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Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what conclusions his Department has reached on the results of the oil seed rape research project funded by Angus district council and Ninewells hospital on the relationship between oil seed rape and allergies, a copy of which has been sent to him ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what research or investigation his Department has made into the health problems connected with the oil seed rape crop ; what finance has been allocated to such projects ; and what plans he has to develop further the recent research financed by Angus district council and Ninewells hospital.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what instructions his Department issues to doctors undertaking abortions on foreign women about their aftercare following the abortion ; (2) what medical formalities are required prior to an abortion for foreign women attending private clinics for termination of pregnancy.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : As for resident women, abortion is available for a foreign patient if two doctors certify in good faith that the risk to the life or injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant women or the existing children of her family would be greater if the pregnancy continued than if it were terminated. Decisions relating to the clinical care and follow-up of all abortion patients are matters for the individual doctors concerned. Approved places are required to make special provision for counselling and aftercare of foreign patients including the provision of interpreters, own-language information leaflets, and discharge letters to the referring doctor in their own language.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the appropriate level of provision per bed of (a) blood gas machines, (b) resuscitation equipment, (c) ventilators and (d) central monitoring systems for heart patients, for general hospitals with acute services in urban areas ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : These are matters for decision by the appropriate senior managers of the relevant clinical care facilities, having regard to operating procedures, staffing levels, case mix and other appropriate factors.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. and learned Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Miss Widdecombe) on 3 November at columns 389-90. We will not be able to approve any NHS trusts until Parliament has given approval to the necessary legislation. A total of 187 expressions of interest in NHS trust status have been received by the Department.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what grounds it was decided not to make mammillas an integral part of a cosmetic mammary gland provided by the National Health Service ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial help has been given to each of the London borough councils towards the cost of community care in their boroughs of patients discharged from psychiatric hospitals.
Mr. Freeman : Resources for community care in general are made available from the main programme expenditure of health authorities and local authorities. Central Government support to local authorities is provided through block grant. This is an unhypothecated grant which is allocated as a whole and specific elements within it are not identifiable separately. Individual authorities are responsible for deciding how the total funds available to them are used in the light of local circumstances and legislative requirements. In addition, health authorities are allocated each year specific sums known as joint finance which are in part used to promote a shift from hospital to community care. The Government recognise the need to ensure that discharges of seriously mentally ill people from hospital take place only when adequate services are available for them outside hospital. We propose to introduce a new funding structure for those seeking help from public funds for the cost of care as well as a new specific grant to encourage the development of social care for people with mental illness.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give figures for the last five years for the number of trained paramedics among ambulance personnel shown as a global figure and as a percentage of total ambulance personnel in each ambulance service.
Mr. Freeman : It is planned to identify separately numbers of people camping and people sleeping rough on census night, and to distinguish between the two groups. Like everyone else, people in each of these groups will be asked if the place where they are enumerated is their usual address.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make provision in the 1991 census for an organised body rather than the police and voluntary organisations to count the numbers of homeless sleeping rough.
Mr. Freeman : In addition to questions about household circumstances, asked only about private households, it is planned that everyone in Great Britain will be asked to answer the same set of questions about himself or herself. There will, however, be special provisions for particular cases. One of these provisions will enable a return for a person sleeping rough who is not capable of completing his or her own return to be made by someone who is capable. Another provision will enable any person sleeping rough to authorise someone else to complete the return on his or her behalf.
Mr. Freeman : It is planned that numbers of people staying in communal establishments will be identified separately, as will numbers of people staying with private households who are not related to the person first mentioned on the census form for that household.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the draft 1991 Census Order will be laid before Parliament ; whether an ethnic group question will be included in the proposed context of the census ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have today laid before Parliament the draft Order in Council for a census to be taken in Great Britain on Sunday 21 April 1991. This order specifies the persons by whom and with respect to whom returns are to be made and the topics on which questions are to be asked.
The Government's proposals for the 1991 census of Great Britain were published in a White Paper (Cm. 430) in July 1988. All the topics that were then proposed are included in the draft order.
Column 46The White Paper stated that the Government proposed to include a question on ethnic group in the 1989 census test and to study the results before deciding whether such a question should be included in the final plans for the 1991 census. The responses to the ethnic group question in this voluntary test have now been assessed. A follow-up survey, carried out as part of the test, showed that the question commanded a high degree of acceptance from all the main ethnic groups. Less than one half of 1 per cent. of households refused to take part in the voluntary test because of the ethnic group question. While 7 per cent. did voice objections when prompted, most of these had nevertheless answered the question. The proportion of black people who voiced objections when prompted (1 in 5) was higher than that of white and of Asian people (1 in 20) but only 1 per cent. of black respondents refused to take part in the test because of the ethnic group question. Few spontaneous comments adverse to the question were received from the public. The accuracy of answers to the question was acceptable.
