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Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has of an explosion in the air near a British Midland aeroplane on a flight from London to Belfast at approximately 2030 hours on Saturday 11 November 1989 ; what information he has on who was responsible for this explosion ; was this aeroplane in danger ; was any terrorist organisation involved ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make it his policy that the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces will not announce any decision on the future of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Melton Mowbray, prior to (a) his forthcoming visit to the base, (b) having discussed the planning aspects with the Melton borough council and (c) meeting the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton on this matter.
Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if any Warsaw pact country currently deploys its own chemical weapons ; (2) if any Warsaw pact country currently manufactures chemical weapons ;
(3) if he will make a statement on current and recent progress in the negotiations for a chemical weapons convention ;
(4) if he will make a statement on the contingency plans for the safety and security of United States unitary chemical weapons stocks while being removed from the General Republic of Germany to the United States of America through United Kingdom territorial waters, airspace or land ;
Column 419(5) if his Department has a capability to measure the size of the Soviet chemical weapons stockpile, independently of United States capabilities ;
(6) what has been his response to the United States Government's policy that chemical weapons will continue to be produced following the signing of an agreement on destruction of existing chemical weapon stocks ;
(7) what is his latest assessment of the size of the Soviet chemical weapons stockpile ; and to what time period this assessment refers ;
(8) what recent changes have been observed in the Soviet chemical weapons and chemical warfare agents stockpiles ;
(9) what recent communications he has received from the United States Defence Department concerning changes in its assessment of the size of the Soviet chemical weapons or chemical warfare agents stockpiles.
Sir Eldon Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has completed his review of the possibility of providing insulation or injurious compensation to mobile home and caravan dwellers affected by military aircraft noise levels that exceed 70 decibels ; and how soon he expects to make known his conclusions.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what inquiry he will be holding into the recent accident involving a submarine and the fishing vessel Scatia off the Butt of Lewis ; and whether he will make available the findings of that inquiry.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he has taken to ensure the inspection of food factories ; what information he has concerning the quality of processes in such factories ; whether any action has been taken against such factories in the last 12 months ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Enforcement of food law is the responsibility of local authorities. No central records are kept of the number of actions taken against food processing factories which are inspected by environmental health officers. The Government's White Paper "Food Safety--Protecting the Consumer" contains proposals--amongst other things for extension of enforcement in food processing factories by permitting additional inspection by trading standards officers. The Government's intentions to make regulations on stricter food storage temperatures and to introduce tighter controls on certain food processes have been announced previously. Taken together, these measures will give local enforcement authorities an enhanced inspectorate role.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the number of patients in each health district for which figures are available who are on waiting lists for operations for which they have ceased to have a need.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We do not collect figures on this centrally. However, studies have shown that some waiting lists, especially the larger ones, are inflated with the names of people who no longer need treatment. Health authorities have been asked to validate their lists to ensure that they are up to date. In the six months to March 1989, a total of 110,000 patients were removed from the lists for reasons other than treatment.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what was the number of patients on hospital waiting lists at 31 March aged (a) under 65, (b) 65 to 75 and (c) 75 years and over ; (2) what was the number of patients on hospital waiting lists in each case aged (a) under 65, (b) 65 to 75 and (c) 75 years and over for (i) varicose veins, hernias, (ii) hip replacement operations, (iii) operations on other joints and (iv) cataracts.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect on patient care of the shortage of trained permanent staff to operate essential life-saving equipment ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : It is for individual health authorities to assess the level of and requirement for specific groups of staff and what kind of skill mix is required to deliver individual services.
There are some shortages of staff in high technology areas, as in others. Health authorities have an increasingly flexible range of pay and conditions of service systems to help deal with these, in addition to local measures to improve recruitment, retention and return which we have urged them to introduce.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the numbers of psycho-geriatric and geriatric beds in each hospital within the Huddersfield area health authority on 1 January 1980, 1 January 1988, and at the present time ; and what is his estimate for 1 January 1991.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I have regular meetings with the chairmen of the regional health authorities, including Mr. Bruce Martin the chairman of the North Western regional health authority. I last met them on 14 November when we discussed a number of management issues.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the quality assurance activities introduced by the chief executive of the National Health Service management executive will measure rehabilitation services in hospital and after discharge for (a) patients who have undergone surgery, (b) patients who have suffered a disability or disabling illness, including cerebral vascular accident and (c) patients with long- term chronic disabilities or conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson's disease.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The guidance issued by the chief executive in his letter of 22 June asked health authorities to develop systematic unit-based quality review programmes for all the services for which they are responsible. It will be for individual units to determine how they assess the effectiveness of particular services within their quality programmes.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance will be used under the quality assurance activities introduced in the National Health Service in June (a) to measure quality of long-stay care, (b) to provide information to patients and (c) to assess patients' satisfaction.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The guidance issued to the Health Service in June stressed the importance of health authorities having good quality information leaflets and regularly testing the views of patients about their local health services. It also emphasised the need for quality assurance programmes to be applied to all services and activities. We shall issue further guidance on these issues as necessary.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The quality assurance programmes which health authorities are preparing in response to the chief executive's letter of 22 June are expected to cover all services for which they are responsible.
