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Rotherham Health Authority

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the accuracy of the performance indicators issued by his Department earlier in 1989 ; and if those which purported to reveal the Rotherham health authority in an unsatisfactory light were accurate.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : In 1987-88 all information systems in England were substantially changed and many new data definitions introduced in accordance with the

recommendations of the Ko"rner reports. Health service indicators being published this year are the first to be based on data from the redesigned systems. The Department and health authorities were aware that with changes of this magnitude some


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data inaccuracies were likely. Following consultation with health authorities in May a subset of the 1987-88 indicators were published in July with a warning about possible inaccuracies. Health authorities were asked to inform the Department of any inaccuracies found so that the full package could be based on more accurate data. Relatively few amendments proved necessary. Rotherham HA drew attention to problems with part of its data and the indicators based on this are being corrected.

Wathwood Hospital

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has of the savings effected by the closure of beds at Wathwood hospital by the Rotherham health authority in relation to the cost to public funds of placements in private nursing homes ; and if he will encourage the authority to retain those beds.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : The proposed closure at Wathwood hospital is a matter for Rotherham health authority and I suggest the hon. Member contacts the chairman of the health authority for the information he seeks.

Consultants

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has conducted to establish whether the number of operations performed by a consultant in the National Health Service is related to that consultant's involvement in private practice.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : None.

Erythropoietin

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether there is any restriction on the freedom of doctors to prescribe erythropoietin for patients with kidney failure ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what action he intends to take to make erythropoietin freely available under the National Health Service ;

(2) what is the estimated cost to the National Health Service of providing erythropoietin to those likely to benefit from it.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : Erythropoietin has not yet been granted a product licence. However, it is open to doctors to prescribe the medicine on a named patient basis. We have been in touch with health authorities about the likely need for the drug and its expenditure implications. We are assessing the information to determine the best way forward.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health Authority

Mr. Mudd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he is proposing any change to the boundary of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly health district ; and if under the terms of the White Paper "Working for Patients" he identifies the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly health authority as the sole body responsible for identifying the health care needs of all the residents of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and for seeking to procure services to meet those needs.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : There are no plans to change the boundaries of the Cornwall and


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Isles of Scilly health authority district. The answer to the second part of the question is yes, though large GP practices will be able to seek their own budgets which will cover a defined range of hospital treatments.

NHS Reorganisation

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what specific Acts of Parliament and statutory instruments will be required to implement the changes in the National Health Service presently planned by the Government.

Mr. Mellor : [holding answer 19 October 1989] : We intend to introduce a Bill at the earliest opportunity to give effect to those of our proposals which require primary legislation. The Bill will be supplemented by statutory instruments as necessary.

GP Computer Software

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the user specification for general practitioner computer programme software will be available that will enable general practitioners to provide the information required by the National Health Service authorities.

Mr. Mellor : [holding answer 19 October 1989] : If my hon. Friend has in mind general practitioners' annual reports, it will be left to individual practitioners to decide how best to collect the required information.

Medicine Committees

Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his practice to appoint to the Medicines Commission and the Committee on Safety of Medicines members without any financial interests in drug companies.

Mr. Mellor : [holding answer 19 October 1989] : No. Members are appointed for the expert advice they are able to give. Any involvements they may have in research sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry helps them keep in touch with important aspects of drug development. By following the ethical standards set by the code of practice on declaration of interests members are able to avoid conflicts of interest which might otherwise impair the objectivity of the advice they give.

Haemophiliacs

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received in regard to settling out of court the claims of haemophiliacs who have been contaminated with the HIV virus by the injection of blood products supplied under the National Health Service ; what replies have been sent ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : We have received 19 representations from Members on the subject of compensation for people with haemophilia and HIV infection and two from the Haemophilia Society. To date seven replies have been issued to Members and one to the Haemophilia Society. The others will be replied to shortly.


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GP Referrals

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what current regulatory or administrative constraints prevent general practitioners contracted to the National Health Service from referring a patient to any unit of that service ; and what constraints will be, or are likely to be, placed on such general practitioners not opting for budgeted practice status, after implementation of the proposals described by Cm. 555 "Working for Patients", and related consultation papers and statements.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : In principle, GPs currently are free to refer their patients to any unit in the National Health Service, the decision whether or not to accept a referral being a matter for the clinical judgment of the consultant. However, the choices open to GPs may be constrained in practice, for example if the preferred hospital is a victim of its own success and cannot accept additional patients because of budgetary constraints. Our proposals to enable money to follow patients are designed to overcome such problems. The future arrangements for securing GPs rights of referral are described in paragraphs 3.5 3.16 of the recently issued "Contracts for Health Services : Operational principles" copies of which are in the Library.

