Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Kingston upon Hull North)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has put in place to increase radiotherapy capacity to meet the demand generated by additional screening programmes set up in NHS Nightingale Hospitals; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 21 July 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic radiotherapy service provision has continued. In light of the need to minimise trips to hospital, particularly for people likely to be worse affected by COVID-19, radiotherapy services have made use of fewer fraction protocols as supporting evidence emerges. Recovery is now underway across the National Health Service – the focus for radiotherapy will be on embedding the use of hypofractionated (fewer fraction) treatments.

As part of the wider NHS recovery programme, local systems will need to determine how best to restore services and then reduce waiting lists. This might, in some areas, include the use of the independent sector.

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 26 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 June 2020 to Question 51867 on Radiotherapy: Medical Equipment, for what reason he did not provide the data requested on the estimated number of patients expected to receive proton beam therapy at (a) The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and (b) University College London Hospitals in the first year the machines become operational.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 21 July 2020
Holding answer received on 01 July 2020

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) Centre treated 160 patients with PBT in its first year of operation (December 2018 – December 2019).

University College London Hospital PBT Centre has a similar ramp up plan, and it is anticipated will treat a similar number of patients in its first year of operation.

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 26 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 June 2020 to Question 51866 on Radiotherapy: Medical Equipment, for what reason he did not provide the data requested on the estimated cost to the public purse of purchasing and installing proton beam therapy machines at the two UK treatment centres (a) to date and (b) to the point at which those machines become operational.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 21 July 2020
Holding answer received on 01 July 2020

The Government has invested £250 million in the development of the two PBT centres at The Christie Hospital in Manchester and University College London Hospital. This included construction of the centres and the purchase and installation of the equipment.

Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Breast Cancer: Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of patients who have had shorter courses of breast radiotherapy as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 01 July 2020
Holding answer received on 11 June 2020

The data requested is not currently available.

Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 05 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned timescale is for the roll-out of Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 29 June 2020
Holding answer received on 10 June 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement expect that all radiotherapy providers will be able to deliver Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy to treat non-small cell lung cancer as well as lung, lymph node and non-spine bone oligometastatic disease by March 2021.

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
University College Hospital: Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the proton beam therapy machine at University College Hospital London is planned to be operational.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 June 2020
Holding answer received on 04 June 2020

NHS England and University College London Hospital (UCLH) are currently working with contractors to open the Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) centre as soon as possible following the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that the first patient treatment will be in 2021.

Apart from the current impact of COVID-19, the PBT service at UCLH has been delayed historically due to the complexity of the build on a constrained inner London site and, more recently due to water ingress, as reported to the National PBT Programme Board, the Department and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. These historic issues have been resolved.

Grouped Questions: 51865 | 51866 | 51867
Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
University College Hospital: Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the opening of the proton beam therapy service at University College Hospital London has been delayed.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 June 2020
Holding answer received on 04 June 2020

NHS England and University College London Hospital (UCLH) are currently working with contractors to open the Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) centre as soon as possible following the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that the first patient treatment will be in 2021.

Apart from the current impact of COVID-19, the PBT service at UCLH has been delayed historically due to the complexity of the build on a constrained inner London site and, more recently due to water ingress, as reported to the National PBT Programme Board, the Department and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. These historic issues have been resolved.

Grouped Questions: 51864 | 51866 | 51867
Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the estimated cost to the public purse was of purchasing and installing proton beam therapy machines at the two UK treatment centres (a) to date and (b) to the point at which those machines become operational.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 June 2020
Holding answer received on 04 June 2020

NHS England and University College London Hospital (UCLH) are currently working with contractors to open the Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) centre as soon as possible following the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that the first patient treatment will be in 2021.

Apart from the current impact of COVID-19, the PBT service at UCLH has been delayed historically due to the complexity of the build on a constrained inner London site and, more recently due to water ingress, as reported to the National PBT Programme Board, the Department and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. These historic issues have been resolved.

Grouped Questions: 51864 | 51865 | 51867
Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of how many patients will receive proton beam therapy at (a) The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and (b) University College London Hospitals in the first year the machines become operational.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 June 2020
Holding answer received on 04 June 2020

NHS England and University College London Hospital (UCLH) are currently working with contractors to open the Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) centre as soon as possible following the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that the first patient treatment will be in 2021.

Apart from the current impact of COVID-19, the PBT service at UCLH has been delayed historically due to the complexity of the build on a constrained inner London site and, more recently due to water ingress, as reported to the National PBT Programme Board, the Department and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. These historic issues have been resolved.

