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Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I have had three meetings with the general medical services committee to discuss the proposed new contract for general practitioners on 8 September 1988, 9 February 1989 and 20 March 1989. The first two meetings were to review progress on the continuing discussions on the new contract and covered the policy aims of the revised contract very fully. The last meeting was a three-hour discussion of the eight detailed points that the GMSC wished to put to me and its requests for outstanding detailed information.

The GMSC has always agreed with me that revised regulations and a new statement of fees and allowances are required and should take effect in April 1990. We have agreed a number of points of the new contract including some originally proposed by the GMSC. I have stressed at all three meetings that I believe that we should make progress in the discussions because of the need to give GPs as much notice as possible of the new terms and conditions so that they can adjust their practices to prepare for them.

I explained to the GMSC at our last meeting that I would reflect on the detailed submissions it put to me and respond to them in the draft regulations and statement that I will now put to it. Further consultation will take place on the terms of the draft regulations and statement.

Private Residential Homes

34. Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will meet Age Concern to discuss the rapid increase in the number of private residential homes and its relevance to the report by Sir Roy Griffiths on community care.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 21 March 1989] : We are currently giving active consideration to the future organisation and management of community care following Sir Roy Griffiths' report. We hope to bring forward our proposals soon and will consider requests for meetings from organisations involved in community care at that stage.

Hearing Aids

40. Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the waiting lists for hearing aids in the Leicester health authority ; and what action the Government propose to take to cut them.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 21 March 1989] : Provision of local health services is a matter for the relevant district health authority, in this case Leicestershire. The hon. Member may care to write to the chairman of the authority for the information he seeks.

No-fault Compensation

56. Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the British Medical

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Association concerning the introduction of a partial no-fault compensation system for high risk medical practitioners.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 21 March 1989] : We have had no such discussions.

Health Authorities (Expenditure)

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list by each district health authority area the overall levels of spending per head of population ;

(2) if he will list by each district health authority area the levels of spending per head of population by each identifiable cost centre.

Mr. Freeman [ holding answer 19 December 1988] : District based figures of total revenue expenditure per head of resident population for 1987-88 are shown in the table.

For information on average treatment costs by type of hospital for health regions and England as a whole I refer the hon. Member to the Department's annual publication "Health Services Costing Returns" (the latest being for 1986-87)--copies of which are held in the Library.


