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Mr. Forth : The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs last met with the chairman of the Post Office Users' National Council on 2 November. This was one of a number of meetings which the Minister has had in recent months with representatives of the council to discuss Post Office matters.
Mr. Maude : The Council, at which I represented the United Kingdom, agreed six single market measures including three food law harmonisation directives relating to labelling, batch-marking and foods for particular nutritional uses ; two directives to cut barriers to trade in pharmaceutical products ; and a directive setting standards for the design and construction of side guards to be fitted
Column 253to heavy goods vehicles. It also approved the EC/Switzerland agreement giving Community and Swiss non-life insurers reciprocal rights of establishment for branches and agencies within Switzerland and the Community. There was discussion of the proposal for an EC merger regulation during which I stressed the need for additional action to remove unfair barriers to takeovers which exist in some member states.
The Council also discussed proposed measures relating to the safety of machines, the official inspection of foodstuffs, patents and trademarks, broadcasting and the Commission's memorandum about proposals for a European company statute ; and the Commission made a statement about progress in completing the single market.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland in which units of Greater Glasgow health report there was the shortfall in pacemakers mentioned in the finance report 88/118(b) of Greater Glasgow health board ; what was the initial shortfall ; and what is the current figure.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the provisions allowing for the recovery of value added tax in circumstances where boards would otherwise be penalised financially for putting services out to tender.
(2) if he will give the number of appeals currently being processed by the Whitley council procedures.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The procedures for settling differences between employing authorities and individual NHS employees relating to conditions of service, including questions of grading, are prescribed in section 32 of the general Whitley council conditions of service handbook. The Scottish Home and Health Department has no role in these procedures, and no information of the kind sought by the hon. Member is held centrally.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the cost so far in redundancy and early retirement payments resulting from the privatisation of National Health Service ancillary services.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The first contracts to be awarded in the present round of competitive tendering for NHS ancillary services--which is not privatisation--are only now coming into effect. It is therefore too soon to give precise costs but eventual redundancy payments and premature retirement compensation costs resulting from this round are estimated to total £4 million and £800, 000 respectively.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list (a) the financial resources allocated to the National Health Service in Scotland for the care of the elderly and (b) the number of units and staff specifically allocated within the National Health Service in Scotland for the care of the elderly.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Financial resources allocated to health boards take account of a range of factors including the population in each board's area weighted to reflect age structure and, in particular, the number of elderly people, who require more intensive health care.
Most hospital and other NHS facilities provide services for a range of specialties. Throughout the NHS in Scotland there was an average of 10,997 staffed hospital beds in the year ending 30 September 1987 in the specialties of geriatric long-stay and geriatric assessment. At 30 September 1987 there were 204 hospital doctors in the NHS in Scotland within the specialty of geriatric medicine.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list (a) the number of people in Scotland between 65 and 75 years of age who have been identified as needing or having (i) hip replacements, (ii) cataracts, (iii) chest complaints, (iv) heart disease, (v) strokes, (vi) Parkinson's disease, (vii) Alzheimer's disease and (viii) osteo/rheumatoid arthritis, and (b) the number of people in Scotland over 75 years of age who have been identified as needing or having the above ;
(2) if he will list (a) the number of 65 to 70-year-olds receiving private sector care, (b) the number of 70 to 75-year-olds receiving private sector care, (c) the number of 75 to 80-year-olds receiving private sector care, (d) the number of 80 to 85-year-olds receiving private sector care and (e) the number of people over 85 years of age receiving private sector care in Scotland ;
(3) if he will list (a) the number of 65 to 70-year-olds receiving National Health Service care, (b) the number of 70 to 75-year-olds receiving National Health Service care,
Column 255(c) the number of 75 to 80-year-olds receiving National Health Service care, (d) the number of 80 to 85-year- olds receiving National Health Service care, and (e) the number of people over 85 years of age receiving National Health Service care in Scotland.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has initiated any studies into the conclusions reached by Dr. Brenda Gibson and Dr. Tim Eden published in the Lancet on 9 September relating to childhood leukaemia in Scotland.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The letter referred to reached no conclusions. It reported an observation that during 1987 more children than one would normally expect were diagnosed with leukaemia. The authors offered no likely explanation for this. Rates of child leukaemia vary considerably from year to year in the normal course of events. However, I shall be looking closely at the 1987 and the 1988 rates when they are available, in case they offer evidence of a rising trend.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will be seeking Crown immunity from prosecution for the institutions which are the responsibility of his Department when the anticipated new controls on emissions come into operation.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I refer to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's reply on Tuesday 29 November. The Scottish Office has no plans to seek a general removal of Crown immunity in relation to the proposed air pollution regulations. But it does not seek to alter the position whereby National Health Service premises, under the National Health Service (Amendment) Act 1986, automatically lose Crown immunity in respect of any matters which are the subject of regulations under the Health and Safety Act 1974.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assumptions he made, in calculating his estimates of community charge levels which local authorities might reasonably levy, in respect of each local authority in Scotland about provision to be made in 1989-90 for (a) inflation over 1988-89 budgets, (b) increased borrowing by authorities to finance capital expenditure under section 94 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, (c) full year commitments of expenditure incurred for only part of the year 1988-89, (d)
Column 256loss of rate income in previous years due to revaluation appeals, (e) new services or expansion of existing services to meet demands created by demographic change, (f) any increased level of bad debt, (g) any proportion of the adult population which would avoid payment of the community charge and (h) the size of the adult population liable for payment of the community charge.
