§ Mr. Foulkes
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will retabulate the wards in table 2.18 of the Black report, ranking them by probability using a Poisson distribution, and identify those wards on the Cumbrian coast; and if he will make a statement on the differences in ranking obtained by using probability and not rate of incidence as used in table 2.18 of the Black report.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
No. The Poisson probability is set against the wards listed in both tables 2.18 and 2.19 in the report of the independent advisory group chaired by Sir Douglas Black.
Ranking by incidence lists first those wards where the proportion of children registered with cancer had been highest. Ranking by probability lists first those wards for which the difference between the observed rate for a ward and that for the region as a whole (or a greater difference) could most easily have arisen by chance. Both sets of statistics should be considered together. The difference is discussed in a letter published in "Nature" for 1 November 1984 by Dr. M. J. Gardner, a member of the independent advisory group.
I shall write to the hon. Member concerning the identity of the wards.