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Mrs. Currie : The available information relates to expenditure on family planning provided through health authority community health services, including overheads, the contraceptive fees paid to GPs and the estimated net ingredient cost of contraceptive drugs and appliances prescribed by general practitioners and dispensed by pharmacists. These give an estimated expenditure in 1986-87 of £86 million for England and Wales.

NHS (Laundry)

Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health which sections of laundry within the National Health Service are (a) exempt and (b) not exempt from inventory control.


Column 189

Mr. Mellor : Health authorities are responsible for providing efficient and cost-effective laundry services. Procedures for inventory control are determined locally but health authorities must report discrepancies if the total in one financial year is in excess of £5,000.

National Health Service

Mr. Redwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the improvements that the regions are planning for the National Health Service as a result of the substantial additional moneys recently announced.

Mr. Mellor : Whilst details of regional health authorities' plans for 1989-90 will not be available to the Department until early next year, recent discussions with regions about their intentions for that year showed that, even before the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, all had identified significant areas for proposed service improvement. These include continued increases in numbers of patients treated in the acute sector and substantial projects to develop and improve community care.

Population Statistics

Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people there are in the United Kingdom in the following age ranges : 60 to 65 years, 65 to 70 years, 70 to 75 years, 75 to 80 years, 80 to 85 years, 85 to 90 years and 90 years and over.

Mrs. Currie : The information requested is as follows :


Nominal rate(s) of tax on gains of individuals  

Country                     |Per cent.          

------------------------------------------------

France<3>                   |16                 

West Germany<1><2>          |22-56              

Japan<1><4>                 |10.5-60            

United States of America<1> |15 and 28          

United Kingdom<1>           |25 and 40          

Notes                                           

<1>Rate(s) determined by adding gains to        

income.                                         

<2>Tax charge generally confined to short-term  

gains and substantial shareholding in           

companies. Proposals are under more             

comprehensive taxation of gains.                

<3>Gains on portfolio investments generally     

exempt if less than in specified annual limit:  

special provisions for long-term gains.         

<4>Gains on portfolio investments at present    

generally exempt, but there are proposals for   

taxing such gains. Special provisions for       

long-term gains.                                

#TCW88119013A




United Kingdom estimated    

resident population for     

ages 60 or over             

----------------------------

60-64       |2,982.5        

65-69       |2,749.5        

70-74       |2,288.5        

75-79       |1,849.3        

80-84       |1,167.0        

85-89       |540.6          

90 and over |219.2          

Registered Voters

Mr. Hayward : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the numbers of registered voters for the years 1973, 1978, 1983 and 1988 in the cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Mrs. Currie : The information requested is as follows :


Local authority      Registered local                       

                     government electors                    

                    |1973<1>|1978   |1983   |1988           

------------------------------------------------------------

Birmingham          |767,093|759,290|760,402|749,033        

Bradford            |320,339|332,056|342,177|345,052        

Bristol             |310,137|309,443|309,310|296,025        

Cardiff             |204,354|206,172|209,453|208,507        

Coventry            |233,126|236,299|238,874|238,914        

Edinburgh City      |352,703|359,262|366,654|366,102        

Glasgow City        |663,518|610,529|586,525|561,512        

Leeds               |537,444|541,681|548,630|527,893        

Liverpool           |420,610|407,524|393,088|365,893        

Manchester          |364,516|352,580|343,404|328,112        

Newcastle-upon-Tyne |222,901|225,369|225,592|221,157        

Sheffield           |420,292|419,686|424,841|421,084        

<1> Figures for 1973 have been adjusted to relate to        

districts constituted after the 1974 local government       

reorganisations.                                            

Community Psychiatric Nurses

Mr. Goodlad : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many community psychiatric nurses there have been in each health region in each of the last two years.

Mr. Mellor : Information in the exact form requested is not available. However, the number of nursing staff employed in the community psychiatric service in each regional health authority at 30 September 1986 and 1987 is shown in the table.


