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Mr. Ryder : No detailed up-to-date information is available but according to information gathered in March 1988, the various member states intended to operate the scheme as shown in the attached table.




                         |Belgium       |Luxembourg    |Nether-lands  |France        |Spain         |Portugal      |Greece        |Italy         |United Kingdom|Denmark       |Germany       |Ireland                      

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

By issue of voucher      |x             |-             |-             |-             |-             |x             |-             |-             |-             |-             |-             |x                            

Through the soup kitchen |-             |-             |x             |-             |x             |-             |-             |-             |-             |-             |-             |x                            

Through hospitals,       |-             |-             |-             |-             |-             |-             |x             |-             |-             |-             |-             |-                            

orphanages,old people's                                                                                                                                                                                                     

homes etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Via charity networks     |-             |x             |-             |x             |x             |-             |-             |x             |x             |x             |x             |-                            

Attempts to define the   |x             |x             |-             |-             |x             |-             |-             |-             |x             |-             |x             |x                            

"most needy"                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what information he has concerning the incidence of BSE in other European Economic Community countries or other countries with trade in animal production with Britain ;

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that animal products entering the United Kingdom for human consumption do not originate from BSE infected animals.

Mr. Donald Thompson : BSE has not been reported in other member states of the European Community or any other country with which the United Kingdom trades.

Dairy Quotas

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many United Kingdom dairy farmers who participated in the milk non -marketing scheme or the dairy herd conversion scheme subsequently made an application for quotas to his Department between 31 March 1984 and 31 July 1988.

Mr. Donald Thompson : For the vast majority of producers, the dairy produce quotas regulations provided for applications for quota to be made between 24 July and 28 August 1984. In England and Wales, well over 20,000 valid applications were received. It would be disproportionately expensive to estimate the number of these which were received from farmers who had participated in the non-marketing or dairy herd conversion schemes.


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Bovine Somatotropin

Mr. Evennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received concerning the use of bovine somatotropin ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : I have received a considerable number of letters from individuals and organisations expressing concern about the current field tests of bovine somatotropin.

Food Hygiene

Mr. Boswell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he will take to increase public awareness of the importance of sound food hygiene and handling practices.

Mr. Ryder : My Department in collaboration with the Department of Health, the Health Education Authority, The Institution of Environmental Health Officers and the public health laboratory service, has been preparing a major nationwide public food hygiene education campaign to be launched early in 1989. We commissioned a consumer survey in January 1988 which demonstrated a general lack of awareness of elementary food hygiene precautions in the home. As a result of this survey we decided to test an education leaflet in a pilot launch at five locations (Shrewsbury, Hull, Taunton, Maidstone and the London Borough of Wandsworth) between July and October 1988. The results have now been evaluated and, together with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, I shall be launching a nationwide campaign early next year.


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SOCIAL SECURITY

Young Share Fishermen

99. Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will bring forward proposals to restore the payment of unemployment benefit to share fishermen between the ages of 16 and 18 years who are prevented from working by adverse weather or sea conditions.

Mr. Scott : We have no plans to make special arrangements for this group.

Unemployment Benefit

98. Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will strengthen the requirements for potential unemployment pay beneficiaries to seek work.

Mr. Scott : I refer my hon. Friend to the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in the debate on the Loyal Address on 24 November at column 245. We propose to introduce a requirement that those claiming unemployment benefits must take active steps to find work.

Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information he has regarding the proportion of unemployment benefit disqualification cases in which disqualification was imposed for the maximum period (a) when the maximum was six weeks, (b) when it was 13 weeks and (c) since it was increased to 26 weeks.

Mr. Scott : There is no information available on the proportion of cases in which the maximum unemployment benefit disqualification period was imposed when that maximum was six weeks.

A very limited survey undertaken after the change in October 1986 showed that a maximum period of disqualification--13 weeks--was imposed in about 75 per cent. of cases. A copy of this survey was placed in the Library on 4 March 1988.

The effect of the increase in the maximum period to 26 weeks in April 1988 is being monitored and results should be available next year. An early examination by the chief


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adjudication officer of a small sample of decisions indicates that the maximum period of disqualification is now imposed in about 50 per cent. of cases.

Students

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his policy towards the future provision of (a) free dental treatment, (b) free prescriptions, (c) free eye checks and (d) assistance with the community charge, for students in full-time education in receipt of loans under Her Majesty's Government's recent proposals ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Scott : I refer the hon. Member to paragraph 3.27 of the White Paper "Top-up Loans for Students" (Cm. 520). People receiving full-time education under 19 will continue to be exempt from dental and prescription charges and entitled to free NHS sight tests. Others on a low income will be able to get free prescriptions and full or partial help with the cost of dental treatment and sight tests depending on their circumstances. Students who are shown in the community charge register as undertaking a full-time course of education will continue to be liable to pay only one fifth of the personal community charge for which they would otherwise be liable.