(i) 6 per cent. ;
(ii) full account of the best available estimates of such borrowing less the reduction in borrowing which will result from the capitalisation of housing improvement and related specific grants ; (iii) none. The estimates specifically excluded increases in the volume of expenditure ;
(iv) local authority's latest estimates of non-domestic rate income were used in the calculations ;
(v) £35 million ;
(vi) and (vii) It was assumed that losses in collection and exemptions (net of the additional income from standard charges) for community charges would together be at the same level as losses and reliefs for non-domestic rates ;
(viii) 3,905,177 before exemptions or 3,806,571 taking account of exemptions and standard charges.
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements have been made for the results of blood tests, including those involving DNA profiling, to be available for use in the Scottish courts.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Questions have recently arisen in civil proceedings as to whether a court has power to order a person to submit to such tests or to draw an inference from a refusal to be tested. My noble and learned Friend, the Lord Advocate, has accordingly requested the Scottish Law Commission to consider questions arising from the provision of bodily samples of both civil and criminal cases and to report with their recommendations in the near future. I understand that the Commission intends to issue a discussion paper, with provisional proposals, on 8 December.
Mr. Goodlad : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many current occupants of National Health Service hospital and unit beds have a main diagnosis of schizophrenia psychoses in each health region ; and what those figures are as a percentage of (a) mental and (b) all hospital beds in Scotland.
Residents with main diagnosis of schizophrenic psychoses at end of 1987 by health board and expressed as percentage of psychiatric and all hospital beds Health Board of Residence |Total Number of Residents|Per cent. of psychiatric |Per cent. of all beds |beds ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Argyll and Clyde |283 |16.5 |6.6 Ayrshire and Arran |132 |14.3 |4.5 Borders |37 |11.5 |3.9 Dumfries and Galloway |129 |20.6 |8.6 Fife |138 |9.1 |4.2 Forth Valley |273 |14.2 |8.0 Grampian |296 |13.0 |5.4 Greater Glasgow |866 |18.3 |6.9 Highland |135 |15.2 |6.2 Lanarkshire |273 |13.4 |5.4 Lothian |439 |16.3 |5.5 Orkney |- |- |- Shetland |- |- |- Tayside |330 |16.2 |6.5 Western Isles |- |- |- |---- |---- |---- Total |3,331 |15.3 |6.0
Mr. Goodlad : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many patients with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia psychoses were discharged from mental illness hospitals in Scotland in the last year ; and how many were admitted for a hospital stay more than once during the year.
Column 2581987 with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenic psychoses of whom 250 were readmitted at least once within the calendar year.
Mr. Goodlad : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people with a main diagnosis of schizophrenia psychoses were discharged from mental illness hospitals in Scotland in each of the last five years ; and how many of them were taken into local authority residential care in the same year.
Discharges<1> from mental illness hospitals with a main diagnosis of schizophrenic psychoses, 1982-87, showing discharges to local authority or hostel care |1982 |1983 |1984 |1985 |1986 |<2>1987 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total discharges |2,500 |2,633 |2,566 |2,698 |2,518 |2,452 Discharges to local authority or hostel care |71 |75 |81 |93 |108 |115 <1> Includes discharges following readmissions. <2> Provisional.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Attorney-General if he will be seeking Crown immunity from prosecution for the institutions which are the responsibility of the Lord Chancellor's Department when the anticipated new controls on emissions come into operation.
Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he has any plans to propose to the World Bank that all future funds from the International Development Association to the poorest countries be in the form of grants not loans ;
(2) if he has any plans to propose to the governing bodies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that, as part of their Third world debt policy, they include the six guidelines for structural adjustment programmes agreed by Ministers at the Development Assistance committee meeting in December 1987 ; (3) if he will propose to the European Community that all aid loans, past, present and future, to the poorest countries now be converted into grants and all new aid be in the form of grants.
Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to increase the number of staff in the overseas development administration dealing with environmental and social aspects of aid.
All project managers have responsibility for the environmental aspects of aid which must be addressed at the earliest stage of the project cycle. Environmental advice to the Department has recently been strengthened by a formal link with the International Institute for Environment and Development.
Mr. Chris Patten : Britain already has a substantial and effective aid programme of some £1,387 million in the current financial year. It is planned to grow significantly in real terms over the next three years.
Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the Lome talks result in European Economic Community aid making provisions for more staff and resources for environmentally sustainable projects.
Mr. Chris Patten : The Community has already made clear the importance that it attaches to protecting the environment and has reaffirmed its willingness to step up co-operation with its African, Caribbean and Pacific partners in this area under the next Lome convention.
