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Column 284

Fisheries Management

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to support the principle of sustainable fisheries management based on scientific evidence ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : The Government provide over £15 million a year for monitoring and research towards achieving sound and rational management of fish as a renewable resource. Furthermore we have sought to ensure in discussions in the European Community that total allowable catches are set, as far as scientific knowledge allows, on a biologically sound basis and that appropriate technical conservation measures are adopted. We will continue with these policies.

Aquatic Environment

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the ways in which he carries out his duties to protect the aquatic environment.

Mr. Donald Thompson : A total of 130 scientists and support staff in my Department's fisheries laboratories carry out a substantial research and monitoring programme for the protection of the marine and freshwater environments. Reports are published of the results of research and of monitoring the environmental quality of our waters. We take a major role in international work to strengthen understanding and protection of the aquatic environment.

Strict statutory controls under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 are applied to regulate disposal and incineration at sea of waste material, in conformity with international commitments to protect the environment. No waste may be dumped without a strict scientific assessment to ensure that disposal to sea will not harm the marine environment. The availability of disposal routes on land is also assessed. Licences are limited to one year to permit frequent review of the availability of land disposal. Concentrations of contaminants in sewage sludge have been reduced, and we are continuing to reduce the number of liquid industrial wastes dumped at sea as alternative means of disposal on land become available. Discharges to sea of radioactive waste are authorised jointly by my Department and the Department of the Environment and have been very substantially reduced over the lifetime of this Government. My Department advises upon applications for consents to discharge waste through pipelines to estuaries and coastal waters. These applications are carefully scrutinised with a view to avoiding any harmful effects from such discharges.

Under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 the terms of approval of pesticides include any conditions relating to storage or use which are necessary to ensure protection and conservation of the aquatic environment.

My Department plays an active role, both nationally and internationally, in the management and conservation of marine and freshwater fish and shellfish stocks.

My agricultural development and advisory service advises farmers on ways to reduce pollution of the aquatic environment. Reducing pollution of our rivers and watercourses is a very important consideration in the


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operation of the recently introduced farm and conservation grant scheme. I have made available grants of 50 per cent. for the installation on farms of facilities for the safe treatment and disposal of slurry and silage effluent.

Sharks

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the research on which the current

Norwegian-European Community fisheries agreement quota for basking shark exploitation is based ; whether the level of exploitation is sustainable ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : The Norwegian quota for basking shark in Community waters is set as part of the annual EC-Norway fisheries agreement. Data available indicates that there has been no decline in the stock in Community waters since 1978. The annual quota has remained the same since 1985. I understand that Norway's catch in the Community zone has been nil in the last two years. The species will not therefore have been affected by fishing in Community waters.

Fisheries Inspectors

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the duties of his fisheries inspectors ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : The principal duties of my Department's fishery inspectors are to enforce EC and United Kingdom fisheries conservation and management regulations, to enforce EC fish marketing regulations, to assist in the enforcement of marine environmental protection legislation and to collect fisheries statistics and provide other information and advice to assist with the development and implementation of fisheries and other regulations.

Marine Pollution

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the research projects and their locations which his Department carries out into marine pollution ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder : My Department has a substantial investment in research on marine pollution covering almost 100 distinct projects. A full list of these projects is being placed in the Library of the House.

Seals

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many post-mortem examinations of seals have been carried out by his Department in each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson : My Department's veterinary investigation service carried out the following numbers of post mortem examinations of seals in 1985-89 (to date) :


       |Number       

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

1985   |1            

1986   |7            

1987   |6            

1988   |8            

1989   |2            

Examinations are performed as part of the diagnostic service provided to private veterinary practitioners.

The Department of the Environment has primary responsibility for matters concerning the recent epidemic of disease in seals.

Organic Produce

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of agricultural produce was produced in 1980 classified as organic ; and what is the latest annual figure available.

Mr. Ryder : This information is not available.

Anthrax

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has now been informed of the source of the anthrax infection in Clwyd ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 19 July 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) on 14 July at column 667.

Pollution

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is monitoring the input of nutrients, including nitrates and phosphates, into the North sea ; and if he will give the results of any such monitoring.

Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 18 July 1989] : My Ministry monitors the input of nutrients to the sea arising from sea disposal operations licensed under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. Such inputs are a very small proportion of the total nutrient inputs into the North sea, of the order of 1 per cent. for nitrates and less than 3 per cent. for phosphates.

