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Photodynamic Therapy Treatment

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps her Department is taking to speed up the fast track referral pathways for photodynamic therapy patients (a) in the Richmond and Twickenham primary care trust and (b) in England; (75333)

(2) how many patients have been referred for photodynamic therapy treatment (a) in England and (b) in the Richmond and Twickenham primary care trust area in each of the last five years for which records are available;

(3) what percentage of the available capacity at the Kingston photodynamic therapy treatment centre has been used in each month since November 2005.

NHS Specialised Services Commissioners are responsible for commissioning photodynamic therapy. Guidance to commissioners has stressed the importance of ensuring the development of fast track systems to ensure that the time between the initial referral and the treatment is as short as possible. Locally, commissioners and clinicians have worked to raise awareness and speed the patient's passage from first contact with a health care professional to treatment. Where there is a need we look to Commissioners to continue to work for improvements.

Data for the available capacity at the Kingston photodynamic therapy (PDT) treatment centre are not collected centrally nor are figures for the number of patients referred for PDT locally or nationally. However, the table shows the count of finished consultant episodes and patients for selected diagnosis and operations where the primary diagnosis was degeneration of macula and posterior pole and the main operation was an eye operation for Richmond and Twickenham Primary Care Trust and England.

Count of Finished Consultant Episodes and Patients for Selected Diagnosis and Operations, Primary diagnosis: Degeneration of Macula and Posterior Pole (ICD-10 Code H35.3), Main Operation: Eye Operations (OPCS-4 between C01-C86), NHS Hospitals in England 2000-01 to 2004-05

Richmond and Twickenham PCT


Finished Consultant Episodes


Finished Consultant Episodes



























Finished Consultant Episode (FCE)

An FCE is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one health care provider. Please note that the figures do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the year.

Patient counts

Patient counts are based on the unique patient identifier HESID. This identifier is derived based on patient's date of birth, postcode, sex, local patient identifier and NHS number, using an agreed algorithm. Where data are incomplete, HESID might erroneously link episodes or fail to recognise episodes for the same patient. Care is therefore needed, especially where duplicate records persist in the data. The patient count cannot be summed across a table where patients may have episodes in more than one cell.

Diagnosis (Primary Diagnosis)

The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 14 (7 prior to 2002-03) diagnosis fields in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data set and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital.

Main Operation

The main operation is the first recorded operation in the HES data set and is usually the most resource intensive procedure performed during the episode. It is appropriate to use main operation when looking at admission details, e.g. time waited, but the figures for "all operations count of episodes" give a more complete count of episodes with an operation.

Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Strategic Health Authority (SHA) Data Quality

PCT and SHA data were added to historic data years in the HES database using 2002-03 boundaries, as a one-off exercise in 2004. The quality of the data on PCT of Treatment and SHA of Treatment are poor in 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99, with over a third of all finished episodes having missing values in these years. Data quality of PCT of GP practice and SHA of GP practice in 1997-98 and 1998-99 are also poor, with a high proportion missing values where practices changed or ceased to exist. There is less change in completeness of the residence-based fields over time, where the majority of unknown values are due to missing postcodes on birth episodes. Users of time series analysis including these years need to be aware of these issues in their interpretation of the data.

Low Numbers

Due to reasons of confidentiality, figures between 1 and 5 have been suppressed and replaced with "*" (an asterisk).

Ungrossed Data

Figures have not been adjusted for shortfalls in data (i.e. the data are ungrossed).


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health and Social Care Information Centre.