Family Credit and Housing Benefit

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will publish a table showing the cut-off points in net and gross terms for families with children claiming family credit and housing benefit based on average rent and rates for families with one, two and three children aged under 11 years, broken down into one and two parent families ;

(2) if he will publish a table showing the cut-off points in net and gross terms for families with children claiming family credit for families with one, two and three children aged under 11 years.

Mr. Scott : The information is set out in the table.


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Family Type                     Family credit                 Housing benefit                                                           

                                ceilings (£pw)                ceiling (£pw)                                                             

                                                              Rates                         Rent                                        

                               |Gross earnings|Net earnings  |Gross earnings|Net earnings  |Gross earnings|Net earnings                 

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

Single parent, one child                                                                                                                

   under 11                    |130           |105.49        |56            |53.20         |55            |52.25                        

Single parent, two children                                                                                                             

   under 11                    |143           |114.07        |55            |52.25         |54            |51.30                        

Single parent, three children                                                                                                           

   under 11                    |156           |122.65        |52            |49.40         |51            |48.45                        

Married couple, one child                                                                                                               

   under 11                    |130           |105.49        |95            |84.29         |93            |82.93                        

Married couple, two children                                                                                                            

   under 11                    |143           |114.07        |93            |82.93         |90            |80.89                        

Married couple, three children                                                                                                          

   under 11                    |156           |122.65        |80            |74.09         |78            |72.54                        

Notes: Average local authority rent and rate figures for 1988 are:                                                                      

For one child family: rent £18.60 per week; rates £7.70 per week                                                                        

For two child family: rent £19.90 per week; rates £8.20 per week                                                                        

Housing Benefit

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish a table showing the numbers receiving housing benefit in each local authority.


Column 122

Mr. Scott : The closing date for submission of statistical returns by local authorities was 16 November 1988. Some returns are still awaited and those received to date are being validated. The information will be made available when checking of all local authority returns is complete.


Column 123

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he has any plans to review the cut in housing benefit experienced by hospital patients after six weeks in hospital ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott : The downrating of housing benefit after six weeks in hospital was introduced as part of the reforms in April to achieve common rules for the treatment of patients in the main social security benefits. The system ensures that, after downrating, all claimants will have sufficient income to meet their eligible housing costs over and above the basic income support level.

We have undertaken to continue monitoring the effects of the reforms.

Benefits

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the budget for publicity and associated costs to increase the take -up of benefits, for each year since 1979.

Mr. Scott : Total Social Security expenditure on publicity and associated costs for each year since 1979 is as follows :


Year      |£ million          

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

1979-80   |1.9                

1980-81   |1.7                

1981-82   |1.6                

1982-83   |2.6                

1983-84   |2.5                

1984-85   |4.3                

1985-86   |4.5                

1986-87   |12.6               

1987-88   |12.4               

1988-89   |<1>12.8            

<1> Projected expenditure.    

Students (Benefits)

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimated savings will be made by his Department by the proposed withdrawal of students' rights to income support, unemployment and housing benefits.

Mr. Scott : I refer the hon. Member to annex E of the White Paper "Top-up Loans For Students" (Cm. 520) which estimates the saving at £65 million in the academic year 1990-91.

Attendance Allowance

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many persons, aged between the years of two and five, are in receipt of attendance allowance ; and if he will provide figures for the number of claimants aged two, three, four and five for the last year for which figures are available.

Mr. Scott : Information is not available in the form requested. The information which is available is in the table.


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Attendance allowance                                            

                                                  |Number       

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

Estimated number of allowances in payment for                   

   children aged 2 to 5 years at 31 March 1987    |19,800       

Number of claims decided in the year to September               

   1988 for children aged                                       

  2 to 4 years                                    |8,666        

  5 to 9 years                                    |4,637        

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average length of time from the lodging of an appeal against the refusal of attendance allowance to the appeal decision, for the years 1985 to 1988.

Mr. Scott : Information is not available in the precise form requested. The available information, which relates to applications for review made where a claim has been disallowed, where a lower-rate rather than a higher-rate allowance has been awarded or where the claimant believes the attendance allowance board should issue a certificate of attendance needs for a longer period, is in the table.