Water authorities record inputs of nutrients from rivers to estuaries. This monitoring shows that there has been no change in nitrate inputs in the last 10 to 15 years. Phosphate inputs have shown a detectable rising trend.

Ministry scientists have examined records of nitrate concentrations in sea water in winter, the period of maximum and stable nitrate concentrations. These show that there has been a cyclical pattern in nitrate concentrations but no consistent rising trend. The same cyclical pattern occurs throughout the mid and southern North sea and is believed to reflect climatic or other long-term changes rather than anthropogenic nitrate inputs.

It is known that a substantial proportion of the nutrients entering the estuary do not reach the sea. An investigation is now in preparation by MAFF scientists and others to establish the scale on which the removal processes involved occur.

Conservation

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for South Shields of 22 June, Official Report, columns 252-53, how many of the 35 national training courses on wildlife and landscape conservation have been held in each year since 1981 ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Ryder [holding answer 18 July 1989] : The breakdown of national training courses on wildlife and landscape conservation since 1981 is as follows :




       |Number       

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

1981   |4            

1982   |4            

1983   |4            

1984   |5            

1985   |7            

1986   |8            

1987   |2            

1988   |1            

Since 1987, greater emphasis has been placed on regionally organised conservation awareness training for front-line ADAS advisers to meet their enhanced


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responsibilities under section 17 of the Agriculture Act 1986. Specialist training continues to be organised on a national and regional basis.

Fish Imports

Dr. Godman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the tonnage, species and value of fish and fisheries products imported into the United Kingdom from Iceland in each of the past five years and for the first four months of the current year.

Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 11 July 1989] : The imports of fish and fisheries products (fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted, in brine, smoked) and prepared or preserved fish into the United Kingdom from Iceland since 1984 have been as follows :


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Quantity (tonnes)                                                                   

                            |1984   |1985   |1986   |1987   |1988   |<1>1989        

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

Cod                         |23,987 |45,284 |60,719 |58,593 |59,441 |19,054         

Haddock                     |5,733  |9,512  |10,613 |10,383 |16,786 |6,185          

Saithe                      |925    |1,390  |2,228  |2,796  |2,462  |595            

Plaice                      |3,645  |6,478  |7,537  |7,824  |8,124  |2,385          

Dogfish                     |8      |1      |2      |-      |-      |-              

Flounder                    |7      |1      |3      |-      |-      |-              

Halibut                     |1,422  |1,812  |1,512  |2,231  |1,441  |636            

Ling                        |43     |125    |140    |122    |158    |86             

Redfish                     |790    |609    |719    |1,000  |1,065  |321            

Whiting                     |21     |10     |1      |3      |10     |20             

Herring                     |3,149  |2,800  |2,741  |3,888  |3,297  |2,177          

Mackerel                    |-      |13     |-      |-      |-      |-              

Salmon                      |21     |18     |1      |29     |32     |3              

Trout                       |-      |-      |-      |-      |282    |1              

Other fish                  |1,915  |2,113  |2,798  |2,537  |3,211  |1,229          

Livers and roes             |254    |467    |408    |295    |201    |56             

Shrimps and prawns          |591    |785    |927    |1,194  |895    |153            

Other crustacea             |17     |-      |6      |34     |10     |2              

Squid                       |1      |-      |-      |-      |-      |-              

Molluscs                    |-      |6      |1      |-      |9      |-              

Fishmeal                    |-      |-      |-      |-      |-      |-              

Prepared and preserved fish |1,646  |2,466  |3,226  |3,319  |3,897  |11             

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

Total                       |44,175 |73,890 |93,582 |94,248 |101,321|32,914         

<1> January to April.                                                               

Source: Customs and Excise Overseas Trade Statistics.                               