Grouped Questions: 51864 | 51865 | 51866
Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the level of unused radiotherapy machine capacity during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

As set out in a letter from NHS England and NHS Improvement to trusts on 29 April, cancer treatment must be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

Grouped Questions: 45060
Q
Asked by Rosie Cooper
(West Lancashire)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the under-use of radiotherapy capacity during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 June 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

As set out in a letter from NHS England and NHS Improvement to trusts on 29 April, cancer treatment must be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

Grouped Questions: 45138
Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will establish a covid-19 cancer taskforce to assess the merits of increasing access to radiotherapy during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 03 June 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

There are currently no plans to establish a taskforce to look at increasing access to radiotherapy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Chronic Illnesses: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the people who have been advised by the Government to shield at home for 12 weeks in response to the covid-19 outbreak (a) are undergoing active chemotherapy (b) have lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy; (c) have a cancer of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment (d) are having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer; (e) are having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors; (f) have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs; (g) have severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary; (h) have severe combined immunodeficiency and homozygous sickle cell or other rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections; (i) are on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection and (j) are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 29 May 2020

This data is currently unavailable.

Q
Asked by Selaine Saxby
(North Devon)
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that radiotherapy services used in cancer treatment continue during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 28 May 2020

A letter was issued to trusts on 29 April detailing the Second Phase of Response to COVID-19. This letter sets out that:

Local systems and Cancer Alliances must continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, and providers must protect and deliver cancer surgery and cancer treatment by ensuring that cancer surgery hubs are fully operational. Full use should be made of the available contracted independent sector hospital and diagnostic capacity locally and regionally. Regional cancer Senior Responsible Officers must now provide assurance that these arrangements are in place everywhere.

Treatment, including radiotherapy, must be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

Q
Asked by Rosie Cooper
(West Lancashire)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) the full use of NHS radiotherapy capacity and (b) that radiotherapy cancer treatments are not being disrupted as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 20 May 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

A letter was issued to trusts on 29 April detailing the Second Phase of Response to COVID-19.

This letter sets out that local systems and Cancer Alliances must continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, and providers must protect and deliver cancer treatment by ensuring that cancer hubs are fully operational. Full use should be made of the available contracted independent sector hospitals. Regional cancer Senior Responsible Officers must now provide assurance that these arrangements are in place everywhere.

Cancer treatment, including radiotherapy, must be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have had radiotherapy treatments (a) delayed and (b) cancelled since February 2020.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 20 May 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

This data requested is not held centrally.

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of precision radiotherapy as a replacement treatment to (a) surgery and (b) chemotherapy during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 20 May 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

For some patients it may be clinically appropriate to offer treatment with radiotherapy where the standard care, for example surgery or chemotherapy, is not possible to be delivered. NHS England and NHS Improvement have published guidance relating to the management of cancer patients during the COVID-19 outbreak which sets out the importance of multi-disciplinary team input and communication with individual patients when making decisions about treatment plans.

This guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/second-phase-of-nhs-response-to-covid-19-letter-to-chief-execs-29-april-2020.pdf

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if will he make an assessment on the effectiveness of precision radiotherapy treatment to improve outcomes for cancer patients unable to undertake surgery or immunosuppressive chemotherapy during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 20 May 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

Where it is not possible to proceed with standard care treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, it may be clinically appropriate to offer radiotherapy.

These are decisions which are necessarily informed by multi-disciplinary clinical teams and discussion with individual patients in the context of weighing the risks and benefits.

The Royal College of Radiologists has made available to its members a wide body of literature to help guide individual decision making and clinicians are encouraged to make use of this resource.

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radiotherapy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing the recommendations contained in the Manifesto published by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy, published on 18 July 2019.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 20 May 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

The NHS Long Term Plan set out the priorities for radiotherapy services in the National Health Service in England.

This included £130 million being spent on upgrading radiotherapy machines, which has now been completed.

In April 2012, the Government announced that £250 million will be invested to build proton beam therapy (PBT) facilities at The Christie Hospital in Manchester and University College London Hospital in London. This commitment was reaffirmed in the NHS Long Term Plan, and The Christie PBT centre became operational in August 2018.

Reforms to the specialised commissioning payments for radiotherapy hypofractionation will be introduced to support further equipment upgrades. This is in progress and, in the interim, specialised commissioners have recurrently allocated £12 million to support the expansion of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy provision.

Q
(Easington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will meet with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy to discuss the findings of that Group's inquiry into the impact of covid-19 on cancer services.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 20 May 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

I have spoken with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy on Wednesday 20 May.

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