Mr. George : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the average waiting period for artificial limbs to be supplied after initial consultation in (a) the west midlands, (b) New Cross hospital, Wolverhampton and (c) England and Wales.
Mr. Freeman : The provision of artificial limbs in England is a matter for the Disablement Services Authority, to whom the hon. Member should address his question. Any question about limb fitting in Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many leaflets entitled "You and Your GP" have been published by his Department ; and what has been the total cost of publishing and advertising them in national newspapers.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on health authorities' responsibility for trust funds ; and if he will list the final accounts as at 31 March, from each health authority in England, Wales and Scotland under each of the following headings (a) capital reserves funds held in perpetuity (i) general purposes and (ii) special purposes, (b) capital reserves other funds (i) general purposes and (ii) special purposes and (c) funds held by special trustees.
Mr. Freeman : I will write to the hon. Member with the information he has requested as soon as possible. The information relating to Wales and Scotland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many independent consultants are retained or used on an ad hoc basis by the Health Education Authority to advise on diet and nutrition, dental health and related matters ; and if he will publish a list of all such consultants in the Official Report, together with the date of their appointment, the matters on which they advise and the amount of any payment made to them.
Mr. Freeman : This information is not held by the Department. The use of consultants is an operational matter for the Health Education Authority and I suggest my hon. Friend approach Sir Donald Maitland, the authority's chairman, for this information.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy (a) that in the provision of accident and emergency services by self-governing hospitals there will be no discrimination of any kind between patients whose treatment is covered by a contract and those patients whose treatment will have to be paid for out of the hospital's own budget and (b) that accident and emergency facilities will continue to be made available to single homeless people who have no permanent or particular place of residence.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : A fundamental principle of the new arrangements for funding hospital services is that emergency treatment should be available immediately and without question. In the case of accident and emergency services not involving in-patient treatment it is proposed that district health authorities should place contracts which cover the needs of all who are likely to require such services not just their own residents. Where in-patient treatment is involved the cost will be charged to the district of residence.
Column 423steps are taken by the Medicines Control Agency to prevent counterfeit products being sold in Britain ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Representations concerning the importation of counterfeit products have been received from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.
Steps taken by the Medicines Control Agency to prevent the sale of counterfeit products involve :
(1) a sampling and testing programme operated by the Medicines Inspectorate with analysis undertaken by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Medicines Testing Laboratory at Edinburgh ;
(2) an annual programme of inspection carried out by the Inspectors of the Medicines Control Agency and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. All manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and community pharmacists are inspected regularly ;
(3) particular checks carried out by licensed importers to verify the identity of each batch of imported material.
We also rely on co-operation with the Customs and Excise and information received from the United Kingdom pharmaceutical industry, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, regulatory authorities in the European Community and the World Health Organisation.
We are considering whether any changes may be necessary to the United Kingdom parallel import licensing scheme. We also welcome the European Commission's recent initiative involving proposals for the licensing of wholesalers throughout the Community.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the total value of services to the National Health Service funded by DRG Hospital Supplies and DRG Malago for the last two complete financial accounting periods.
Mr. Freeman : In the last two financial accounting periods (calendar years 1987 and 1988) the NHS has purchased DRG manufactured sterilisation packaging and other medical disposables to the estimated value of £12.25 million and £13 million respectively. Analysis by subsidiary company within the group is not available and the estimate takes no account of non-medical sales, such as stationery. I understand that DRG spent £734,000 on research and development in the NHS in 1987 and £824,000 in 1988.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Association of Directors of Social Services expressed support for providing for a child assessment order in the Children Bill during the Bill's progress through Parliament. We have not received representations from the ADSS on this matter since these provisions were added to the Bill.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give the names of the organisations that have written to him since the introduction of the Children Bill with suggestions for its improvement or amendment.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Estimates were given in the financial memorandum attached to the Bill. The expenditure implications for local authorities will be taken into account in the relevant expenditure discussions.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We have received representations from the London boroughs of Camden and Redbridge and Trafford metropolitan borough council, and from the local authority associations. These comments will be taken into account in the relevant expenditure discussions. On 22 September the Government announced grants totalling £4 million over two years for local authority staff training.
