§ Mr. Heald
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the number of persons affected by wet age-related macular degeneration in one eye only who will pay privately to be treated by photodynamic therapy; 
(2) how many persons have a treatable form of wet age-related macular degeneration; 
(3) what plans he has to introduce speedy treatment of those with early wet age-related macular degeneration; 
(4) what advice he intends to issue on restricting the treatment of (a) cataracts, (b) glaucoma and (c) diabetic retinopathy to persons in whom both eyes are affected; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) what assessment he has made of draft NICE guidance that those with an eye in which the sight is worse than 6/36 should not be treated by photodynamic therapy for wet age-related macular degeneration; and if he will make a statement as to the number of persons who would go blind as a result of its implementation; 
Cancelled operations for non clinical reasons, NHS trusts in England, 2001–02, quarter 4 Trust Number of last minute cancellations for non clinical reasons in the quarter Cancellations as a percentage of elective admissions Addenbrooke's NHS Trust 114 1.1 Aintree Hospitals NHS Trust 82 1.0 Airedale NHS Trust 29 0.6 Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust 16 0.2 Barking Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust 506 3.8 Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust 384 4.9 Barnsley District General Hospital NHS Trust 41 1.0
(6) how many persons NICE recommends should be treated by photodynamic therapy for wet age-related macular degeneration; and if he will make a statement; 
(7) what advice he intends to issue to ophthalmologists concerning the treatment of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration in one eye only; 
(8) what assessment he has made of the increased risk to a person with sight in one eye only of (a) injury and (b) disease leading to blindness; 
(9) what steps he intends to take to ensure early diagnosis of wet age-related macular degeneration affecting the other eye of a person in whom one eye is already affected. 
§ Mr. Lammy
[holding answers 24 June 2002]: A study sponsored by the Macular Disease Society in 2001 estimated that there were 182,000 people with age-related macular degeneration with a best eye visual acuity below that judged appropriate for certification as blind or partially sighted. It is estimated that 10 to 15 per cent. of those will have the "wet" type of the condition, for which photodynamic therapy is intended as a treatment. However, it is not possible to say how many of those are affected in only one eye.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published their final appraisal determination (FAD) on the use of photodynamic therapy as a treatment for age-related macular degeneration on 12 June. The appraisal process has not yet been completed and NICE have not made any recommendations on photodynamic therapy. NICE are seeking the views of consultees during the appeal process and will consider carefully any points that are made.
NICE's recommendations may change as a result of the appeal process; it would therefore be inappropriate for the Department to comment at this time. The Department will consider the implications of the final NICE guidance. The earliest guidance could be available to the NHS is at the end of July or early August, providing there are no appeals.
The NICE guidance on photodynamic therapy will not have implications for the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy.