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Column 168placed in the national press in mid- December. Regarding laying flocks, proposals designed to reduce salmonella contamination were announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 18 January 1989.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what support his Department is giving to local authorities who wish to reduce or eliminate their use of CFC's.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given today by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mrs. Bottomley).
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will publish tables showing the number of discretionary awards to students attending (a) drama schools, (b) dance schools and (c) art colleges, made by each local education authority in Scotland in each of the last five years.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The information requested by the hon. Member is not held by the Department and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has on the local education authorities in Scotland which give financial support to Theatre in Education companies.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Information on this subject is not held centrally.
Mr. Buchanan-Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will arrange to collate centrally information on the processing of the community charge in relation to the proper completion of inquiry and registration forms and on the imposition of penalties for improper completion and for other offences.
Mr. Lang : My officials maintain regular contact with community charge registration officers to discuss general progress in compiling the community charge registers. I do not consider that a formal system for the central collection of data is practicable or necessary.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will give any advice or assistance to employers about payment of the community charge by employees in tied housing ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : The liability of people living in tied houses to pay community charges is no different from the liability of most other members of the community. I therefore have no plans to issue special guidance. Employers who provide tied housing will need to negotiate with their employees any changes in the conditions of employment under which such houses are provided, which may be required to take account of the effects of the abolition of domestic rates and the introduction of the community charge arrangements.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give a breakdown by health boards in Scotland of the number of registered general nurses graded D who have more than one year's service.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : This information is not held centrally.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people are in prison in Scotland for non-payment of debts, excluding non- payment of fines.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 9 February 1989] : This information is not available in the form requested. In December 1988 the average daily population of civil prisoners in Scottish penal establishments was 0.6 persons. In the year 1987, 113 applications for civil imprisonment were disposed of by the courts ; 98 of these were for non-payment of aliment.
Civil imprisonment has therefore been a relatively little used procedure for anything other than non-payment of aliment. Since the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 came into
Column 170operation on 30 November 1988 there can be no civil imprisonment for rates, tax penalties or the majority of civil fines and penalties due to the Crown. Civil imprisonment has never been a competent penalty in respect of non-payment of community charges or of civil penalties imposed by community charges registration officers in Scotland.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state in respect of environmentally sensitive areas in Scotland (a) the total extent, in hectares, of each environmentally sensitive area, (b) the extent of agricultural land within each environmentally sensitive area, (c) the number of farmers eligible to enter into management agreements in each environmentally sensitive area, (d) the number of agreements concluded with farmers in each environmentally sensitive area and (e) the total area of land covered by agreements in each environmentally sensitive area.
Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 13 February 1989] : The information is as follows :
|Total area (has) |Estimated extent of |Estimated number of |Concluded agreements |Area covered by |agricultural land (has)|eligible |agreements (has) |farmers/crofters -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Breadalbane |120,000 |90,000 |160 |68 |30,400 Loch Lomond |42,000 |30,600 |89 |22 |10,500 Whitlaw and Eildon |8,000 |7,500 |65 |3 |330 Stewartry |42,000 |39,000 |300 |25 |3,400 The Machair of the Uists, Benbecula, Barra and Vatersay |7,000 |7,000 |<1>800 |69 |900 <1> Plus 65 Grazing committees.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects his Department's 1989-90 programme of research in the sexual abuse of children to be concluded and announced to the public.
Mr. Freeman : Current projects being undertaken cover the period 1987 to 1993. Each project will end as determined by its timetable. Projects in the 1989-90 programme have not yet been commissioned. Each individual project will be considered carefully and thoroughly through the Department's research commissioning mechanism. The precise start and finish dates are dependent on the research design and any changes needed in the light of professional, scientific or interdepartmental advice.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what specific medical or public health purpose it is necessary to collect and report on AIDS surveillance clinical report forms submitted by clinicians to the PHLS communicable disease surveillance centre, the full names and addresses of people diagnosed with AIDS to the centre ; what precautions are taken to protect this information during and after transmission to the centre ;
Column 170what information is stored in computer databanks and where ; for what medical or public health purpose ; and subject to what safeguards against unauthorised disclosure ;
(2) what precautions are taken in respect of HIV and AIDS clinical report forms and data submitted by microbiologists or clinicians to the PHLS communicable disease surveillance centre to ensure that such information is not accessible to temporarily employed staff ; (3) in respect of AIDS surveillance clinical report forms submitted by clinicians to the PHLS communicable disease surveillance centre, to what extent the collection of data not necessary for specific medical or public health purposes has contributed to the national under-reporting of AIDS which has recently been identified and assessed by the centre and Office of Population Censuses and Surveys staff ;
(4) in respect of AIDS surveillance clinical report forms submitted by clinicians to the PHLS communicable disease surveillance centre, what steps he proposes to take to limit data collection to that necessary to ensure the most comprehensive possible reporting of AIDS diagnoses and deaths.
Mr. Freeman : The system for reporting HIV and AIDS cases to the communicable diseases surveillance centre (CDSC) is designed to provide the data necessary for surveillance while safeguarding confidentiality.
Column 171The information collected consists of personal and clinical data required to identify the health district of residence and the clinical condition. The forms used for data collection are kept under review in the light of experience, and are currently being revised. CDSC takes a number of steps to safeguard confidentiality. It urges reporting clinicians to encode surnames and provide assistance to them on the use of the soundex code. Addresses are not usually given as only the health district of residence is required. If addresses are given, CDSC encodes them. Only certain members of the staff have access to the written reports which are stored in lockable cabinets in particularly secure buildings. Data held on computer contains no names and addresses and access to it is protected by special security software. On starting employment, all staff have to sign a form drawing their attention to their responsibility to protect confidentiality.
Current evidence suggests that the reporting of known AIDS cases is reasonably complete. To improve the completeness of reporting further, we announced on November 30 that we were asking Dr. Joe Smith, director of the public health ‡laboratory service, to make proposals for reducing under- reporting to a minimum.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioner practices with more than 11,000 patients there are in (a) Nottingham district health authority, (b) Nottingham, North constituency, (c) the city of Nottingham and (d) the Rushcliffe constituency.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : We collect the information requested from family practitioner committees, which are not necessarily coterminous with health authority boundaries. As at 1 October 1987 (the latest date for which figures are available) the number of partnerships in the area covered by the Nottingham family practitioner committee (which includes Nottingham district health authority) with 11,000 patients or more was 19. Information on Nottingham, North constituency, the city of Nottingham and the Rushcliffe constituency is not available centrally.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what regulations govern the appointment of medical advisers to local authorities.
Mr. Freeman : There are no regulations governing such appointments, but the Department's advice on procedures for the appointment of community physicians extends to doctors who provide services to local authorities.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his policy regarding the attendance of National Health Service employees at Select Committees ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : The Department's policy on the attendance of National Health Service employees before Select Committees is that this should happen whenever it seems likely to be of material assistance to a Committee's inquiry. To date, National Health Service employees have
Column 172appeared on a number of occasions before the Public Accounts Committee and the Social Services Committee, either at the request of the Committee concerned or, with the agreement of the Committee, to join witnesses from the Department of Health. We believe that they have made a useful contribution to the work of those Committees.
Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what was the total cost of producing the second in the series of dental postgraduate education videos, "ALARA" ; and whether this can be broken down, approximately, into cost per video ;
(2) what was the total number of the dental education videos, "ALARA", distributed in Britain ; and what was the regional distribution pattern in terms of dental practices supplied ; (3) what categories of dental personnel were involved in the making of the dental educational video, "ALARA" ; and what were the total numbers ;
(4) what arrangements have been made by his Department to collect and analyse responses to the second educational dental video, "ALARA" ; and whether the results of such an analysis will be made available generally to the dental profession.
Mr. Freeman : The dental educational video, ALARA, was produced at a cost of approximately £41,500, just under £4 a copy, and distributed to all dental practices in England providing general dental services. The video has also been made available to dental practices in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Twelve members of the profession took part in the production, including the president of the British Dental Association, a professor of dental radiology, a consultant dental surgeon, a postgraduate dental dean together with general dental practitioners and senior dental officers of the Department.
Arrangements have been made by the British Postgraduate Medical Federation, which commissioned the video, to receive dentists' comments. These will be analysed and the results published.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children there were in local authority care for each year since 1979.
Mr. Freeman : The numbers of children in local authority care for each year 1979-86 and provisional figures for 1987 are given in "Children in care of local authorities, year ending 31 March, England", published annually, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. Over this period the numbers in care have decreased.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will provide exemplifications of the total cost of indicative prescriptions budget for general practitioners in each National Health Service region.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I will be publishing shortly a working paper which discusses arrangements for the introduction of indicative drug budgets.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he proposes to take to ensure that general practitioner practices accept chronically sick or disabled people on to their registers when cash limited budgets are introduced ;
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of cash-limited budgets for general practitioners upon chronically sick people in the community.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Practice budgets will be set to reflect the age and tendency to sickness of practice lists to ensure that doctors have no reason at all to refuse patients for financial reasons. In exceptional cases adjustments will be required in respect of individual patients who require more costly treatment. The practice budgets and drug budgets of GPs will therefore have no effect at all on the attractiveness of chronically sick or disabled people as potential patients.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will provide exemplifications of allocations to regional health authorities on a weighted capitalisation basis for the 1988-89 financial year and also give the actual allocations made and the resources allocation working party targets for National Health Service regions in that year.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : The table shows the initial 1988-89 revenue allocations to regional health authorities, together with their distances from RAWP targets. A comparison with allocations on a weighted capitation basis as set out in the White Paper "Working for Patients" is not possible in the absence for that year of any negotiations between regions about payments for cross-boundary flows.
|c|1988-89 Revenue Allocations and Distance from RAWP Targets|c| Region |Initial allocation<1>|Distance from target |£ million |per cent. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Northern |758 |-1.56 Yorkshire |851 |-1.39 Trent |1,058 |-2.70 East Anglian |451 |-3.99 North West Thames |878 |4.46 North East Thames |1,084 |7.29 South East Thames |949 |1.69 South West Thames |768 |0.97 Wessex |633 |-1.79 Oxford |499 |-2.58 South Western |749 |-1.39 West Midlands |1,214 |-1.32 Mersey |609 |1.48 North Western |1,039 |-1.35 <1> Includes RAWP allocation, joint finance and earmarked sums eg supra-regional services, AIDS, breast cancer screening. But excludes later additions for review body pay award.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to change the status of the sanitary tampon and redefine it as a medical appliance.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement following the World Health Organisation investigation into the levels of PCBs, PCDDs and PCDFs in breast milk.
Mr. Freeman : The draft report of the World Health Organisation into the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzoparadioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans in breast milk is among the data being considered by the Department's committee on toxicity of chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment. It has been asked to advise on the possible health effects from all dioxins.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the presence of organochlorines in infant body tissues.
Mr. Freeman : Organochlorine compounds persist in body fat which is therefore a good indicator of exposure of body tissues. Surveys of human fat for these compounds were done in the United Kingdom between 1963 and 1977 as well as more recently between 1982 and 1983. These surveys dealt with persons aged five years and over but the 1982-83 survey also looked at four samples of fat from infants aged from five days to three months. The results confirmed that residues of organochlorine compounds (OCCs) might occur in newly born infants but the results were too few to allow further interpretation. A further survey of human fat is being planned and it is intended to look at samples from infants where available. The levels of OCCs found in these human fat samples show a downward trend and are unlikely to result in any adverse health effects.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information is available to his Department on the presence of organochlorines in breast milk and umbilical cord tissue.
Mr. Freeman : Surveys of organochlorine compounds in breast milk were carried out in the United Kingdom in 1979-80 and 1983-84, the results being published in MAFF food surveillance papers No. 9 (1982) and 16 (1986). Copies of these are in the Library.
There are no United Kingdom data on levels of organochlorine compounds in placental tissue and umbilical cord blood, but limited information from other countries, available in the published scientific literature, shows that organochlorine compounds do cross the placenta into the foetus. However, these compounds are highly fat-soluble and greater exposures occur postnatally via breastmilk than prenatally via the placenta.
The independent expert committee advising the Government on these matters, the committee on the toxicity of chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment, has stated that the toxicological information available is not adequate to exclude the possibility of effects on infant health from exposure to organochlorine compounds in breast milk, and recommended continued monitoring of human milk samples in the United Kingdom. A further survey has been planned.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been conducted into a possible link between sea water pollution and cases of meningitis.
Mr. Freeman : I am not aware of any such research. The research projects into meningitis supported by the Medical Research Council were listed in the reply given on 21 December by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science at column 292.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been undertaken on the effects on women's health of dioxins in sanitary tampons ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Research in Sweden has shown that the level of dioxins in sanitary tampons is extremely low. These levels are likely to present a negligible risk to women's health. The relevant trade association has been asked to provide information on levels found in products on sale in the United Kingdom and data on the
bioavailability of dioxins in tampons. A further assessment of risks to health will then be made.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether there is a declared safe level for TCDD (tetrachlorodibenzodoxin) ; (2) whether there is a safe level of dioxins with regard to human health.
Mr. Freeman : The Department's committee on toxicity of chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment has been asked to advise on the possible health effects from all dioxins. One of these, TCDD, has been classified by the International Agency for Research into Cancer as a possible human carcinogen.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will instruct local authorities and health authorities to provide the recently developed Legionnaire's disease rapid testing kits for use in water cooling systems to their engineers and environmental health officers.
Mr. Freeman : The latest advice available to me on this matter is from the expert advisory committee on biocides. Its report, published on 8 February, welcomed the appearance of this kit but considered a thorough evaluation of it was essential.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received since September 1988 from residents of Rutland against the proposed closure of the maternity unit at the Rutland Memorial hospital, Oakham ; what action he intends to take to prevent the Leicestershire health authority from proceeding with that closure ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : We have received 22 local representations on the matter.
Column 176Responsibility for the provision of local health services rests with the district health authority concerned.