District health                       |Total revenue expenditure                          

authorities                           |per resident £ cash                                



Northern region                                                                           

Hartlepool                            |233                                                

North Tees                            |181                                                

South Tees                            |253                                                

East Cumbria                          |229                                                

South Cumbria                         |169                                                

West Cumbria                          |195                                                

Darlington                            |253                                                

Durham                                |149                                                

North West Durham                     |215                                                

South West Durham                     |223                                                

Northumberland                        |220                                                

Gateshead                             |168                                                

Newcastle                             |514                                                

North Tyneside                        |134                                                

South Tyneside                        |161                                                

Sunderland                            |223                                                


Districts total                       |229                                                


Yorkshire region                                                                          

Hull                                  |236                                                

East Yorkshire                        |212                                                

Grimsby                               |207                                                

Scunthorpe                            |151                                                

Northallerton                         |139                                                

York                                  |225                                                

Scarborough                           |167                                                

Harrogate                             |211                                                

Bradford                              |214                                                

Airedale                              |191                                                

Calderdale                            |187                                                

Huddersfield                          |224                                                

Dewsbury                              |162                                                

Leeds Western                         |275                                                

Leeds Eastern                         |263                                                

Wakefield                             |339                                                

Pontefract                            |172                                                


Districts total                       |218                                                


Trent region                                                                              

North Derbyshire                      |143                                                

South Derbyshire                      |201                                                

Leicestershire                        |196                                                

North Lincolnshire                    |228                                                

South Lincolnshire                    |172                                                

Bassetlaw                             |167                                                

Central Nottinghamshire               |196                                                

Nottingham                            |254                                                

Barnsley                              |178                                                

Doncaster                             |191                                                

Rotherham                             |170                                                

Sheffield                             |322                                                


Districts total                       |212                                                


East Anglian Region                                                                       

Cambridge                             |282                                                

Peterborough                          |202                                                

West Suffolk                          |177                                                

East Suffolk                          |206                                                

Norwich                               |219                                                

Great Yarmouth and Waveney            |184                                                

West Norfolk and Wisbech              |166                                                

Huntingdon                            |189                                                


Districts Total                       |209                                                


North West Thames Region                                                                  

North Bedfordshire                    |159                                                

South Bedfordshire                    |171                                                

North Hertfordshire                   |149                                                

East Hertfordshire                    |118                                                

North West Hertfordshire              |283                                                

South West Hertfordshire              |126                                                

Barnet                                |263                                                

Harrow                                |218                                                

Hillingdon                            |282                                                

Hounslow and Spelthorne               |211                                                

Ealing                                |158                                                

Brent                                 |220                                                

Paddington                            |599                                                

Riverside                             |514                                                


Districts Total                       |236                                                


North East Thames Region                                                                  

Basildon and Thurrock                 |185                                                

Mid Essex                             |199                                                

North East Essex                      |202                                                

West Essex                            |175                                                

Southend                              |161                                                

Barking, Havering and Brentwood       |188                                                

Hampstead                             |592                                                

Bloomsbury                            |1,076                                              

Islington                             |334                                                

City and Hackney                      |483                                                

Newham                                |227                                                

Tower Hamlets                         |485                                                

Enfield                               |166                                                

Haringey                              |270                                                

Redbridge                             |193                                                

Waltham Forest                        |288                                                


Districts Total                       |273                                                


South East Thames                                                                         

Brighton                              |218                                                

Eastbourne                            |203                                                

Hastings                              |202                                                

South East Kent                       |158                                                

Canterbury and Thanet                 |217                                                

Dartford and Gravesham                |229                                                

Maidstone                             |208                                                

Medway                                |164                                                

Tunbridge Wells                       |260                                                

Bexley                                |190                                                

Greenwich                             |300                                                

Bromley                               |205                                                

West Lambeth                          |568                                                

Camberwell                            |374                                                

Lewisham and North Southwark          |386                                                


Districts Total                       |251                                                


South West Thames                                                                         

North West Surrey                     |217                                                

West Surrey and North East Hampshire  |134                                                

South West Surrey                     |271                                                

Mid Surrey                            |276                                                

East Surrey                           |288                                                

Chichester                            |199                                                

Mid Downs                             |179                                                

Worthing                              |162                                                

Croydon                               |209                                                

Kingston and Esher                    |258                                                

Richmond, Twickenham and Roehampton   |176                                                

Wandsworth                            |543                                                

Merton and Sutton                     |227                                                


Districts Total                       |231                                                


Wessex Region                                                                             

East Dorset                           |183                                                

West Dorset                           |199                                                

Portsmouth and South East Hampshire   |172                                                

