§ Mr. Ben Chapman
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how he proposes to tackle the shortfall in trained(a) oncologists, (b) radiographers and (c) physicists. 
§ Mr. Hutton
Since 1997, there has been a 28 per cent. increase in the number of consultants in clinical oncology and a 98 per cent. increase in the number of consultants in medical oncology.
In 2003–04, central funding has been provided to support the implementation of six centrally funded training places in clinical oncology and six in medical oncology. Trusts have also been given the opportunity to create up to 14 additional locally funded training places in clinical oncology and 11 in medical oncology.
The table shows the number of clinical and medical oncologists working in the national health service between September 1997-June 2003.
The Department is committed to increasing the number of training places for radiographers and medical physicists; between 1996–97 and 2002–03, the number of training commissions for radiography have increased by 107 per cent. to 1,223. Separate information on the number of training places for medical physicists has only been collected sine 2002–03; latest plans show that work force development confederations (WDCs) expect to increase the number of training places by around 16 per cent. There is a range of recruitment, retention and returner initiatives in place to further increase the national health service work force, including radiographers and medical physicists.
The cancer care group work force team, which is a multi-disciplinary body, supports the delivery of improvements in patient services through innovative, integrated, care-centred work force development. It is an expert advisory body with representation from WDCs, the Modernisation Agency, health and social care professionals, education and training organisations, and patients and service users.
Its task is to recommend practical ways of providing the workforce needed to deliver improved services, in the right numbers, with the right skills and in the right place, taking into particular account recent and future policy initiatives.879W
Hospital, Public Health Medicine and Community Health Services (HCHS): Hospital medical staff in clinical and medical oncology—England1 Number (headcount) Clinical oncology Medical oncology 1997 All 647 271 Consultants 287 89 1998 All 676 327 Consultants 299 102 1999 All 698 375 Consultants 305 110 2000 All 711 404 Consultants 307 133 2001 All 776 435 Consultants 333 147 2002 All 785 504 Consultants 315 185 June 2003 All 2— 2— Consultants 367 176 1 Data as at 30 September each year, except for 2003, where data as at 30 June. 2 Not available. Data for June 2003 is taken from the mini census which collected consultants only.
Department of Health medical and dental workforce census.
§ Mr. Ben Chapman
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to ensure the replacement of radiotherapy equipment over 10 years old; 
(2) if he will make a statement on investment in (a) staff and (b) machines for radiotherapy delivery. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
The NHS Cancer Plan committed the national health service to maintaining a modern stock of linear accelerators for radiotherapy treatment of no older than 11 years. The NHS Plan and NHS Cancer Plan made a commitment for 20 replacement and 25 additional new linear accelerators as well as for 50 additional computed tomography (CT) scanners and 50 additional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to be installed in the NHS by 2004. Funding for the linear accelerators was announced in July 2002. On 22 May 2003, my right hon. Friend the Member for Darlington, (Mr. Milburn) announced the location of the majority of the CT and MRI scanners, and a further programme of replacement CT, MRI and linear accelerators over the next three years. This will mean that by the end of 2006, no CT or MRI scanner will be older than 10 years and no linear accelerator will be older than 11 years.
Alongside the investment in equipment we are also increasing the numbers of staff working in radiotherapy 880W departments and making better use of existing staff through role re-design and improved skill mix.