Community Psychiatric Nursing Staff<1>: England 30 September                                                       

wholetime equivalent<2>                                                                                            

Regional health authority            |1986                     |1987                                               

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

England                              |2,530                    |2,770                                              

Northern                             |160                      |180                                                

Yorkshire                            |200                      |220                                                

Trent                                |260                      |290                                                

East Anglian                         |110                      |110                                                

North West Thames                    |170                      |160                                                

North East Thames                    |140                      |180                                                

South East Thames                    |210                      |150                                                

South West Thames                    |210                      |220                                                

Wessex                               |180                      |200                                                

Oxford                               |120                      |120                                                

South Western                        |150                      |200                                                

West Midlands                        |250                      |290                                                

Mersey                               |160                      |190                                                

North Western                        |230                      |280                                                

London PG Special Health Authorities |<3>                      |<3>                                                

Source:                                                                                                            

D of H annual census of NHS non-medical manpower.                                                                  

Notes:                                                                                                             

<1>These figures include all registered and enrolled nurses and unqualified nursing staff employed in the          

community psychiatric service. It is not possible to identify separately those who have undertaken the post-basic  

specialist course in community psychiatric nursing.                                                                

<2>All figures independently rounded to nearest 10 whole-time equivalents.                                         

<3> Less than five whole-time equivalents.                                                                         

Health Authorities (Emission Controls)

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether health authorities will be liable to prosecution if they do not conform with new controls on emission expected to come into force next year.

Mrs. Currie : Yes.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will name the seven health authorities which, in the last 12 months, did not comply with statutory standards on emission to the atmosphere and the operation and maintenance of hospital incinerators and because the matter could not be resolved locally were referred to the regional health authorities ; what action was taken by his Department to find out whether or not the health authorities did eventually comply with the statutory requirement ; and how many such references were made to the regional health authorities in each of the last five years.

Mrs. Currie : Referrals were made about incinerators operated by the Bloomsbury, Cambridge, Leicester, Liverpool, North West Hertfordshire, Parkside and Sheffield district health authorities. The Department is monitoring the outcome of the regional health authorities' intervention ; in some cases remedies are still under


Column 191

eration. Full details of past referrals are not readily available, but we estimate they have averaged three or four per annum over the last five years. Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he intends to permit the prosecution of health authorities which do not meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act 1956 ; and if there are any plans to repeal section 22 of this Act.

Mrs. Currie : No, because all referrals to the Department under section 22 of the Clean air Act are thoroughly investigated and, if health authorities are not Crown immune from the planned new controls on emissions, they will become liable to enforcement of these controls.

Hospital Incinerators

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how long the transitional period allowed for the replacement of existing hospital incinerators which do not meet the new proposed controls on emission will be ; what is the normal life of a hospital incinerator ; and what evidence he has concerning whether the private sector can dispose of clinical waste more efficiently or cheaply than health authorities.

Mrs. Currie : No decision has yet been taken on the length of the transitional period, but it is intended to provide for the replacement of incinerators which are incapable of operating within the more stringent controls. Pending replacement health authorities will be required to upgrade the performance of their plant as near to the new standard as is practicable. I am advised that the average life of a hospital incinerator is 15 years.

Health authorities' decisions on how to dispose of clinical waste are made by local option appraisal. Since outcomes vary depending upon local circumstances it is not possible to generalise about the relative cost of in-house and private sector disposal.

Community Health Councils (Emission Controls)

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will encourage community health councils to inquire into whether their local hospitals are keeping to statutory levels regarding the emission of carcinogens, pathogens, and other toxic chemicals ; and if he will ensure that they receive the basic information that will enable them to make informed inquiries.

Mrs. Currie : Community health councils were established to represent the views of patients in their districts. They are independent of the Department and it would not be appropriate for the Department to encourage them to perform particular functions, especially those for which they have no special expertise.

Air Pollution

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he received a copy of the report from the National Society for Clean Air entitled "Air Pollution from Crown Property" ; what response he made to the society ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Currie : Yes ; we have asked regional health authorities to investigate the operation of those hospital


Column 192

incinerators cited in the report of which we had no previous knowledge. We have also informed the society of our intentions regarding the application of planned new emission controls to the National Health Service.