Value (£'000)                                                                       

                            |1984   |1985   |1986   |1987   |1988   |<1>1989        

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

Cod                         |22,847 |44,031 |70,090 |75,707 |73,281 |24,658         

Haddock                     |3,949  |6,282  |10,698 |10,238 |17,293 |7,036          

Saithe                      |323    |686    |1,612  |2,094  |1,854  |532            

Plaice                      |2,633  |3,847  |6,022  |5,873  |5,991  |1,766          

Dogfish                     |4      |1      |1      |-      |-      |-              

Flounder                    |7      |1      |7      |-      |-      |-              

Halibut                     |999    |1,360  |1,646  |2,336  |1,835  |752            

Ling                        |13     |49     |95     |62     |81     |46             

Redfish                     |243    |209    |384    |604    |798    |236            

Whiting                     |6      |4      |1      |2      |11     |6              

Herring                     |1,395  |1,324  |1,362  |1,768  |1,731  |1,097          

Mackerel                    |-      |5      |-      |-      |-      |-              

Salmon                      |9      |74     |3      |117    |120    |9              

Trout                       |-      |-      |-      |-      |174    |3              

Other fish                  |1,139  |1,367  |1,979  |1,894  |2,046  |710            

Livers and roes             |257    |533    |642    |662    |427    |157            

Shrimps and prawns          |2,393  |3,260  |5,662  |7,504  |4,998  |712            

Other crustacea             |33     |-      |28     |195    |54     |16             

Squid                       |1      |-      |-      |-      |-      |-              

Molluscs                    |1      |23     |2      |-      |33     |-              

Fishmeal                    |-      |-      |-      |-      |-      |-              

Prepared and preserved fish |5,759  |9,635  |21,646 |20,188 |20,529 |64             

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

Total                       |42,011 |72,691 |121,879|129,244|131,256|37,800         

<1> January to April.                                                               

Source: Customs and Excise Overseas Trade Statistics.                               

Dr. Godman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the tonnage, species and value of fish and fisheries products imported into the United Kingdom from Norway in each of the past five years and for the first four months of the current year.


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Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 11 July 1989] ; The imports of fish and fisheries products (fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salte in brine, smoked) and prepared or preserved fish into the United Kingdom from Norway since 1984 have been as follows


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Quantity (tonnes)                                                                                                                                  

                            |1984            |1985            |1986            |1987            |1988            |1989                             

                                                                                                                 |January to April                 

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

Cod                         |20,599          |19,818          |21,323          |23,083          |18,565          |6,847                            

Haddock                     |3,079           |3,009           |5,252           |6,866           |9,247           |3,929                            

Saithe                      |5,626           |4,811           |3,098           |2,704           |2,723           |508                              

Plaice                      |698             |416             |316             |132             |109             |55                               

Dogfish                     |152             |1               |22              |1               |-               |-                                

Flounder                    |298             |-               |5               |-               |-               |-                                

Halibut                     |5               |4               |2               |45              |127             |14                               

Ling                        |100             |49              |36              |35              |41              |8                                

Redfish                     |41              |44              |174             |173             |169             |57                               

Whiting                     |1               |-               |104             |20              |134             |119                              

Herring                     |1,893           |4,164           |4,661           |2,253           |2,852           |3,133                            

Mackerel                    |379             |1,480           |218             |83              |95              |255                              

Salmon                      |1,739           |2,005           |1,684           |1,385           |2,143           |626                              

Trout                       |73              |11              |16              |124             |53              |7                                

Other fish                  |929             |1,010           |884             |1,673           |2,367           |418                              

Livers and roes             |89              |89              |48              |6               |7               |-                                

Shrimps and prawns          |99              |42              |2               |44              |33              |6                                

Other crustacea             |2               |23              |18              |19              |11              |7                                

Squid                       |146             |106             |108             |61              |318             |21                               

Molluscs                    |36              |26              |7               |44              |474             |9                                

Fishmeal                    |18              |12              |12              |12              |15              |4                                

Prepared and Preserved Fish |7,477           |9,788           |5,354           |3,067           |3,922           |79                               

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

Total                       |43,479          |46,908          |43,344          |41,830          |43,405          |16,102                           

Source: Customs and Excise Overseas Trade Statistics.                                                                                              


Value (£'000)                                                                                                                                                    

                            |1984              |1985              |1986              |1987              |1988              |1989 January-April                   

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

Cod                         |19,982            |32,170            |39,414            |47,819            |34,918            |12,372                               

Haddock                     |3,735             |4,700             |8,314             |11,920            |14,214            |5,483                                

Saithe                      |3,819             |3,718             |3,051             |3,001             |2,523             |399                                  

Plaice                      |409               |309               |253               |125               |113               |33                                   

Dogfish                     |69                |1                 |19                |1                 |-                 |-                                    

Flounder                    |157               |-                 |3                 |-                 |-                 |-                                    

Halibut                     |11                |4                 |9                 |87                |107               |11                                   