These results indicate that the public at large, in all ethnic groups, is ready to accept and respond to this question in the census. The Government have therefore included the ethnic group question in the draft order for the 1991 census.
We hope that this decision will be welcomed by the many people and organisations who have expressed a need for the kind of statistical information the answers to this question and others will provide. Statistical information on ethnic group, together with that on, for example, housing, employment and age structure, will help central and local government and health authorities allocate resources and plan programmes, taking account of the needs of each group. It will also help employers and those providing services identify and tackle areas of racial disadvantage.
Copies of a summary of the ethnic group question results from the census test have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies of a census newsletter, containing a list of the proposed questions and their uses, and illustrations of how the questions will look on the census form, will be placed in the Libraries shortly.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The general rule is that each drug or appliance which is supplied attracts a single prescription charge. If more than one drug is supplied, whether packaged together or separately, more than one charge is payable.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Western Isles, Official Report, 7 November, column 827, whether nurses on undergraduate courses will have their grants frozen and replaced with loans.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what measures are being taken to ensure that the rules for supply by mail order of spectacles, and contact lenses by or under the supervision of a doctor or an optician, are fully understood and complied with ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what representations he has received concerning greater enforcement of the rules governing the sale of mail order of contact lenses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Section 21 of the Opticians Act 1958 clearly states that the sale of any optical appliance, including contact lenses, must be either effected by or supervised by a registered medical practitioner or registered optician. Anyone failing to comply with these requirements would be in breach of the terms of the Act and committing a criminal offence. It is the responsibility of the General Optical Council to ensure the standard and integrity of the ophthalmic professions and it would be for them to take action in such circumstances.
In addition, the General Optical Council also issues its own rules concerning the conduct and standard of the profession. This includes clear instructions on the sale of optical appliances. All medical practitioners and opticians must accept and agree to comply with these rules on registration. Failure to do so is a disciplinary offence and a matter for the General Optical Council.
Mr. Freeman : From April to October this year, 206 open heart operations were performed at the Birmingham children's hospital. The cost of these operations cannot be disaggregated from the hospital's total spending.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on (a) the number of children's heart operations scheduled to take place in the Birmingham children's hospital in the financial year 1989 to 1990 and (b) the financial resources allocated for those operations.
Mr. Freeman : The target for the number of open heart operations in Birmingham children's hospital in 1989-90 is 320. Financial resources required for those operations cannot be disaggregated from the total financial resources required by the hospital.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place copies of his recent correspondence with Central Manchester health authority and with its chairman concerning self-governing status in the Library ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with Trafford health authority about proposals to reduce service levels in 1990-91 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : The Trafford health authority is responsible for planning hospital and community services in the districts within the resources made available to it by North West regional health authority. These resources have not yet been announced for 1990-91 but, as is usual, they have been asked to develop plans based on resource assumptions. They are required to maintain the level of services in 1990-91 and to ensure a balance of income and expenditure. It is for the Trafford health authority to formulate its plans and to submit them to the North Western regional health authority for agreement as part of the regional plan.
Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether asthma clinics will be included in the envisaged list of health promotion clinics that will attract payment if provided by general practitioners, pursuant to the scheme in "Working for Patients."
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Under arrangements to be introduced from 1 April 1990, family practitioner committees (FPCs) will have authority to approve health promotion clinics for remuneration purposes. Within the provisions of the statement of fees and allowances, FPCs will have discretion to decide which clinics, including asthma clinics, qualify.
Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received in response to his Green Paper, "Registration : A Modern Service" (Cm. 531) ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : The consultation period on the Green Paper closed last March and it attracted more than 600 responses. There was a widespread welcome for its proposals for more structured management arrangements for the registration service, greater public choice in the area of civil marriage, and an opening up of historic registration records. Some new suggestions were received for changing and modernising the registration service, and these have received consideration. The Government are now formulating their views, which will be published in a White Paper early next year.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Northern regional health authority is today publishing a report of an inquiry into the handling of the case of Karl McGoldrick chaired by Professor Anderson. I am grateful to him and his fellow inquiry members for the work they have put into the inquiry. The report identifies a number of serious shortcomings in the way in which the case was handled in 1986 and makes recommendations for the way in which these shortcomings can be avoided in future.
We are also publishing today the report of an inspection earlier this year by the social services inspectorate of child protection services in Cumbria. This report establishes that significant improvements have been
Column 49made in the services since the death of Karl McGoldrick, and identifies a number of further improvements which need to be made. The inspectorate will be following up these points as part of its normal programme of inspections.
Copies of both reports have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of accident and emergency facilities in the Islington, Hackney, Haringey and Bloomsbury authorities in respect of major accident procedures ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 3 November 1989] : After any major incident all the hospitals involved automatically review their procedures and update them according to any lessons learnt. All the major incident casualty receiving hospitals in Islington, City and Hackney, Haringey and Bloomsbury district health authorities have recently revised or are currently revising their major incident procedures and all expect to have issued a revised programme guide by early in the new year.
