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Written Question
Genomics: Screening
Friday 9th February 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the availability of genomic testing.

Answered by Andrew Stephenson - Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The National Genomic Test Directory defines which genomic tests must be delivered by the NHS Genomic Laboratory Hubs in England, as well as who is eligible for genomic testing. The directory currently covers testing for over 3,200 rare diseases and over 200 cancer clinical indications. NHS England regularly updates the directory, through a robust and evidence-based test evaluation process, to keep pace with scientific and technological advances, and to ensure that genomic testing is available for all patients for whom it would be of clinical benefit. Testing is available for all eligible patients across England.


Written Question
Cancer: Screening
Thursday 8th February 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of variations in access to genetic and genomic testing for cancer through the NHS Genomics Medicine Service; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce these variations.

Answered by Andrew Stephenson - Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The seven NHS Genomic Medicine Service Alliances raise awareness of genomics among healthcare professionals and support delivery of equitable access to genomic testing, clinical genetics, and genomic counselling services. NHS England has also established the NHS Genomics Ethics, Equity and Legal Advisory Group to ensure that the NHS Genomic Medicine Service (NHS GMS) provides equitable access to all patients. The group will identify and review appropriate datasets to inform health inequalities analysis of the NHS GMS, and identify actions to address inequalities.


Written Question
Cancer: Medical Treatments
Thursday 8th February 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the impact of trends in average waiting times for biomarker and genomic testing on waiting times for cancer treatment.

Answered by Andrew Stephenson - Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

NHS England has implemented capturing of Patient Level Contract Monitoring data across the National Health Service Genomic Laboratory Hubs (GLHs) to facilitate a national approach to reporting and validating activity data and turnaround times. This will enable NHS England to understand activity volumes, detect any backlogs, and institute recovery. NHS England undertakes a quarterly assurance process with each of the NHS GLHs to monitor improvements in turnaround times to ensure these are being met in every region and for all patients.

NHS England is also undertaking a programme of work alongside clinical experts, including the Medical Royal Colleges, to establish clinically relevant cancer turnaround times across diagnosis, prognosis, treatment determining clinical use cases and optimising cancer pathways to ensure genomic test results are provided in a clinically relevant timeframe.


Written Question
Genomics: Screening
Thursday 8th February 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will take steps to ensure future NHS genomic testing publications include data on access to different cancer tests based on an individual's (a) ethnicity, (b) socioeconomic status and (c) type of cancer test.

Answered by Andrew Stephenson - Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

National Health Service genomic testing activity data, collected from all seven NHS Genomic Laboratory Hubs, is available on the NHS England website. NHS England will continue to publish this data on a quarterly basis. The published data indicates the total volume of genomic testing activity completed per month, broken down into cancer and rare and inherited disease. The cancer data is further separated into nine different categories of cancer. NHS England is looking into separating this further if there are other specific categories of cancer test type which would be of interest. The published data does not currently include data broken down by ethnicity or socioeconomic status, but NHS England’s ambition is to improve and expand future publications of the data, which may include areas relating to health inequalities.


Written Question
Dental Services
Thursday 7th December 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care during the Westminster Hall debate on Healthcare Services: Carshalton and Wallington on 23 May 2023, Official Report, Column 71WH, what progress her Department has made on producing a radical dentistry plan.

Answered by Andrea Leadsom - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

We are working on our Dentistry Recovery Plan which will address how we continue to improve access, particularly for new patients; and how we make National Health Service work more attractive to ensure NHS dentists are incentivised to deliver more NHS care.

Our Dentistry Recovery Plan will build upon the first package of reforms agreed in July 2022, which included changes to banding and the introduction of a minimum Units of Dental Activity value. Our plan will include addressing how we continue to improve access, particularly for new patients; and how we make NHS work more attractive to ensure NHS dentists are incentivised to deliver NHS care.


Written Question
HIV Infection: Drugs
Thursday 16th November 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral statement from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on Community Pharmacies, Official Report, Column 450WH, whether his Department's PrEP roadmap will include plans to make PrEP accessible (a) online, (b) in pharmacies and (c) in GPs surgeries.