9

Attendance allowance: Average processing times of        

applications for                                         

review of attendance allowance board decisions 1985-1988 

Year               |Average processing                   

                   |time (weeks)                         

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

1988               |19.0                                 

1987               |18.5                                 

1986               |14.0                                 

1985               |13.0                                 

Family Credit

Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the average lapse of time between applications being made for family credit and the determination thereof.

Mr. Scott : Just under 23 working days in respect of all cases cleared during November. Of this, less than seven working days was for work within the family credit branch. The other 16 days were taken up by waiting for responses to inquiries.

Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many local offices of the Department of Social Security have no staff or officials trained to answer questions from applicants for family credit ; and if he will make it his intention to ensure that there is at least one in each local office.

Mr. Scott : All local offices have staff trained to answer inquiries about social security benefits, including family credit.

Christmas Bonus

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the change in the real-terms value of the pensioners' Christmas bonus for each year since 1972.

Mr. Scott : I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him on 21 July at columns 839-40.


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Income Support

Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will give, on the same basis as the tax/benefit tables, the total income support of an employed married man with children aged four and six, in December 1987, whose income was (a) £70 per week, (b) £120 per week and (c) £140 per week. (2) if he will state, on the same basis as the tax/benefit model tables, the total income support of an employed married man with children aged three, eight and eleven, in December 1987, whose income was (a) £70 per week, (b) £120 per week and (c) £140 per week.

Mr. Scott : I refer my hon. Friend to the April 1987 tax benefit model tables, copies of which are held in the Library.

Tax/Benefit Model Tables

Mr. Lester : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how soon he expects to publish tax/benefit model tables for 1988.

Mr. Scott : We expect to publish these tables shortly.

HEALTH

Civil Defence

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what specific progress has been made during the last three years by his Department in establishing methods for stockpiling medical supplies in the event of a nuclear war.

Mrs. Currie : We have reviewed peacetime storage arrangements to make greater use of direct supply systems, and introduced large regional distribution systems backed by more local satellite stores. New control systems are being introduced which would facilitate rapid exchange and borrowing between health authorities, the NHS and industry, where required. This is preferable to tying up


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resources in large contingency stocks for emergency use. Further, more detailed planning is still in progress, and guidance will be issued once that work is completed.

Health Authorities

Mr. Lamond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the level of funding available to the North Western regional health authority.

Mr. Mellor : Health authorities summarised accounts show that gross revenue expenditure in the North Western regional health authority has increased from £383 million in 1978-79 to some £1,003 million in 1987-88, an increase of 162 per cent. in cash and 28 per cent. in real terms. The region has received further increases this year totalling over 9 per cent. in cash or 3 per cent. in real terms. We shall be announcing allocations for 1989-90 shortly.

Community Care

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on the proposed primary care authorities in the light of the Griffiths report on community care ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) if he will make a statement regarding his Department's proposals to set up primary care authorities.

Mr. Mellor : I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) on 29 November at column 198.

Prescriptions

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for the last three financial years (a) the number and value of prescriptions in each National Health Service region and express these figures on a per thousand of population basis and (b) the number and value of prescriptions by the source of the prescription in each National Health Service region.

Mr. Mellor : The information requested can be provided only for calendar years and is set out in the following table :


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Year               |Average processing                                                                                                                  

                   |time (weeks)                                                                                                                        

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

1985                                                                                                                                                    

Northern           |24.0              |1.1               |7,780             |98.0              |3.9               |31,772                               

Yorkshire          |27.5              |2.4               |7,641             |105.4             |8.8               |29,284                               

Trent              |33.7              |2.8               |7,296             |128.8             |10.5              |27,851                               

East Anglia        |13.3              |3.7               |6,754             |54.1              |13.8              |27,543                               

North West Thames  |22.8              |0.5               |6,537             |92.0              |1.8               |26,413                               

North East Thames  |25.9              |1.1               |6,912             |98.2              |3.7               |26,168                               

South East Thames  |25.1              |1.1               |6,980             |99.2              |3.9               |27,535                               

South West Thames  |19.0              |0.6               |6,421             |78.0              |2.3               |26,323                               

Wessex             |19.0              |1.5               |6,671             |78.8              |5.5               |27,621                               

Oxford             |14.6              |1.6               |5,990             |61.0              |6.2               |25,036                               

South Western      |22.8              |2.6               |7,250             |91.0              |9.6               |28,874                               

West Midlands      |38.5              |1.8               |7,426             |146.7             |6.8               |28,301                               

Mersey             |19.8              |0.3               |8,173             |72.4              |11.0              |29,864                               

North Western      |33.8              |0.3               |8,460             |125.6             |1.1               |31,450                               

                   |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------                              

Total              |339.9             |21.3              |7,215             |1,329.1           |79.1              |28,211                               