Mr. Freeman : The draft Order in Council for a census to be taken in Great Britain on 21 April 1991 was laid before Parliament on 13 November. The order does not specify Irish as one of the categories in the ethnic group question, but statistical information on people born in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland will be available from the separate question on country of birth.
Column 425(2) what was the number of abortions in 1988 on girls aged 15 years and under, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 years, by grounds and marital status.
Miss Widdecombe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what was the number of abortions on (a) resident and (b) non-resident women in 1988 carried out at 18 weeks, 19 weeks, 20 weeks, 21 weeks, 22 weeks, 23 weeks, 24 weeks, 25 weeks, 26 weeks, 27 weeks and 28 weeks and over, by age, grounds and marital status ;
(2) what was the number of abortions on resident and non-resident women, numbers to be given separately for (a) 1987, (b) 1988 and (c) the first quarter of 1989 carried out at (i) 18 weeks gestation, (ii) 19 weeks gestation, (iii) 20 weeks gestation, (iv) 21 weeks gestation, (v) 22 weeks gestation, (vi) 23 weeks gestation, (vii) 24 weeks gestation, (viii) 25 weeks gestation, (ix) 26 weeks gestation, (x) 27 weeks gestation and (xi) 28 weeks gestation and over, according to grounds and age and marital status ;
(3) what was the number of abortions on resident and non-resident women (numbers to be given separately) for (a) 1987, (b) 1988 and (c) the first quarter of 1989, carried out at 18 weeks gestation, 19 weeks gestation, 20 weeks gestation, 21 weeks gestation, 22 weeks gestation, 23 weeks gestation, 24 weeks gestation, 25 weeks gestation, 26 weeks gestation, 27 weeks gestation, 28 weeks gestation and over, according to the age of the mother, grounds for termination, method of abortion and category of premises.
Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether immunisation treatment for the prevention of miscarriages is available under the National Health Service ; at which hospitals the treatment is available ; and if he will make a statement on the benefits of the treatment.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : No. Research into this treatment is I understand to be undertaken at St. Mary's hospital, Paddington and that so far selected private patients have participated in trials of the treatment.
(2) what assessment the advisory committee of the national blood transfusion service has made of the effect on the number of volunteer blood donors coming forward of the introduction of blood donor sessions in North East Thames regional health authority supervised by nurse managers alone ;
(3) whether any regional health authorities, other than North East Thames, have indicated their intention to introduce blood donor sessions conducted by nurse managers alone ;
(4) whether he will list the independent assessors who examined the procedures of North East Thames regional health authority for blood donor sessions conducted by nurse managers alone.
Mr. Freeman : The advisory committee on the national blood transfusion service (ACNBTS) last met in February 1988, and has since been disbanded. When it looked at the procedure of specially trained nurses managing blood transfusion sessions, it examined the reports of 20 assessors, who were made up of non-blood transfusion consultant haematologists from the North East Thames region, representatives of the regional medical committee (including one member of the BMA regional committee for hospital medical services), nursing officers from other transfusion centres, and non-transfusion centre nursing officers from other regions, in addition to members of the ACNBTS itself.
Based on the finding of the assessors, and a study of the detailed protocol for the scheme, the ACNBTS decided that the new procedure presented no risks to donors.
The North East Thames regional transfusion centre has indicated that there has been a very positive donor response to the introduction of this procedure as standard practice, with an increase of some 7,500 donors attending during 1988 as compared with 1987. I understand that eight regional transfusion centres have expressed an interest in sending some of their nurses to North East Thames, to participate in their specially designed training courses. However, the decision to introduce a specially trained nurse-managed donor sessions in another regional transfusion centre is for the region to make, in consultation with the national director of the national blood transfusion service. I understand from the directorate that no other regions have informed it of definite plans to introduce blood donor sessions conducted by nurse-managers alone.
Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the reasons for the increase in National Health Service prescriptions, free of charge, from 60.9 per cent. in 1979 to 77.5 per cent. in 1988.