Ling                        |53                |33                |38                |44                |46                |12                                   

Redfish                     |25                |35                |169               |215               |141               |51                                   

Whiting                     |1                 |-                 |80                |8                 |63                |54                                   

Herring                     |783               |1,859             |2,066             |936               |1,279             |1,386                                

Mackerel                    |18                |485               |53                |41                |36                |47                                   

Salmon                      |7,970             |9,915             |7,380             |7,012             |9,360             |2,412                                

Trout                       |309               |42                |44                |440               |368               |72                                   

Other Fish                  |805               |947               |1,225             |1,551             |2,388             |577                                  

Livers and Roes             |111               |141               |93                |19                |7                 |-                                    

Shrimps and Prawns          |226               |129               |11                |262               |183               |29                                   

Other Crustacea             |-                 |77                |46                |50                |32                |26                                   

Squid                       |147               |136               |137               |130               |32                |26                                   

Molluscs                    |26                |30                |26                |160               |448               |41                                   

Fishmeal                    |94                |87                |76                |90                |119               |39                                   

Prepared and Preserved Fish |27,793            |35,876            |30,015            |17,857            |19,531            |278                                  

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

Total                       |66,543            |90,694            |92,522            |91,768            |85,908            |23,348                               

Source: Customs and Excise Overseas Trade Statistics.                                                                                                            

HEALTH

Airline Meals

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Cynon Valley of 2 May, Official Report, column 100, if he has now


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given consideration to the report of a survey of microbiological quality of airline meals to three London boroughs ; and if he will now make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : The survey by the three local authorities surrounding Heathrow was carried out between 1984 and 1986. The results are of concern to the Government and we are co-operating with both the airline catering industry


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and the appropriate environmental health departments to draw up codes of practice relevant to the operation of the airline caterers. These codes should incorporate all the best features of the present European and international guidelines as well as the Department's guidelines on cook-chill and frozen catering systems. We recognise that there will need to be detailed discussion between the interested parties, but we would expect the new codes of practice to be published in the spring of 1990. We will then consider whether any further measures are necessary to safeguard the public from food poisoning while flying on British-controlled aircraft. In our review of the Food Act, we will also consider carefully any revision of powers. I am advised that the food hygiene regulations apply to airline meals on any British-controlled aircraft and undercertain circumstances the Air Navigation Order 1965/1643 article 47 could be evoked.

Chiropody Services

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what is the current advice being given to people seeking an initial appointment and assessment for chiropody about (a) when they will be seen, (b) where they will be seen and (c) how to get to the place at which they will be seen in (i) Calderdale, (ii) Bradford, (iii) Kirklees, (iv) Wakefield and (v) Leeds ; and what it is in each district health authority in England and Wales ;

(2) what is the National Health Service waiting list for an initial appointment and assessment for chiropody in (a) Calderdale, (b) Bradford, (c) Kirklees, (d) Wakefield and (e) Leeds ; and what it is in each district health authority in England and Wales.

Mr. Mellor : We do not collect this information centrally. The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman of the health authorities concerned for the information she is seeking.

NHS Reform

Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the proposals in the White Paper, "Working for Patients", to increase the number of consultants.

Mr. Mellor : Twelve letters and five parliamentary questions on this specific proposal have been received.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how women general practitioners will be affected by the new general practitioners' contract.

Mr. Mellor : The new contract will increase opportunities for women GPs. There is considerable demand from patients to have the choice of seeing a woman doctor, and partnerships will be keen to provide this option. Formalised arrangements for flexible working will provide specific opportunities for women doctors with domestic or other commitments.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether expressions of interest by persons employed in, or associated with National Health Service hospitals, in the hospital concerned changing status to the proposed National Health Service trust status, were supposed to be referred for comment to members of the regional health authority in whose area the hospitals


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affected lie ; and whether he has relieved regional health authorities of that duty before they forwarded such expressions of interest to his Department without regional health authority members having the opportunity to comment on them.

Mr. Mellor : The chief executive of the National Health Service management board, in his letter of 14 March to regional general managers, asked regional health authorities to invite interested parties in their regions to provide outline expressions of interest on their proposals for establishment of NHS hospital trusts. Regional health authorities were asked to consider the expressions of interest and to send them, together with any comments which they might have on the proposals, to the Department. The letter did not explicitly require expressions of interest to be referred to the full health authority for comment at this stage. There will, of course, be opportunities for full discussion of any applications which are developed from initial expressions of interest.