                                                                                                                                                        

1986                                                                                                                                                    

Northern           |24.2              |1.1               |7,864             |105.5             |4.3               |34,250                               

Yorkshire          |28.3              |2.5               |7,862             |115.2             |9.7               |31,992                               

Trent              |34.3              |2.9               |7,404             |141.2             |11.6              |30,473                               

East Anglia        |13.5              |3.8               |6,760             |59.3              |15.2              |29,757                               

North West Thames  |22.7              |0.5               |6,511             |99.4              |2.0               |28,493                               

North East Thames  |26.1              |1.1               |6,927             |107.0             |4.6               |28,460                               

South East Thames  |25.5              |1.1               |7,042             |108.6             |4.3               |30,009                               

South West Thames  |19.1              |0.7               |6,458             |85.2              |2.6               |28,735                               

Wessex             |19.4              |1.5               |6,753             |86.6              |6.0               |30,124                               

Oxford             |14.9              |1.7               |5,998             |67.0              |6.8               |27,055                               

South Western      |23.4              |2.7               |7,375             |100.4             |10.7              |31,600                               

West Midlands      |39.2              |1.9               |7,569             |161.1             |1.6               |31,098                               

Mersey             |19.9              |0.3               |8,248             |79.4              |1.2               |32,902                               

North Western      |34.2              |0.3               |8,563             |137.2             |1.2               |34,376                               

                   |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------                              

Total              |344.4             |21.9              |7,289             |1,453.1           |87.1              |30,751                               

                                                                                                                                                        

1987                                                                                                                                                    

Northern           |25.2              |1.1               |8,202             |117.9             |4.9               |38,312                               

Yorkshire          |29.1              |2.6               |8,085             |129.1             |10.9              |35,810                               

Trent              |35.9              |3.1               |7,730             |159.5             |13.3              |34,318                               

East Anglia        |14.2              |4.0               |7,028             |67.0              |17.1              |33,261                               

North West Thames  |23.4              |0.5               |6,711             |110.8             |2.5               |31,759                               

North East Thames  |26.9              |1.1               |7,139             |120.3             |4.7               |31,900                               

South East Thames  |26.4              |1.2               |7,265             |121.7             |4.9               |33,490                               

South West Thames  |19.6              |0.7               |6,612             |94.9              |2.9               |32,061                               

Wessex             |20.2              |1.5               |6,948             |97.7              |6.8               |33,634                               

Oxford             |15.4              |1.8               |6,175             |75.5              |7.7               |30,180                               

South Western      |24.3              |2.9               |7,591             |113.6             |12.3              |35,424                               

West Midlands      |41.1              |2.0               |7,912             |182.7             |8.8               |35,154                               

Mersey             |21.0              |0.3               |8,701             |89.9              |1.3               |37,315                               

North Western      |35.7              |0.3               |8,939             |155.6             |1.4               |38,990                               

                   |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------           |-------                              

Total              |358.5             |23.2              |7,562             |1,636.1           |99.5              |34,514                               

Note: These figures relate to prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists and dispensing doctors within the family practitioner service but do not 

include items personally administered by prescribing doctors. The vast majority of prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacies are written by       

prescribing general medical practitioners but they also include a small number of prescriptions written by dentists, hospital doctors for outpatients,  

service doctors and doctors on board ship. Prescribing by hospital doctors (except as specified above) is not included as this information is not       

available centrally.                                                                                                                                    

Nurses (Grading)

Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the percentages of nurses in each grade at the theatre department at North Tees general hospital ; and what are the comparable surgical gradings at other similar establishments in the region.

Mr. Mellor : We do not hold this information centrally. My hon. Friend may wish to consider requesting the information from the health authorities concerned.

Private Companies

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what contractual constraints exist to prevent National Health Service financial officers who negotiate contracts with private companies from subsequently joining these firms ;

(2) if he will make it his policy to prevent by contract Health Service employees from leaving the service and taking immediate employment with private concerns with whom they were previously negotiating ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : It is for health authorities locally to determine such aspects in individual contracts of employment. We have no current plans to alter that position.


Column 128

Waiting Lists

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are currently on National Health Service waiting lists for general surgery (a) in the Crewe and Nantwich district health authority and (b) nationally.

Mr. Mellor : The latest figures show that, at 31 March 1988, there were 1,157 patients on the inpatient waiting list for general surgery in Crewe district health authority. The corresponding figure for England was 133,079.

Mr. Patnick : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the in-patient waiting list figures in March for the Trent regional health authority ; and what were the figures for the previous year and 1979.

Mr. Mellor : The information is given in the table.


