ordination of cancer research in the United Kingdom. It is being run by the MRC and includes departmental representatives and the major cancer research charities. At the Department's request, the Forum considered the issue of prostate cancer at its first meeting on 10 January. They agreed to set up an expert group on prostate cancer, which will identify gaps in current research and suggest ways of filling them. The expert group met for the first time on 25 February, and expects to report within months.
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We have recently appointed a National Cancer Director, Professor Mike Richards, who will spearhead our concerted drive on cancer. He will work in partnership with doctors, nurses, general practitioners, other health professionals and the voluntary sector to improve prevention and modernise cancer services to help ensure equitable access to high quality cancer care. This will include a close interest in the development and progression of research. The Government keep their priorities for research under review. In the NHS priorities are identified through widespread consultation with those using, delivering and managing services. They take account of the burden of disease, potential benefits and Government objectives as well as the responsibilities and work of other funders--including the charities.
Yvette Cooper: Information showing expenditure on cancer treatment by cancer site is not available. However, cancer services are estimated to account for 6.3 per cent. (£1.5 billion) of National Health Service hospital expenditure in England. This excludes cancer services not normally provided on an in-patient basis, for example cancer screening, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and community palliative cancer services.
The Department has commissioned work to improve overall NHS information, including national statistics on hospital prescribing, which will give us a more accurate method of recording hospital expenditure on cancer treatment.
Yvette Cooper: The efficiency and effectiveness of taxanes is currently being assessed by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. The process is still continuing but we expect the guidance to be issued shortly.
Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultants are employed in North East England; what strategy he has for dealing with shortages in the number of consultants; and how many were employed in each of the last five years. 
Overall, there is no sign of a national shortage of consultants, and where there are problems, these are in certain specialties or in particular geographical areas. Numbers continue to rise steadily and difficulties in filling vacancies are not widespread.
At national level we aim to ensure that there are enough doctors in training for there to be sufficient becoming fully trained specialists to meet the future needs of the National Health Service. At local level, it is for NHS trusts and health authorities, who are accountable for the services they provide, to determine the number, grade and
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mix of staff they require, in the light of local circumstances, in order to provide quality services to patients.
On 6 April I announced plans to train 393 extra hospital specialists. Added to the specialist doctors already in training, there should be an additional 13,000 fully trained hospital specialists in the National Health Service by 2006-07. The additional places will take forward our plans to increase capacity in the NHS, so that patients have easier access to faster, fairer and more convenient services.
|At 30 September|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. The North East of England is defined as the following Health Authorities: Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside, Gateshead and South Tyneside, Sunderland, County Durham and Tees.
3. Before 1996 some hospital medical staff were employed directly by the Regional Health Authority and so may not be included in these figures.
Department of Health medical and dental workforce census
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