Answered by Andrea Leadsom - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group (ISG) is developing a roadmap to help guide our efforts to improve equitable access, uptake and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to meet the needs of key populations at significant risk of HIV. This forms part of the group’s work to monitor and drive forward the implementation of the HIV Action Plan.

HIV PrEP is currently only prescribed at specialist sexual health services, but as we work towards our 2030 ambitions, we will explore opportunities for making it available in a variety of settings. The PrEP roadmap takes into consideration actions needed to improve HIV PrEP access pathways in settings other than specialist sexual health services, including online, general practitioner services and pharmacies, to enable potential future delivery in other settings. The roadmap is expected to be made available by the HIV Action Plan ISG before the end of the year.


Written Question
HIV Infection: Prescription Drugs
Thursday 16th November 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help tackle inequalities in access to PrEP.

Answered by Andrea Leadsom - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group (ISG) is developing a roadmap to help guide our efforts to improve equitable access, uptake and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to meet the needs of key populations at significant risk of HIV. This forms part of the group’s work to monitor and drive forward the implementation of the HIV Action Plan. The roadmap is expected to be made available by the HIV Action Plan ISG before the end of the year.

HIV PrEP is routinely available in specialist sexual health services throughout the country since March 2020 and we have invested more than £34 million in PrEP in 2020/21 and 2021/22. PrEP funding has been fully included within the public health grant since 2022/23 and funds appointments and testing in sexual health services, whilst NHS England covers the costs of the drug itself. The PrEP monitoring and evaluation framework was published by the UK Health Security Agency in March 2022 and consists of a series of indicators to support local authorities and inform service improvement in PrEP commissioning and delivery, providing local areas with information that can help them address inequalities in uptake of PrEP.


Written Question
HIV Infection: Drugs
Thursday 26th October 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make PrEP available (a) online, (b) in pharmacies and (c) in GP surgeries.

Answered by Neil O'Brien

The HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group (ISG) is developing a roadmap to help guide our efforts to improve equitable access, uptake and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to meet the needs of key populations at significant risk of HIV. This forms part of the group’s work to monitor and drive forward the implementation of the HIV Action Plan.

HIV PrEP is currently only prescribed at specialist sexual health services, but as we work towards our 2030 ambitions we will explore opportunities for making it available in a variety of settings. The PrEP roadmap considers actions needed to improve HIV PrEP access pathways in settings other than specialist sexual health services, including online, general practitioner services and pharmacies, to enable potential future delivery in other settings. The roadmap is expected to be made available by the ISG by the end of the year.


Written Question
Migraines
Wednesday 25th October 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the (a) impact of migraines on levels of economic inactivity and (b) potential impact of reducing migraine diagnosis times on levels of economic inactivity.

Answered by Will Quince

To reduce the time taken to diagnose conditions such as migraines, NHS England has published a delivery plan for recovering access to primary care. As part of this plan, the National Health Service will deliver on the commitment of 26,000 more direct patient care staff and 50 million more appointments in general practice by March 2024.

To step up our focus on tackling rising economic inactivity due to long-term sickness, including those living with migraine, the Government announced a further wide-reaching package at the Spring Budget to support disabled people and people with health conditions to work.  Initiatives include a work coach support for disabled people and people with health conditions, as well as introducing a new supported employment programme (Universal Support) which focuses on providing faster access to joined-up work and health support.

The Department does not hold specific information on the impact of migraines on levels of economic activity.


Written Question
Hospital Wards: Transgender People
Monday 23rd October 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on whether (a) trans women with a gender recognition certificate will be banned from and (b) trans men will be expected to use female wards; and whether this policy will apply in all (i) healthcare settings and (ii) circumstances.

Answered by Maria Caulfield - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)

It is imperative that National Health Service trusts respect the privacy and dignity of patients. The Government has been clear that patients should not have to share sleeping accommodation with others of the opposite sex and should have access to segregated bathroom and toilet facilities. NHS England’s Delivering Same-Sex Accommodation Guidance outlines the approach that should be taken to placing trans patients on single-sex wards. The guidance is being updated and a revised version will be published in due course.

My Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, recently announced that proposals to protect the privacy, dignity and safety of patients will be brought forward later this year as part of the routine update of the NHS Constitution and its Handbook. Any measures consulted on will be fully in line with the Equality Act 2010, respecting the rights of all patients in hospital settings.