Pharmaceutical Staff

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those district health authorities in England which have reported a shortage of qualified pharmaceutical staff.

Mr. Mellor : We are aware of some reports of vacancies in some districts for qualified pharmaceutical staff, but we do not collect this information centrally.

Opren

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has as to the extent to which patients suffered photosensitivity after taking Opren could be vulnerable to acute radiation skin reaction ; and, if appropriate, if he will advise consultants to identify such patients before recommending radiation treatment.

Mr. Mellor : I am aware of a case in the Lancet of 15 October 1988 describing an acute radiation-induced cutaneous reaction in a patient with persistent photosensitivity who had been treated previously with Opren. It is normal medical practice for radiotherapists to check patients' medical history before treatment in order to identify possible factors such as a history of photosensitivity which might cause a skin reaction to radiotherapy. Such possible risks have to be weighed against the benefits of radiotherapy and risks and benefits of other possible treatments.

Hospital Visits

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the hospitals he has visited since his appointment.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Since I was appointed I have visited on official ministerial visits :

Cannock community hospital

Bristol royal infirmary

Southend hospital

Royal Victoria infirmary, Newcastle

Freeman hospital, Newcastle

I have also met many health service medical, nursing and other professional staff and also managers and chairmen.

Nurses (Regrading)

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to accept any offer by unions representing the nursing profession to submit the current dispute over interpretation of the new grading agreement to binding arbitration, or to refer the dispute to ACAS.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke No.

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has issued any guidance to health authorities about dealing with inquiries from the press during the current dispute about the grading of nurses ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 193

Mr. Mellor : No guidance has been issued.

NHS Spending

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was Government spending on the National Health Service per household as a proportion of the average household income in 1987-88.

Mr. Mellor : Gross NHS expenditure per household in the United Kingdom represented 6.8 per cent. of average household income in 1987, as against 6.3 per cent. in 1978.

Ambulances (Greater Manchester)

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the estimated overspend on the north-west regional health authority's ambulance budget by the end of the current financial year ; whether he proposes to take any action in regard to the closure of ambulance stations in greater Manchester due to the lack of crews ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information he has as to how many ambulance stations have been closed in greater Manchester in the last 12 months ; for what length of time and for what reasons ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what information he has as to the number of occasions in the last 12 months in which ambulances have been turned away from the first accident and emergency department they called at in greater Manchester, and as to the reasons for such refusal ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Currie : We do not hold information centrally on these matters. The hon. Members may wish to address their inquiries to Mr. Bruce Martin, QC, chairman of north-west regional health authority who has responsibility for the management of ambulance services in greater Manchester, and the allocation of resources for ambulance services, as a whole, throughout the north-western region.

Hearing Aids

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his best estimate of the number of people who would benefit from wearing a hearing aid.

Mrs. Currie : The Institute of Hearing Research claims that there are 3.2 million adults over 18 years of age in England and Wales who have a hearing loss of at least 35 decibels in the better ear and who might therefore benefit from having a hearing aid fitted.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hearing aid centres there are in the United Kindom and what is the average wait for an appointment.

Mrs. Currie : There are 179 hearing aid centres in England and Wales. According to a survey carried out in 1986 by the British Association of Audiology Technicians, the average waiting time in the United Kingdom is 7.2 weeks.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hearing aids were fitted in the last year for


Column 194

which figures are available ; how many were for (a) children and (b) pensioners ; and what proportion were private aids supplied by the National Health Service.

Mrs. Currie : Around 150,000 hearing aids were fitted to new patients in England and Wales in the Financial year 1987-88. We cannot say how many were for children and pensioners but around 4 per cent. would be private aids supplied by the National Health Service.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has about the number and percentage of people who do not wear their National Health Service hearing aid after it has been provided.

Mrs. Currie : The best information we have is from the Institute of Hearing Research, which estimates that nearly a quarter of people who have a hearing aid do not use it.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many National Health Service hearing aids are currently being used by deaf and hard of hearing people ; how many batteries are supplied annually ; and from how many centres they are available.