Mr. Freeman [holding answer 8 November 1989 : Advice has been issued to all DH and DSS offices on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) which came into force on 1 October 1989. Contractors using either pesticides or wood-preserving chemicals on DH/SS premises will be required to comply with both the COSHH Regulations and the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners reside in the parliamentary constituency of Stockton, South ; and what is the total amount dispensed in pensions for the current year.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : I regret that information about the numbers of, or the amount paid to, retirement pensioners residing in a particular locality is not recorded. As at 31 March 1989, the latest date for which figures are available, the amount of retirement pension paid in Great Britain was £18.9 billion.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what evidence he has received from (a) Age Concern England, (b) the National Care Homes Association, (c) the Elderly Accommodation Counsel and (d) the Association of Charity Officers, on the cost of private and voluntary residential care for elderly people ; and if he will publish that evidence ;
(2) what evidence he has received from (a) the Abbeyfield Society, (b) the BEN Motor and Allied Trades
Column 50Benevolent Fund, (c) the National Federation of Housing Associations, (d) the Independent Hospitals Association, (e) the Royal United Beneficent Association, (f) Methodist Homes for the Aged and (g) Counsel and Care for the Ederly, of the cost of private and voluntary residential care for elderly people ; and if he will publish that evidence ;
(3) what evidence he has received from (a) the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, (b) the Occupational Benevolent Funds Alliance, (c) Brendoncare, (d) East Wansdyke Advice Network, (e) Oxfordshire Welfare Rights and (f) London Homes for the Elderly, of the cost of private and voluntary residential care for elderly people ; and if he will publish that evidence.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : We receive a considerable number of views and representations from a variety of interested organisations and individuals who are entitled to have their communications treated as confidential. For this reason, it is not our practice to publish material sent to us, though the organisations and individuals concerned are free to do so if they wish.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims have been allowed on the independent living fund in the last available period ; what was the total number of applications made ; and if he will show the claims allowed in bands of £25.
Mr. Scott : The first annual report of the trustees of the independent living fund was published on 6 November and contains information based on a sample of the caseload for the first year of the fund's operation. A copy has been placed in the Library. From 1 April 1989 to 31 October 1989 a further 7,132 applications were received by the fund, with 1,677 of these resulting in payment by 31 October 1989. A breakdown of the fund's payments at 8 November 1989 into bands of £25 is as follows :
Weekly payments |Number of clients £ ------------------------------------------------------ 0- 24.99 |532 25- 49.99 |618 50- 74.99 |354 75- 99.99 |205 100-124.99 | 96 125-149.99 | 76 150-174.99 | 57 175-199.99 | 36 200-224.99 | 27 225-249.99 | 11 250-274.99 | 14 275-299.99 | 7 300-324.99 | 5 325-349.99 | 4 350-374.99 | 1 375-399.99 | 2 400-424.99 | 2 425-499.99 | 4 |------- Total caseload |2,051
Mr. Scott : All local offices have staff trained to answer inquiries and give advice about social security benefits for the disabled, including disabled young people. Training material is regularly reviewed, revised and updated to take account of changes and improvements to disability benefits. If my hon. Friend has a particular case in mind perhaps he would write to me.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy to include all former carers in his Department's regulations defining circumstances when the value of a property can be ignored in assessment for income support when an elderly person has entered residential care where such former carers will be rendered homeless by the sale of the property.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Carers may benefit from the existing disregards for property in the circumstances described in the reply to the hon. Member on 4 July 1989 at columns 139-40. We have no plans, at present, to change that policy.
Mr. Scott : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security announced on 25 October our intention to extend mobility allowance to people who are deaf and blind. The change will give £26.25 a week more to some 3,000 people. Further proposals concerning disability benefits will be announced in the next few months.
Column 52investigation into and of the circumstances of disabled people, and they have attracted a large number of comments from individuals and organisations representing disabled people. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security announced on 25 October our intention within the next few months to bring forward proposals drawing on the survey results and the comments received. These will be aimed at improving the balance and structure of social security benefits for disabled people.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list by each charging authority in England the income level at which (a) a single person aged under 25 years, (b) a single person aged over 25 years, (c) a single pensioner, (d) a pensioner couple, and (e) a couple with two children, all with no savings, would lose entitlement to community charge rebate assuming the Department of the Environment's illustrative community charge figures for 1990-91 published on 7 November.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list by his Department's regions the number of young people aged 16 and 17 years who have claimed a social security crisis loan since April 1988, to enable them to gain accommodation, and the number of claims granted.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he has received a report on the research on penalties for voluntary unemployment commissioned by his Department ; and when he expects to publish it.
Mr. Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which social security benefits (a) are and (b) are not restricted because payment of a war disability pension is taken into account when assessing relevant income.