In-patient waiting lists, Trent regional health          

authority                                                

                   |Total of all cases                   

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

March 1979         |72,864                               

March 1987         |57,111                               

<1>March 1988      |54,894                               

<1>on a comparable basis with previous statistics.       

Cook-chill Catering

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the total number of National Health Service establishments currently using cook-chill catering ; and if he will name each of the hospitals concerned.


Column 129

Mrs. Currie : I regret that information on those hospitals which provide cook-chill catering is not held centrally.

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what is the total public sector National Health Service investment in cook-chill catering to date ;

(2) what is the total private sector National Health Service investment in cook-chill catering to date.

Mrs. Currie : I regret that we do not hold this information centrally.

Nurses' Pay

Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health by how much nurses' pay has increased in real terms since 1979 ; and what was the comparable increase in the period from 1974 to 1979.

Mr. Mellor : The average pay of nurses and midwives has increased by 45 per cent. in real terms since 1979 compared with a fall of 21 per cent. between 1974 and 1979.

Cyclists and Motor Cyclists (Casualties)

Mr. David Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what number and proportion of admissions to casualty units in London are (a) cyclists and (b) motor cyclists.

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

Unleaded Petrol (Vehicle Conversion)

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has had any discussions for all district health authorities concerning the conversion of their vehicles to the use of lead-free petrol ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Currie : Departmental officials have had preliminary discussions with appropriate staff in the National Health Service. Lead- free petrol offers benefits in terms of running costs, better health and a cleaner environment. We will shortly be inviting health authorities to follow the example already set by Mersey regional health authority and introduce a programme for progressively switching over to running on lead- free petrol. Steps are being taken to secure favourable terms for conversion and purchase from major manufacturers and distributors and we shall be issuing an information pack to all authorities early in the new year.

Committee on Safety of Medicines

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those medical journals which are scanned by the Committee on Safety of Medicines and by his Department for reports on adverse reactions to medicines.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 5 December 1988] : Officials of the Department monitor reports of adverse drug reactions in the published literature by regularly scanning over 200 medical and scientific journals as well as using secondary abstracting sources to monitor other international publications. Regular searches of published literature are also carried out for reports relating to specific drugs. The Department also receives reports of


Column 130

adverse reactions in international scientific journals from pharmaceutical companies, from overseas regulatory authorities and from the World Health Organisation.

A wide range of sources of published information is available to the Committee on Safety of Medicines. It is not possible to produce a definitive list.

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the members of the Committee on Safety of Medicines indicating (a) their professional background, (b) whether their appointments are full-time or part-time and (c) their remuneration in each case.

Mr. Mellor [pursuant to his reply, 28 November 1988,c. 149-50] : The entry for Professor M. J. S. Langman, BSc, MD, FRCP should read " --Professor of Medicine, University of Birmingham."

Midwives

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many midwives in the Mersey regional health authority have been graded as D, E, F, G, H or I ; how many of these midwives have appealed against their grade ; and if he will list the number of years experience of each midwife at each grade.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke [holding answer 5 December 1988] : The numbers of midwives in the Mersey regional health authority transferred to each new clinical grade are given in the table. We do not hold centrally information on the number of appeals and on the length of service of individual midwives.


Clinical grades of midwives in Mersey regional health          

authority                                                      

Grade                |Number in each grade                     

                     |(whole time                              

                     |equivalents)                             

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

D                    |44                                       

E                    |320                                      

F                    |201                                      

G                    |390                                      

H                    |16                                       

I                    |48                                       

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information can be taken into account by the appeal machinery considering appeals for midwives in respect of their allocated grades other than shown on the assessment forms as submitted.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Appeals panels can take account of any information which they consider relevant.

Cancer Screening

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any plans to licence mobile cancer screening units ; and if he will list those regulations which currently govern their operation.

Mrs. Currie [holding answer 25 November 1988] : The Department has asked health authorities to establish a breast cancer screening programme. It is for health authorities to decide whether this service would be provided most effectively by static centres, mobile units or a combination of the two. We do not propose to distinguish between these two types of NHS unit by requiring mobile units to be specially licensed.


Column 131

The statutory regulations which govern the operation of mobile screening units are :

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

The Ionising Radiation Regulations 1985 (SI 1985 No. 1333) The Ionising Radiation (Protection of Persons Undergoing Medical Examination or Treatment) Regulations 1988 (SI 1988 No. 778) The Department's NHS procurement directorate has also issued guidance notes for health authorities on equipment requirements for breast cancer screening which includes comprehensive guidance on mobile breast cancer screening units including the constructional requirements of the trailer and its equipment.


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