Southampton and South West Hampshire  |262                                                

Winchester                            |198                                                

Basingstoke and North Hampshire       |199                                                

Salisbury                             |278                                                

Swindon                               |201                                                

Bath                                  |190                                                

Isle of Wight                         |207                                                


Districts Total                       |203                                                


Oxford Region                                                                             

East Berkshire                        |171                                                

West Berkshire                        |173                                                

Aylesbury Vale                        |315                                                

Wycombe                               |126                                                

Milton Keynes                         |143                                                

Kettering                             |148                                                

Northampton                           |205                                                

Oxfordshire                           |229                                                


Districts Total                       |187                                                


South Western Region                                                                      

Bristol and Weston                    |279                                                

Frenchay                              |255                                                

Southmead                             |221                                                

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly          |181                                                

Exeter                                |254                                                

North Devon                           |199                                                

Plymouth                              |241                                                

Torbay                                |190                                                

Cheltenham                            |165                                                

Gloucester                            |208                                                

Somerset                              |192                                                


Districts Total                       |218                                                



Bromsgrove and Redditch               |177                                                

Herefordshire                         |192                                                

Kidderminster                         |273                                                

Worcester                             |195                                                

Shropshire                            |185                                                

Mid Staffordshire                     |153                                                

North Staffordshire                   |223                                                

South East Staffordshire              |178                                                

Rugby                                 |160                                                

North Warwickshire                    |213                                                

South Warwickshire                    |215                                                

Central Birmingham                    |521                                                

East Birmingham                       |211                                                

North Birmingham                      |223                                                

South Birmingham                      |283                                                

West Birmingham                       |322                                                

Coventry                              |220                                                

Dudley                                |190                                                

Sandwell                              |136                                                

Solihull                              |155                                                

Walsall                               |174                                                

Wolverhampton                         |228                                                

District Total                        |214                                                


Mersey region                                                                             

Chester                               |283                                                

Crewe                                 |171                                                

Halton                                |128                                                

Macclesfield                          |208                                                

Warrington                            |265                                                

Liverpool                             |325                                                

St. Helens and Knowsley               |182                                                

Southport and Formby                  |234                                                

South Sefton                          |321                                                

Wirral                                |196                                                


Districts Total                       |237                                                


North Western region                                                                      

Lancaster                             |353                                                

Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde             |186                                                

Preston                               |582                                                

Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley |181                                                

Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale        |300                                                

West Lancashire                       |228                                                

Chorley and South Ribble              |79                                                 

Bolton                                |181                                                

Bury                                  |152                                                

North Manchester                      |434                                                

Central Manchester                    |562                                                

South Manchester                      |518                                                

Oldham                                |165                                                

Rochdale                              |143                                                

Salford                               |363                                                

Stockport                             |176                                                

Tameside and Glossop                  |148                                                

Trafford                              |146                                                

Wigan                                 |172                                                


District Total                        |241                                                


(a) 1987-88 annual accounts of district health authorities.                               

(b) Mid-year estimates of resident population:-1987 (Office of Population Censuses and    



1. District capital expenditure and all expenditure incurred by regional health           

authorities on behalf of their regions as a whole is excluded.                            

2. Expenditure on family practitioner services is excluded: such expenditure is accounted 

for by family practitioner committees (FPCs) and cannot strictly be attributed to         

particular districts.                                                                     

3. Significant variations in per capita expenditure figures at district level arise       

principally because:                                                                      

i. people travel across district boundaries for treatment and sub-regional resource       

allocations reflect the pattern of service provision locally.                             

ii. the population figures used make no allowance for people resident in one district who 

receive treatment in another or for the difference in morbidity and age/sex structure of  

particular population.                                                                    

Column 675


Disability Payments

Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether a disabled person, in receipt of a disablement pension or the relevant disability allowances, is able to transfer such payment to another country, should that person decide to reside in another country ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Disablement pension is payable to a person who resides abroad. Reduced earnings allowance is generally payable only during temporary absences but is payable for permanent absence if the disabled person goes to a country with which we have a social security agreement which provides for this or goes to another EC country (provided he is a national of an EC country, or a stateless person or refugee living there). Attendance allowance and mobility allowance are payable during temporary absence of up to six months, or temporary absence for the specific purpose of being treated for an incapacity or a disabling condition which began before leaving Great Britain.

Severe disablement allowance (SDA) is payable during temporary absence for the specific purpose of being treated for an incapacity which began before leaving Great Britain ; or during temporary absence if the person had been continuously incapable of work for six months when the absence began and remains continuously so incapable. However, if the disabled person is going to another EC country and is helped by the EC regulations on social security for migrant workers he will be able to continue to receive SDA even if he does not meet the above rules.

Community Charge Benefits Regulations

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what representations he has received from computer companies on the timetable for the preparation of the community charge benefits regulations ;

(2) if he will make a statement on the progress being made on the preparation of the community charge benefits regulations ; and when he expects that they will be laid before the House.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : No representations have been received from computer companies about the timetable for preparing the Community Charge Benefits (General) Regulations 1989. Copies of the draft regulations were sent on 16 March to the Social Security Advisory Committee and to the local authority associations in accordance with the consultation requirements set out in section 61 of the Social Security Act 1986. The regulations will be laid before the House once the Social Security Bill has been enacted. In order to assist local authorities and the computer companies in their preparation for the introduction of the community charge benefits scheme, it is intended to send copies of the draft regulations to each authority as soon as possible after the completion of the consultation process.