Consultancy Service Register

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people annually contest their inclusion on his Department's consultancy service register ; and whether the outcome of contested cases is made publicly available ;

(2) how many persons have information held on them by his Department's consultancy service register ;

(3) if there is an appeal procedure to contest being placed on his Department's consultancy service register ;

(4) what is the set of criteria for inclusion on his Department's consultancy service register referred to in his Department's circular LAC88/(19) annex A paragraph 8.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : The Department's consultancy service is intended to ensure that prospective employers take up appropriate references from previous employers who may hold relevant information about an applicant for a post working with children. Some 6,000 names are currently held on the register. Information held by the Department which led to a person's entry on the register is not generally made available to a prospective employer.

Decisions to place a name on the register are taken jointly by the Department and the social services inspectorate, based on an assessment of whether a person's known past conduct is likely to injure the welfare of any child entrusted to his future care, or to lead to criminal or other harmful behaviour. Past conduct involving violence, sexual offences, supplying drugs or harming children is particularly likely to indicate inclusion.

Once it is decided to place a person on the register he or she is informed in writing of the information held by the Department and the purpose of the registration. He or she is also given the opportunity to challenge the accuracy of the information and to make representations as to why his or her name should not continue to be placed on the register.

No more than six people a year appeal against inclusion on the register. Each such case is carefully considered in


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the light of the further information provided and the final decision, and the reasons for it, conveyed to the person. The outcome of contested cases is not made public as this is a confidential matter between the Department and the person concerned.

Nurses

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many conversion to first-level nursing places are currently on offer to enrolled nurses throughout the United Kingdom.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 19 October 1989] : We do not hold this information centrally. Information supplied by the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting shows that in England the number of schools of nursing approved to conduct conversion courses have increased from six at 31 March 1986 to 145 at 31 March 1989.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Primary Schoolchildren

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list by local education authority the number of primary school-children who were being sent home due to lack of teaching staff at the end of September.

Mr. Alan Howarth : This information is not available.

Open University

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the report of the Open university visiting committee in the context of (a) the development of new courses, (b) current course maintenance and updating and (c) research, as referred to in his answer of 23 May 1988, Official Report, column 11 .

Mr. Jackson : The Open university visiting committee reports to my right hon. Friend annually in the autumn. Following its report last year, the Government agreed to provide £12.9 million in additional grant to the university over the three financial years 1989-90 to 1991-92. As a result, the university has been able to avoid making many of the cutbacks in provision which it had earlier feared it would have to make. The visiting committee's report for this year is now being finalised and my right hon. Friend expects to receive it shortly.

UN Data Systems

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what access to the United Nations global resource information database and the United Nations global environmental monitoring system is afforded to United Kingdom research institutes, universities, polytechnics and colleges ; and if he will make a statement on the utility of these United Nations data systems for developing environmental education in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Jackson : I understand that United Kingdom researchers are able to gain access to data from the global


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resource information database through a local centre of the global environment monitoring system. This is situated at the monitoring and assessment research centre in the university of London, King's College. The databases are of considerable sophistication and would hence be inappropriate for general use in environmental education at school level.

Environmental Research

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he received the Advisory Board for the Research Councils' latest document on spending advice for 1990 and beyond ; what has been his response to proposals to increase environmental research commitment ; and what information he has on the environmental research commitment in (a) other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development states and (b) other EEC member states :

Mr. Jackson : The ABRC's advice "Science and Public Expenditure 1989" was submitted to my right hon. Friend on 12 May. That advice included proposals for environmental research expenditure which have been fully taken into account during the course of the public expenditure survey discussions. I cannot anticipate the outcome of those discussions.