It is for the Commission to decide how its staff complement is distributed but I certainly hope that it will give due weight to enhancing its own capacity to cover environmental concerns. We ourselves are temporarily financing a forestry expert to work within the Directorate-General for Development.
Mrs. Currie : A circular HC(77)9 issued in April 1977 advised health authorities that while some domiciliary service would remain necessary, especially for elderly housebound people, for patients generally they should examine the scope for more economical alternatives which would not affect the standard of service, but would enable better use to be made of chiropodists' time. That advice remains unchanged. It is, however, for individual health authorities to determine the level of chiropody services that they provide, including domiciliary visits, in the light of their assessment both of local needs and of resources.
Mr. Mellor : We estimate that 11.7 million sight tests were undertaken in the general optical services in England in 1987-88. In the same period, just over 29 million dental examinations were undertaken in the general dental services.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what conclusions the Government draw from the report of the committee of inquiry into the care and aftercare of Miss Sharon Campbell, Cm. 440.
Mrs. Currie : The report made a number of very helpful recommendations relating to the care of mentally disordered people in the community. It was drawn to the attention of health and local authorities to whom its contents will be of value in terms of service planning and good practice.
We are considering those recommendations which are specifically directed to the Secretary of State, and others which may require some action or consideration at national level. We shall, of course, take action to implement any changes that are necessary.
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research is proposed or currently being undertaken into the cause of an above average number of brain tumours among male adults in certain parts of north Humberside.
Mrs. Currie : We have not yet received the assessment and advice to which I referred in my reply on 28 July to my hon. Friend at column 538. We do not propose to consider further research before then. We are not aware of any similar research by anyone else.
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has received from experts on medical statistics following his request for an assessment of the report on childhood cancers in north Humberside.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many appeals regarding (a) nurses and (b) midwives grading have been received by each district health authority ; and what percentage that is of all nurses and midwives in each area ;
(2) how many appeals have been heard in each of the last 15 days concerning nurses and midwives grading, for each grade A to G ; how many were won and how many lost ; how many persons were involved in each case ;
(3) how many appeals have been lodged regarding nurses and midwives grading, how many persons are involved (a) in total and (b) by rank ; how many involve each grade A to G ; and how many appeals are expected to be heard in each of the next 10 weeks.
Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he proposes to publish the report of the working group on the short-term prediction of HIV infection and AIDS in England and Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Mellor : The report has been published today. We are most grateful to Sir David Cox and members of the working group for their work in preparing this report. A copy has been placed in the Library.
Column 261The main conclusions of the report are :
-- between 10,000 and 30,000 AIDS cases are likely to be diagnosed between 1987 and 1992, and the "recommended basis for planning" is 13,000 cases ;
-- by the end of 1992 between 7,500 and 17,000 persons are expected to have died from AIDS ;
-- assuming that no treatment emerges which significantly prolongs the life of people with AIDS, the number of living people with AIDS at a particular point in time is expected to rise from the present level of about 1,350 to a recommended basis for planning of over 5, 000 by the end of 1992 ;
-- the figures given above relate only to cases expected to be reported to the communicable disease surveillance centre under current conditions. Adjustments for under-reporting would increase them by at least 20 per cent. ;
-- the rate of increase in new AIDS cases is slowing, probably as a result of changes in behaviour of the homosexual community which occurred from about the mid-1980s, but the report stresses that "it would be a gross error to regard even the lower predictions as grounds for complacency". This, it says, is particularly so in view of the significant number of heterosexuals thought to be infected and the potential for spread within the general population. The report points out that any reversal of the changes which have led to the slowing down of the spread amongst homosexual men could lead to a further phase of rapid growth ;
-- by the end of 1987 between 20,000 and 50,000 persons were infected with HIV in England and Wales of whom some 13,000 to 30,000 were probably homosexual men. Between 2,000 and 5,500 are thought to have been infected through heterosexual contact, but assuming that most injecting drug misusers and haemophiliacs are heterosexual, the total pool of infected heterosexuals could be between 6,000 and 17, 000 ;
-- the group made no predictions about future numbers of HIV infections because these depend on unforsee-able changes in behaviour patterns.
The Government accept the figures in the report as a basis for future planning.
We accept the report's recommendations for updating its predictions and for improving the present data collection arrangements. We are taking forward with the communicable disease surveillance centre arrangements for preparing annual updates of the projections for England and Wales. In Scotland similar annual updates of the predictions of the Tayler Report of 1987 will be undertaken in conjunction with the communicable diseases (Scotland) unit. The recommendations for further research studies to improve epidemiological information, notably for large scale HIV surveillance based on anonymous testing, will be followed through as part of the action to improve HIV surveillance announced by my right hon. and learned Friend last week.
On the recommendations for improving the reporting systems for cases of HIV and AIDS we are inviting Dr. Joe Smith, director of the public health laboratory service, to make proposals to the chief medical officers on ways of reducing to a minimum the under-reporting of HIV infection and AIDS.
(2) whether he has any proposals for the regulation and control of fees for privately managed retirement homes for the elderly ; and if he will make a statement.