Disablement Income Group

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what consideration his Department has given to the report published by the Disablement Income Group entitled, "Am I Entitled? Problems With The Take

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Up And Administration Of Attendance And Mobility Allowance"; if there is any action he will be taking ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott : The Department co-operated with this study, and commented on a draft of the report but we have not yet had an opportunity to consider the final version. We shall take careful account of the findings, together with the other recent Disablement Income Group report, "Being Disabled Costs More Than They Said," in our consideration of the OPCS findings.

Social Fund

Mr. Clay : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate as to how much of the funds allocated to the social fund will have been unspent by the end of the 1988-89 financial year, broken down into (i) budgeting loans, (ii) crisis loans, and (iii) community care grants.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Based on expenditure to the end of February 1989 the gross underspend on the loans budget at the end of the 1988-89 financial year is estimated at £18 million. The estimated underspend on the grants budget is £20 million. Crisis loans and budgeting loans are paid from a single loans budget.

Dame Peggy Fenner : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will announce the revised social fund allocation for the office at Chatham following the transfer to that office of responsiility for the area covered by Rochester area office.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : On 31 March 1989 the office at Rochester will close and merge with the office at Chatham on 1 April 1989. Accordingly the social fund allocation for Chatham has been adjusted. The revised allocation is :



Grants budget |159,467        

Loans budget  |385,634        

Departmental Staff

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many and what percentage of officers in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, respectively, in his Department are (a) women and (b) from ethnic minorities.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 20 March 1989] : Information is not available in the form required because records are held on a combined basis with the Department of Health.

Information for both Departments is as follows :

Grade    Total   Female staff    <1>Ethnic              

[                staff                   minority staff 


1       |3      |-      |-      |-      |-              

2       |12     |2      |16.7   |-      |-              

3       |39     |6      |15.4   |-      |-              

4       |29     |6      |20.7   |1      |3.4            

5       |268    |75     |28.0   |14     |5.2            

6       |373    |58     |15.5   |34     |9.1            

7       |1,049  |173    |16.5   |13     |1.2            


Total   |1,773  |320    |18.0   |62     |3.5            

<1> Ethnic minorities figures are based on              

questionnaires voluntarily completed by staff (75 per   

cent. response rate to date).                           

Column 677


Drilling Rigs

Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, in the light of his Department's instructions to operators, following the blowout on the Ocean Odyssey, to suspend drilling using flexible jumper hoses at high pressure until an alternative acceptable to his Department can be found, he will now present an interim report on the scope and methods of his Department's review and give an estimate of the completion date and if he will also release details of the number of well drilling operations which are prevented from proceeding until his Department's review is satisfactorily completed.

Mr. Peter Morrison : A full report of my Department's investigation into the Ocean Odyssey accident has been passed to the procurator fiscal in Aberdeen. The report takes account of both operational practices and the failure of the flexible hoses. Work is continuing on assessing all applications for consent to drill high pressure wells in order to ensure that they can be carried out safely giving full regard to the lessons learnt from the accident. Ten well operations are being delayed. Consent will be given when my Department is satisfied that it is safe to proceed.

Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, in the light of his Department's order that the drilling rigs Neddril Trigon, Glomar Labrador, Glomar Moray Firth, KCA Sandpiper, Shelf Driller, Trident X and Trident XI, are to be dry docked for inspection and remedial work following the discovery of serious cracking in the spud cans of one rig, he will now release the report of these inspection findings ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Morrison : Conclusions and recommendations will be published when the results of the inspections have been fully assessed.