Immunisations and Smears

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how a refusal by a person or a parent to have or allow an immunisation or smear despite repeated requests from the general practitioner will be counted under the new contract.

Mr. Mellor : It is important that all children should be immunised and all eligible women should have smear tests taken. We recognise, however, that in a few cases it may be impossible for a doctor to carry out these procedures because the patient cannot be persuaded. The target levels that we have set reflect this, and there is no need to make any additional allowance for such cases in the calculation of coverage for payments purposes.

White Papers

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if, for each of the last three White Papers issued by his Department, or its predecessor, for which legislation has been started, he will state the time elapsed between their publication and the First Reading of any Bill connected with them; and if he will do the same for the last three White Papers issued by the Department of Health and Social Security prior to May 1979.

Mr. Mellor : The last three White Papers published by the Department of Health and Social Security, in which legislation was proposed and has been subsequently started or completed, were : "Promoting Better Health", "Law on Child Care and Family Services" and "Reform of Social Security : Programme for Action". These were published on November 1987, January 1987 and December 1985 respectively and the First Readings of the Health and Medicines Act 1988, Children Bill and Social Security Act 1986 took place on November 1987, November 1988 and January 1986. It is not for me to answer for the record of the previous Government in this matter, but the information requested should be available in the Library.


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Consultants

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many new consultants' posts will be created in north-west England as a result of the proposals in the White Paper.

Mr. Mellor : Under the White Paper proposals 100 extra consultant posts will be allocated in England. Their distribution cannot be determined until bids for them have been received from regional health authorities, and analysed.

General Practitioners

Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for Health for how long it is proposed that the new general practitioners' contract should run unamended.

Mr. Mellor : The new contract represents the first major change to the family doctor service for over 20 years. We shall monitor the effect on patient care and, although no further major changes are planned, we shall be ready to amend the contract should that prove necessary in the light of events.

Health Authorities

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list in rank order of size of the waiting list the health authorities for which he is responsible as at 31 March indicating in each case the change in position in the rank order since 31 March 1988.

Mr. Mellor : We do not yet have available information about the number of people waiting for hospital in-patient treatment at 31 March 1989. The latest published figures are for 30 September 1988 and a copy of the booklet "Hospital In-patient Waiting Lists--England" is in the Library.

Bone Mass Screening

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the locations at which bone mass screening is available within the National Health Service.

Mr. Freeman : We do not hold this information centrally.


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Centre for Advanced Microbiological Research

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place a copy of the agreement between the Centre for Advanced Microbiological Research and Porton International Limited in the Library.

Mr. Freeman : No. Agreements between the public health laboratory services centre for applied microbiology and research and companies in the Porton International group are commercially confidential.

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the income generated by the Centre for Applied Microbiological Research in each year since 1980.

Mr. Freeman : The income generated by the centre for applied microbiology and research for each year since 1980, including grants for specific work, has been :


£ million             

Year    |Amount       

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

1980-81 |1.8          

1981-82 |2.0          

1982-83 |2.3          

1983-84 |2.2          

1984-85 |2.5          

1985-86 |3.0          

1986-87 |2.8          

1987-88 |3.7          

1988-89 |4.2          

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will state the number of patients receiving hormone replacement therapy within the National Health Service in each year since 1982.

Mr. Freeman : We do not hold this information centrally.

Public Health Laboratory Service

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has (a) the employment in and (b) the costs of, each branch of the public health laboratory service in each year since 1980.

Mr. Mellor : The number of staff employed by the public health laboratory service in each branch since 1980 is :


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                                  |1980-81|1981-82|1982-83|1983-84|1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88|1988-89        

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

Central Public Health Laboratory  |359    |291    |299    |300    |289    |309    |305    |295    |295            

Centre for Applied Microbiology                                                                                   

  and Research                    |259    |323    |305    |302    |308    |313    |318    |315    |323            

Communicable Disease Surveillance                                                                                 

  Centre                          |30     |30     |30     |30     |31     |44     |50     |54     |61             

Area and Regional Laboratories    |1,469  |1,493  |1,421  |1,375  |1,362  |1,363  |1,360  |1,361  |1,364          

Headquarters                      |57     |57     |73     |79     |78     |78     |84     |89     |98             

The cost of each branch of the service since 1980 expressed as net expenditure is :