Very little information is available on the environmental research commitment of other countries. The OECD data bank of April 1988 gave the percentage distribution of Government direct appropriations to civil R & D in respect of the environment in 1987 or nearest year as follows :


               |Percentage           

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

Portugal       |17.9                 

Australia      |15.4                 

Spain          |13.5                 

Greece         |12.8                 

Canada         |12.6                 

Finland        |11.3                 

Germany        |9.3                  

United Kingdom |8.0                  

Norway         |7.1                  

Belgium        |6.9                  

Netherlands    |6.8                  

EEC            |6.7                  

Sweden         |5.3                  

United States  |4.8                  

Switzerland    |4.7                  

Denmark        |4.2                  

Italy          |3.9                  

France         |3.4                  

Austria        |2.7                  

Iceland        |2.4                  

Ireland        |2.0                  

Education Records (Access)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will introduce regulations to allow young students access to their own education records modelled on regulations issued under the Access to Personal Files Act ; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Howarth : My right hon. Friend plans shortly to issue a consultation paper on access to records of students in further and higher education.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science why his regulations which allow young


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students access to their own education record prohibit parents access to that record if the student was under 18 years of age, where the record constitutes personal data ; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The Education (School Records) Regulations 1989 govern the keeping, disclosure and transfer of manual records on their pupils kept by maintained schools and non-maintained special schools. The regulations require that, from 1 September 1990, such records should be disclosed on request to parents of pupils aged under 18, and to pupils aged 16 or over. Certain categories of material, including those whose disclosure might cause serious harm to the pupil or any other person, are exempted from the disclosure requirement.

Local Authority Service

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he intends to take with regard to the criticisms in the Audit Commission's report on advisers and inspectors working within the local authority service, of the service as being poorly managed and with unsystematic record-keeping.

Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend and I are considering our response to the Audit Commission's report on local education authority inspection and advisory services. We shall wish to take account of the views which the local authority associations express on behalf of LEAs, at whom the report's recommendations are mainly addressed.

Plymouth Brethren

Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from members of the Plymouth Brethren concerning the rights of parents to withdraw their children from school classes under the provisions of article 2 of the first protocol to the European convention on human rights ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold : I have received many representations from members of the Brethren that they should have a right to withdraw their children from elements of the secular curriculum in maintained schools to which they have religious objections. Article 2 of the first protocol to the European convention on human rights does not give parents this right. My right hon. Friend and I have decided, as a matter of policy, that we will not allow any group of parents the right to withdraw their children from the secular curriculum in maintained schools on grounds of religion or conscience. But they remain free to make alternative educational arrangements.

School Bus Seats

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will consider reducing the age at which three children are allowed to sit on a double school bus seat, from under 14 to nine years, to take account of the three-tier education system.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The 1984 Public Service Vehicle (Carrying Capacity) Regulations are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport. We are at present reviewing this aspect of the regulations, and will write to my hon. Friend when that review is complete.


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Teacher Morale

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he received in the summer recess on the morale of the teaching profession while teachers introduce the national curriculum and other reforms ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold : We have received correspondence from teachers expressing support for the national curriculum but anxiety at the scale of the reforms facing them. We recognise that our reforms are a challenge to teachers. We value their hard work and commitment, and believe that they will rise to the challenge. In recognition of the demands already facing teachers, my right hon. Friend has decided to defer for the time being any requirement that all teachers should undergo appraisal.

Teacher Shortages

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the effect of the campaign to recruit teachers to solve subject and geographic shortages.

Mr. Alan Howarth : Our action programme to combat teacher shortages was launched in 1986 at a cost so far of £50 million. Recruitment to initial teacher training in physics, maths and CDT was above the 1986 level in both 1987 and 1988. We shall continue to develop and intensify the programme further to improve teacher recruitment in the secondary shortage subjects.

The £2 million education support grant scheme, announced last May, will help LEA's to develop local recruitment schemes to attract qualified teacher returners and mature entrants. Support will be concentrated to assist shortages both by locality and by subject.

Teachers' Pay

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has had recently in response to his announcement on teachers' pay made during the parliamentary recess ; and if he will make a statement about the future of the machinery for determining teachers' pay.

Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations about various aspects of the announcement from the teacher unions and individuals. He expects to meet the teacher unions and employers shortly for further discussions about new pay determination arrangements.

National Curriculum

Sir Charles Morrison : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what resources are listed in the national curriculum for geography in relation to population.

Mrs. Rumbold : The national curriculum will not specify the use of particular resources in relation to any subject or topic. This is a matter for decision by schools and teachers.

The attainment targets and programmes of study for geography in the national curriculum are under consideration by a working group whose interim report is due to be submitted to my right hon. Friend by 31 October. I will arrange for a copy to be sent to my hon. Friend as soon as it is published.


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Local Management Schemes

Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many local education authorities have failed to provide training for school governors in connection with local management schemes.

Mrs. Rumbold : All authorities have been required to include in their schemes of local management details of their proposals for training governors. It is clear from these schemes and from our monitoring of the education support grant programme for school governor training that training in local management of schools occupies a high priority in authorities' plans.

Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he is taking to ensure that local education authorities provide training for school governors in connection with local management schemes.

Mrs. Rumbold : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave on 27 June 1989, Official Report , col. 410 .

Fire Safety, Schools

Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he has taken or proposes to take to establish the effectiveness of fire safety arrangements in schools.

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ensure the safety of occupants of schools in the event of fire, the statutory provisions, and guidance regularly issued in support of them, emphasise the importance of maintaining adequate means of escape. The day to day responsibility for properly maintaining safety rests locally, but the Department issues guidance such as Building Bulletin 7 "Fire and the Design of Education Buildings" and "Safety in Education" Bulletin No. 5.

Dyslexia

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many dyslexic children there were in the school population in each of the past seven years ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what guidelines his Department has issued to local education authorities concerning the testing for dyslexia amongst young schoolchildren ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) what recent consultations have been carried out between officials of his Department and local education authorities concerning the detection of dyslexia amongst schoolchildren ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The Department does not maintain data on individual learning difficulties. The Education Act 1981 requires local education authorities to make an assessment of children in their area with special educational needs which require, or may require, the LEA to determine the appropriate provision. General advice to LEAs on their duties under the Education Act 1981 in relation to the making of assessments and statements of special educational needs is contained in Circular No. 22/89, which was issued on 29 September. I have made arrangements for the hon. Member to receive a copy of this circular, copies of which have already been placed in the Library.


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Child Care

Mrs. Maureen Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the resource implications of allowing children to remain in school out of school hours in order to allow more women to return to work.

Mrs. Rumbold : None for schools' budgets. The Department's recent letter on this subject to local education authorities and schools specifies that school-based child care schemes must be provided on at least a full cost recovery basis as far as the school is concerned. This is because, under local management of schools, school budgets may not be used to subsidise non-school activities.

Institute of Food Research

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what approaches have been made to the Institute of Food Research, Bristol from any quarter outside the United Kingdom concerning financial support for its activities as an alternative to Her Majesty's Government's current plans for its closure.

Mr. Jackson : There have been no such approaches.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

ading EC Documents 64. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he has completed his review of the consideration by Parliament of European Economic Community documents ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : Correspondence resulting from my predecessor's discussions with the Chairman of the Select Committee on European Legislation was published in the first special report from that Committee, Session 1988-89 (HC 533).

I will consider what further measures may be necessary when the Procedure Committee's recommendations are reported to the House.

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

Clergy Ordination Measure

56. Mr. George Howarth : To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, (Mr. Alison), as representing the Church Commissioners, what representations the Church Commissioners have received following the debate in the House of the Clergy Ordination Measure.

Mr. Alison : None, Sir. The Clergy Ordination Measure is a matter for the General Synod. As a member of that body I have personally received a number of letters expressing views both of regret and approval at the outcome of the debate of the Measure on 17 July.

EMPLOYMENT

Jobstart

Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give details of the evaluation survey of the jobstart programme currently undertaken.


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Mr. Eggar : The evaluation of jobstart involves surveys of individuals who have received the allowance and of employers who have engaged such people. A copy of the report on the individuals' survey is in the Library of the House. The report on the employer survey will be available early next year.

Training

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for employment if he will list the names of those employment training managers that have been given approved status as a training organisation.

Mr. Nicholls : No employment training managers have been given approved status as training organisations. All training managers are currently working towards full approved status and have until September 1990 to achieve it.

Employment Service

Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many staff were employed by the employment service for each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Eggar : The numbers of permanent staff employed by the employment service on the stated date of each of the last 10 years is as follows :


               |Numbers        

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

1 January 1980 |*31,500        

1981           |*33,000        

1982           |*39,000        

1983           |*38,500        

1984           |*38,000        

1985           |*35,500        

1986           |*36,000        

1987           |*41,500        

1 April 1988   |38,801         

1989           |35,358         

In addition, the employment service employed 376 and 1,175 casual staff at 1 April 1988 and 1 April 1989 respectively.

The starred figures are approximations which are roughly comparable to the permanent staff figures for 1988 and 1989--as the employment service did not exist before October 1987, it was necessary to construct them from staff returns for the various parts of the group which eventually formed or contributed to the formation of the employment service.

Adjudication Officers (Decisions)

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment by standard Great Britain region, including Greater London, what is the current average length of time between an unemployed claimant receiving an adjudication officer's decision on grounds of restricted availability and non- availability for work and a subsequent appeal.

Mr. Eggar : The information requested is not collected and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


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