Oil and Gas Pipelines

Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will provide a list of all installations of submarine emergency shutdown valves in oil and gas pipelines which have been or are being, or are planned to be carried out since the Piper Alpha disaster ; (2) how many existing oil and gas pipelines were fitted with submarine emergency shutdown valves prior to the Piper Alpha disaster ; and what are their locations ;

(3) if he will provide a list of all oil and gas pipelines with an operating pressure in excess of 600 lb per sq in and a diameter of 6 in or greater which do not contain submarine emergency shutdown valves ; and if he will also provide a list of the production platforms, onshore reception terminals and other facilities which are connected to these pipelines.

Mr. Peter Morrison : There are approximately 124 offshore oil and gas pipelines with an operating pressure in excess of 600 pounds per sq in and a diameter of 6 in or greater that do not have sub-sea emergency shut down valves fitted. Full details of these have been placed in the Library.

Six pipelines had sub-sea emergency shut down valves fitted prior to the Piper Alpha accident, located adjacent to the Brent Alpha, Fulmar, Murchison, Balmoral, Buchan

Column 678

and Argyll platforms. It was also intended that two valves would be installed on the new pipeline, yet to be commissioned, in the Ivanhoe/Rob Roy field.

Following the Piper Alpha accident and in response to a letter from my director of safety asking for pipeline isolation arrangements to be reviewed, the industry has to date made proposals for the installation of an additional 26 sub-sea pipeline isolation systems, seven of which have already been installed. A list of these has also been placed in the Library. My Department is giving urgent consideration to the proposals from operators and I expect the completion of the review work to identify the need for additional systems.

These systems together with the mandatory offshore installation isolation systems, the proposals for which were issued for consultation this week, will provide a further step to greater safety offshore.

Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy why the list of major changes to the Piper Alpha platform in annex B to the technical investigation interim report does not mention the tie-in of the Tartan field gas export pipeline to the Piper platform. Mr. Peter Morrison The tie -in of the Tartan field gas export pipeline to the Piper Alpha installation was outside the scope of annex B of the technical investigation interim report but is covered elsewhere in the report.

Electricity (Cost)

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the price which would be charged for electricity if the cost of fuel for generation provided the same proportion of that price as it did three years ago.

Mr. Michael Spicer : This a matter for the electricity supply industry. I will ask the chairman of the Electricity Council to write to the hon. Member.

Water Quality

Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, pursuant to his answer of 13 March, he will list the criteria of the European Community directive on drinking water which the supply in his Department's head office failed to meet in 1988.

Mr. Parkinson : The responsibility for monitoring the quality of drinking water in my Department's headquarters building rests with the Property Services Agency.

I am advised that the criteria of the European Community directive on drinking water for the permitted maximum admissible levels which the supply in my Department's head office failed to meet in 1988 are :

                  |Permitted maximum                  

                  |admissible levels                  


Sulphate          |250mg/litre                        

Fluoride          |1500ug/litre                       

Potassium         |12mg/litre                         

Sodium            |175mg/litre                        

Magnesium         |50mg/litre                         

Iron              |50ug/litre                         

Manganese         |50ug/litre                         

Nickel            |50ug/litre                         

Conductivity      |1500us/cm                          

Turbidity         |4NTU                               

Nuclear Materials (Transport)

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will set out the liaison arrangements between his Department and the international safeguards authorities at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and Euratom in Luxembourg over the transport and transfer of nuclear materials to and from the Atomic Weapons Establishment to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The Commission regulation (Euratom) 3227/76 and the United Kingdom/Euratom/IAEA safeguards agreement make provision for the receipt from and shipment to a facility not under safeguards.

Column 680

Sellafield (Safeguards)

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if full facility attachments and particular safeguards provisions are now in force for all facilities at Sellafield containing safeguardable nuclear materials ; and what has been the cost of implementation of a comprehensive safeguards regime for Sellafield.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The particular safeguards for provisions for facilities at BNFL Sellafield are currently under discussion and to date four have been brought into force. Facility attachments for certain facilities which the IAEA inspect are also being negotiated. The costs of meeting safeguards requirements cannot be separately identified among the general running costs of the facilities concerned. The costs incurred by Euratom and the IAEA are a matter for the authorities concerned.


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