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Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts use the (a) nucleic acid amplification test and (b) enzyme immunoassay test for chlamydia. (73997)

[holding answer 5 June 2006]: This information is not collected centrally.

In September 2003, the Department recognised that the need to switch to the superior nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs) for chlamydia testing and screening should be treated as a priority. At the same time, the chief medical officer wrote to all chief executives of strategic health authorities (SHAs) confirming this.

£7 million pump-priming money was invested in 2004-05 to ensure that all major laboratories in each region of England use the most effective technology. We have invested £80 million in the national chlamydia screening programme. One of the conditions is that all tests are undertaken using NAATs.

This is a clinical governance issue and we have stressed to the national health service how important it is to use this method of testing.