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                                 |1980-81|1981-82|1982-83|1983-84|1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88|1988-89        

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

Central Public Health Laboratory |3.6    |4.3    |4.1    |4.1    |4.1    |4.9    |5.4    |5.9    |6.5            

Centre for Applied Microbiology                                                                                  

  and Research                   |3.3    |3.2    |3.4    |5.3    |4.2    |4.3    |5.3    |4.6    |5.7            

Communicable Diseases                                                                                            

  Surveillance Centre            |0.3    |0.4    |0.4    |0.5    |0.7    |0.7    |0.9    |1.1    |1.3            

Area and Regional Laboratories                                                                                   

  and Headquarters               |11.1   |13.6   |13.9   |15.1   |15.9   |17.3   |17.8   |20.1   |21.7           

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the basic pay of all grades of staff employed by the public health laboratory service in animal handling ; and what is the actual average gross pay and hours worked on each public health laboratory service site.

Mr. Mellor : The basic pay varies according to salary grades and duties but the average gross pay per annum including overtime is £9, 663. Average hours worked per week by animal handlers on PHLS sites with such a facility vary between 37 and 43.

Porton International Ltd.

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were (a) the fees paid to, (b) costs of services supplied to, and (c) income derived from Porton International Ltd. in each year since 1982.

Mr. Freeman : This information cannot be disclosed as it is commercially confidential.

Mr. Graham Gaskin

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice his Department has issued to local authorities regarding a client's access to past social work records following the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Mr. Graham Gaskin.

Mr. Mellor : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) on 18 July at column 133.

York City Hospital

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to ensure that the discharges of elderly patients from York city hospital into private residential care are being handled in accordance with the requirements of his Department's circular on discharges of patients issued during 1988.

Mr. Freeman : This is a local matter. The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman of York health authority for such information.

Correspondence

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to reply to the letter, reference number 22.s.13/VJN/H, from the assistant chief executive of St. Helens metropolitan borough council which was sent to his Department on 26 May ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : I am making inquiries on the delay and shall ensure a reply is sent as soon as possible.


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Lead-free Petrol

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health authorities have converted their petrol-driven vehicles to run on lead-free petrol ; and what action his Department is taking to encourage such conversions.

Mr. Freeman : Of 14 regional health authorities in England, nine already have a policy of conversion to lead-free usage wherever possible. The rest have the matter under active consideration. The Department, through its procurement directorate, has encouraged regional supplies directors to move as quickly as possible towards use of lead-free vehicles and is planning the issue of general guidance on the subject later this year.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action his Department is taking to encourage health authorities to implement energy efficiency policies.

Mr. Freeman : Energy use in the NHS is monitored using performance indicators to ensure that the Department's 1985 commitment to the Public Accounts Committee to achieve savings of £1.3 billion (or savings of 1.5 per cent. per annum) over 15 years is being achieved. Detailed guidance, under the general title "Encode", has been issued to health authorities on a range of energy efficiency measures, including measuring energy usage, setting targets for savings and measuring effectiveness. Computer software for building management systems has also been developed and marketed. A third volume of guidance, aimed specifically at managers, is in preparation. Construction of an exemplar nucleus low-energy hospital designed to secure energy savings of 50 per cent. is well advanced at Newport, Isle of Wight. Construction of a second exemplar low-energy hospital, which aims to secure even greater energy savings, has just commenced.

Bleaching

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action his Department is taking to encourage manufacturers to phase out the practice of bleaching wound dressings and incontinence products.

Mr. Freeman : None, because the evidence of the recently published report "Dioxins in the Environment" is that residue levels of dioxins arising from bleaching of such products are at the limits of detection and pose no risk to patients. However, until alternatives to bleaching can be found, bleaching is necessary to make natural cotton absorbent. I welcome industry efforts to find an acceptable alternative which will satisfy performance requirements.


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Chlorofluorocarbons

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures his Department is taking to encourage health authorities to phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons in hospitals.

Mr. Freeman : NHS authorities have been urged to phase out their use of CFCs in all but essential medical and refrigeration uses by the end of 1989 and to purchase CFC-free alternatives. In some cases the alternative products may involve an increased flammability risk, and guidance on safe storage and disposal of such products was issued in November 1988. Where no alternative is currently available, the overall CFC usage is likely to be small, but we will continue to encourage industry and other efforts to find suitable replacements.


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