Mrs. Currie : The vast majority of National Health Service hearing aids are behind-the-ear models and around 3.5 million have been issued since 1974. Over 20 million batteries are issued annually from 372 centres in England and Wales.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hearing aid centres operate an accelerated referral procedure ; what proportion this is of the total ; what monitoring there has been of accelerated referral ; and what is his Department's policy on this procedure.

Mrs. Currie : The British Association of Audiology Technicians carried out a survey of just over 200 audiology departments and hearing aid centres in 1986. Of the 148 who replied, 91 had a system of accelerated referral. The organisation of audiology departments and hearing aid centres is the responsibility of district health authorities.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how may hearing aid centres have domiciliary visiting provision ; to what extent it is used ; and how many people are visited ;

(2) what information he has regarding the number of people requiring hearing aids who would benefit from a domiciliary visit ; (3) what is the average length of time spent by National Health Service audiology technician fitting a hearing aid and advising on its use ; and how many follow-up appointments are generally required.

Mrs. Currie : We do not hold this information centrally.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the types of hearing aids currently supplied by the National Health Service.

Mrs. Currie : The types of hearing aid in the National Health Service standard range are :


Column 195


Code number                                                                                                                                        |Description                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BE11                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid, with induction coil and tone control, suitable for the moderately hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                            

BE11                                                                                                                                               |BE11 hearing aid in brown case.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

BE12                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil suitable for the moderately hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

BE13                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil and forward-facing microphone suitable for the moderately hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                 

BE14                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn aid with induction coil and tone control suitable for the moderately hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

BE15                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil and tone control suitable for the moderately hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                              

BE16                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, tone control and forward facing microphone for the moderately hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                   |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, low cut tone control and forward facing microphone for the moderately hard of                                                                                                                                                                             

BE17                                                                                                                                               |hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

B1702                                                                                                                                              |BE17 hearing aid in brown case.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

BE18                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, low cut tone, 3-position peak clipping presets and forward facing microphone for the moderately hard of                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                   | hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

BE19                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, low cut tone control and forward facing microphone for the moderately hard of                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                   | hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

BE31                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, tone control and peak clipping for the moderately to                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                   | severely hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

BE31                                                                                                                                               |BE31 Hearing aid in brown case.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

BE32                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, tone control, peak clipping and forward facing microphone for the moderately to                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                   | severely hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

BE33                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, low cut tone control, peak clipping and forward facing microphone for the moderately to                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                   | severely hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

BE34                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, tone control and peak clipping forward facing microphone for the moderately to                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                   | severely hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

BE35                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, tone control and peak clipping, forward facing microphone for the moderately                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                   |  severely hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

BE51                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, low-high cut tone, peak clipping, combined MT presets and forward facing                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                   |  microphone for the severely hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

BE52                                                                                                                                               |BE52 Hearing aid in brown case.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

BE53                                                                                                                                               |Head-worn hearing aid with induction coil, independent low and high cut tone, peak clipping, combined MT presets and                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                   | forward facing microphone for the severely hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

BW61                                                                                                                                               |Body-worn high power air and bone conduction hearing aid with induction coil, combined MT, low cut tone controls, low and                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                   | high cut tone, adjustable peak clipping, adjustable maximum gain presets for the very severely hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                     

BW81                                                                                                                                               |Body-worn extra powerful air and bone conduction hearing aid with induction coil combined MT control low-high cut tone,                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                   | adjustable peak clipping, adjustable maximum gain presets for the profoundly hard of hearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to provide a National Health Service in-the-ear hearing aid.

Mrs. Currie : In-the-ear aids are not included in the standard range of National Health Service hearing aids, but district health authorities have power to provide them if they are considered to be essential.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will seek evidence from consumer groups and those concerned with the welfare of the elderly regarding the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with National Health Service and the private supply of hearing aids.

Mrs. Currie : We are in touch with various voluntary and other organisations about hearing aid provision.

Ear, Nose and Throat

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many ear, nose and throat consultant posts are currently vacant ; what percentage of National Health Service established posts is vacant ; and what are the percentage figures for the last five years ; (2) what steps he is taking to reduce the number of vacant ear, nose and throat consultant posts.

