To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress has been made in establishing a national screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm; and if he will make a statement; (2) what assessment he has made of the relative average cost per patient of
(a) screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm and (b) surgery on a patient suffering from abdominal aortic aneurysm; 
(3) when he plans to refer the issue of a national screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE); what plans his Department has to prepare for the introduction of a screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm ahead of any decision by NICE; and if he will make a statement. 
The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) makes recommendations to Ministers on all aspects of screening programmes. It is currently considering the resource costs and workforce implications of implementing a screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm following publication of a multi-centre study funded by the Medical Research Council last year. Until these recommendations are received, screening should not be started.There are no plans at present to refer this topic to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.