§ Mr. Corbyn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has for a compensation plan for those suffering as a result of receiving the wrong dosage of radiotherapy; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Jowell
The Government have every sympathy with women who have suffered adverse side-effects as a consequence of radiotherapy treatment. Where people have been harmed by clinical treatment and negligence can be shown to have caused this, compensation may be sought through the courts. However, it is a longstanding principle that compensation should only be paid by the NHS when there is evidence that negligence has been involved.
The following action has been taken to help women with damage as a result of radiotherapy for breast cancer:In May 1994 the Department issued guidance entitled "Quality Assurance in Radiotherapy—A Quality Management System for Radiotherapy".508WThe Royal College of Radiologists at the Department's request, convened a small group of professionals and lay people in Autumn 1994 to consider guidelines for care of women who have suffered tissue damage following radiotherapy for breast cancer. This report was issued to the NHS by the Department in October 1995.The Royal College of Radiologists carried out a confidential clinical review of 126 women who had suffered injury following radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer at 15 centres in the period 1980–93. The report makes recommendations on the management of breast cancer, particularly on radiotherapy, and for further research.
With regard to those suffering adverse effects following pelvic radiotherapy for gynaecological cancers, in 1996, a Working Group, which includes representatives from a number of Royal Colleges, voluntary organisations and the Department, was set up to consider the preparation of patient information leaflets concerning possible adverse effects following pelvic radiotherapy and to raise awareness generally. A sub-group is also considering issuing guidelines for health professionals on the care of women suffering adverse effects as a result of pelvic radiotherapy.
§ Mr. Corbyn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with representatives of those suffering as a result of radiotherapy overdoses; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Jowell
Representatives of those suffering as a result of radiotherapy treatment-both RAGE BREAST and RAGE NATIONAL have asked to meet Ministers to outline their aims and concerns. I am glad to report that my Noble Friend the Minister of State, Baroness Jay has agreed to see a joint representation from both these organisations.