Mr. Mellor : Information about the percentage of posts vacant is set out in the table. It is for health authorities to decide what action is appropriate to fill particular vacant posts. The Department's role is to ensure that there are sufficient fully trained surgeons to take up the posts available. On the advice of the joint planning advisory committee an additional 11 whole time equivalent senior registrar posts were agreed earlier this year to meet authorities' plans for additional consultant posts over the next 10 years.


Column 196


Percentage of consultant posts without a    

permanent holder<1>                         

at 30 September: England                    

Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery (              

Otolaryngology)                             

              |1983|1984|1985|1986|1987     

--------------------------------------------

Number of vacant pos29   28   26   16       

Percentage<2> |7.8 |7.5 |7.0 |4.4 |3.8      

Notes:                                      

1.From 30 September 1986 the definition of  

a post without a permanent holder was       

amended to exclude posts for which a        

central manpower approval had been given    

which authorities had not the steps to      

establish. Central control over the         

establishment of new consultant posts in    

ENT was discontinued in 1984.               

2.Posts without a permanent holder as a     

percentage of the sum of such posts and     

consultant staff in post in permanent paid  

posts.                                      

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the average waiting time for an out-patient appointment to see an ear, nose and throat consultant ; what has been the average time for each of the last five years ; and how many districts currently have waiting times twice as long as the average or longer.

Mr. Mellor : We do not collect information on out-patient waiting times centrally.

Audiological Technicians

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many audiological technicians posts are currently vacant ; what percentage this is of the National Health Service establishment ; and what have been the percentage figures of vacant posts in each of the last five years.

Mr. Mellor : We do not collect information on vacant posts centrally.


Column 197

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the supply of audiology technicians for the National Health Service.

Mr. Mellor : Any action needed is a matter for individual health authorities to decide.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the different types of specialist staff involved with audiological work giving the nature of their responsibilities, and their training.

Mr. Mellor : The main types of specialist staff involved with audiological work are ear, nose and throat surgeons, audiological physicians, audiological scientists, audiological technicians and hearing therapists. Their responsibilities cover a wide spectrum of work in respect of diagnosis, treatment and management of people whose hearing is impaired. Each group is trained in accordance with requirements specified by the responsible professional body or the appropriate employing authority.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how long the training of audiology technicians lasts ; and what proportion of this time is spent on work directly relevant to testing hearing for the provision of a hearing aid.

Mr. Mellor : The initial training of audiology technicians, leading to employment in the basic grade, takes two years. Of this time, a half to two-thirds is spent on work directly relevant to the testing of hearing prior to the selection and provision of hearing aids and in learning how to select and fit such aids. Further training of the technicians takes place in the basic and higher grades in the fitting of more complex and high- powered aids and in instructing patients in their use in a variety of home and work environments.

Waiting Lists

Mr. McCrindle : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if any estimate has been made of the potential savings to the National Health Service of treating patients at the earliest opportunity in relation to the cost of treating them when waiting lists allow ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : The savings are likely to be very small in relation to the overall costs of treatment. Most patients on the waiting list have relatively stable conditions and will cost no more to treat after waiting. However, it is obviously desirable for patients to be treated as soon as possible. This is why we have made an extra £55 million available so far through the waiting list fund, to help tackle excessive waiting times.

Mr. McCrindle : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has made an allocation of additional funds available to health authorities to help reduce waiting lists.

Mr. Mellor : In 1987-88 £25 million was made available to health authorities from the waiting list fund to help reduce waiting lists and waiting times. In 1988-89 a further £30 million was allocated. I will shortly be making an announcement about allocations for 1989-90.

Elderly Persons

Mr. McCrindle : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he has any plans to establish primary care


Column 198

authorities to manage the funding of elderly persons entering nursing and residential homes ; and if he will make a statement. (2) if he has any plans to establish community care authorities to manage the funding of elderly persons entering nursing and residential homes ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : We are considering the funding and management of public support for people entering nursing and residential care in the light of Sir Roy Griffiths' recommendations and will bring forward proposals in due course.