Ministers are not involved in such decisions unless agreement cannot be reached locally.
Mr. Boswell To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give the scientific basis for the assumption in the report of the joint working group on salmonella in eggs that a multiplication factor of 100 is appropriate in estimating total salmonella infections from recorded cases.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : The report does not make this assumption, but it does quote some American practice of using a multiplication factor of 100.
The public health laboratory service considers that there is considerable under-reporting of salmonella food poisoning, because not all affected persons consult a doctor, and those that do may not have a culture taken. Even when doctors secure positive results, the cases may not be reported. However, it is difficult to assess the degree of under-reporting of salmonella food poisoning in England and Wales as no specific studies of this question have been made. There is therefore no multiplier which can be specifically applied to this country.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any plans to establish an independent inquiry into food poisoning.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : An expert committee is to be established on microbiological safety in food. It will report to me and my hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, but it will have an independent chairman. Its members will include outside experts and Government advisers--for example, scientists or those with practical experience in the production, processing, retailing or preparation of food in the home or in catering. It will investigate issues referred to it by Departments, but it will also be able to initiate its own investigations. Its reports will be published.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the future of the ambulance service under the proposals in the White Paper on the National Health Service.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) on Wednesday 8 February at column 696.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish a table showing the relevant figures in table 14.19 of Cm. 614 adjusted by the hospital and community health service pay and price deflator.
Mr. Freeman : Following is the information :
|c|Hospital and community health services, United Kingdom-current expenditure|c| £ millions |1983-84|1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cash figures table 14.19 Cm. 614 Gross |11,070 |11,706 |12,348 |13,249 |14,604 Net |10,767 |11,398 |12,018 |12,892 |14,219 Figures adjusted by hospital and community health services pay and price deflator Gross |14,284 |14,276 |14,325 |14,370 |14,604 Net |13,893 |13,900 |13,942 |13,983 |14,219 The table sets out hospital and community health services current expenditure figures from 1983-84 adjusted by the hospital and community health services pay and price deflator for the years in which it is available. These figures do not take account of income from cash releasing cost improvements which, in the years shown, provided a significant contribution to the total resources available for service development.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information is taken from patients in Parkside hospital area concerning patients' nationality and country of origin.
Mr. Freeman : This information is not held centrally. My hon. Friend, however, may wish to contact the chairman of Parkside health authority for further details.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether any hospital wards which have been closed in the last two years will be reopened under the proposals of the White Paper "Working for Patients".
Mr. Kenneth Clarke [holding answer 9 February 1989] : Hospital wards may be closed for a variety of reasons including, for example, the development of better alternative facilities. But under the present funding arrangements a hospital which becomes more efficient and could treat more patients may be prevented from doing so because funds do not flow with the patients. The White Paper's proposals will make it easier for NHS hospitals to offer their services to their own and other districts in a way which enables them to attract the funds they need in line with the work they are asked to do.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those district health authorities which have contracted out kidney dialysis services to (a) charities and (b) commercial companies.
Mr. Freeman [holding answer 30 January 1989] : I am aware of only one district health authority which has contracted out hospital dialysis services in England. East Suffolk health authority has let a contract to Unicare Medical Services for provision of dialysis at Ipswich.
Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any plans to introduce legislation to amend section 33 of the Public Health Act 1933.
Mr. Moynihan : I understand that my hon. Friend is referring to section 33 of the Public Health Act 1936. I have no plans to introduce legislation to amend that provision.
Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the figures for 1979 to the present for mortgage repossessions in the north-west of England and each of the metropolitan boroughs of the north-west of England.
Mr. Trippier : The Department has no estimate for the numbers of mortgage repossessions in the north-west of England. The Building Societies Association publishes numbers of repossessions only for the United Kingdom, because the numbers are too small to break down by regions. My Department collects information on repossessions instigated in respect of mortgages made by local authorities, who made less than 1 per cent. of the total mortgage loans in the United Kingdom in 1987. In 1987-88 there were an estimated 90 repossessions in the north-west administrative region which were made by local authorities.
|c|Building society repossessions, United Kingdom|c| |Number ---------------------- 1979 |2,530 1980 |3,020 1981 |4,240 1982 |5,950 1983 |7,320 1984 |10,870 1985 |16,770 1986 |20,930 1987 |22,930 <1>1988 |9,770 <1> First half.
|c|Local authority mortgage repossessions, England|c| |Number ---------------------- 1981-82 |1,100 1982-83 |950 1983-84 |840 1984-85 |570 1985-86 |630 1986-87 |490 1987-88 |330
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will indicate how many successful prosecutions were brought against the Thames water authority in (a) 1987 and (b) 1988, to the extent that information is available, for (i) causing pollution or (ii) in any other ways failing to meet their obligations as a water authority.