Mercury (Fish)

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has as to the acceptable level of mercury in fish beyond which they become unfit for human consumption.

Mrs. Currie : There are no specific limits set for levels of mercury in fish for human consumption. However, the Food and Agriculture Organisations and World Health Organisation have jointly set a figure for the provisional tolerable weekly intake of 0.3 mg per kg per week, of which not more than 0.2 mg per kg should be organic mercury. This figure is for total intake from all sources, including fish, and incorporates a very large safety margin.

ENVIRONMENT

Planning Appeals (Nottingham)

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many planning appeals relating to Nottingham were made to his Department between May 1987 and November 1988 ; by whom they were made ; and how many were approved.

Mr. Chope : Between 1 May 1987 and 20 November 1988, 41 planning appeals relating to Nottingham were made to my Department. Of these 12 were withdrawn before determination ; and of the 18 decided so far, four have been allowed. Listed below are the appellants, and the outcome of their appeals.


Appellant                                |Outcome                          

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. J. Chi Ping Seung                    |Withdrawn                        

D. Mabbott                               |Dismissed                        

Bordgraine Property Services             |Withdrawn                        

J. Steeples                              |Dismissed                        

Terence Doak Holding Services Ltd.       |Dismissed                        

Mobil Oil Co. Ltd.                       |Withdrawn                        

Imperial Tobacco Ltd.                    |Withdrawn                        

Alliance and Leicester Building Society/                                   

   Prudential Portfolio Managers Ltd.    |Dismissed                        

Mr. and Mrs. Sood                        |Allowed                          

Mr. and Mrs. J. Codal                    |Allowed                          

British Telecom                          |Withdrawn                        

Mr. and Mrs. Samialis                    |Dismissed                        

Morgram Holdings Ltd.                    |Allowed                          

Harcharan S. Sagoo                       |Dismissed                        

Mohammed Aslam                           |Dismissed                        

Peugeot/Talbot Motor Company Ltd.        |Withdrawn                        

George Atkins Automatics Ltd.            |Withdrawn                        

John Fox Ltd.                            |To be determined                 

Mr. V. E. North                          |Dismissed                        

Just Like That Properties Ltd.           |Dismissed                        

Nottingham Regional Society for                                            

   Autistic Children and Adults          |Withdrawn                        

A. R. Marshall and Sons (Haulage) Ltd.   |To be determined                 

N. Smith                                 |Dismissed                        

P. Newman                                |Dismissed                        

Grosvenor Square Properties                                                

   Development Ltd.                      |Withdrawn                        

Nottingham Regional Society for                                            

   Autistic Children and Adults          |Allowed                          

Gordon Atkinson                          |Dismissed                        

Richard Harkouk                          |Dismissed                        

N.F.C. Properties Ltd.                   |To be determined                 

British Gas                              |Withdrawn                        

R. Odolin                                |Dismissed                        

Michael Hope                             |To be determined                 

                                                                           

Development Ltd.                         |To be determined                 

Mr. S. J. Hawley                         |To be determined                 

Grosvenor Square Properties                                                

   Development Ltd.                      |Withdrawn                        

City Grove Development Ltd.              |To be determined                 

Dr. Aulfat Rusool Ali                    |To be determined                 

Mr. J. A. Sekowski                       |To be determined                 

Grosvenor Square Properties                                                

   Development Ltd.                      |Withdrawn                        

Mr. T. Kay                               |To be determined                 

Mr. A. Smith                             |To be determined                 

Hotel Project (Birmingham)

Mr. Warren : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations were held before granting a substantial sum to a hotel project in Birmingham ; and what are the terms and conditions of repayment of the said grant.

Mr. Ridley : Two hotel projects in Birmingham have received urban development grant. In both cases, consultations were held with the developer and the developer's advisors, with Birmingham City Council which made the applications for grant, with the English Tourist Board and with other Government Departments. The specific terms and conditions attached to offers of urban development grant are matters of commercial confidentiality and are not disclosed.


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