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Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many openings of public houses, or similar establishments, Royal Air Force aircraft or aircrew have attended in an official capacity in the last 10 years.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many other bases or facilities owned, operated or under the contol of his Department have had new perimeter fences of weld mesh construction provided for them in the last 10 years ; and what was the total cost of construction for each of these weld mesh fences.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many S10 respirator facepieces have been purchased by his Department in the three years to the end of the financial year 1989-90 ; how many are to be purchased over the next three financial years ; and what is his Department's total requirement of these items.
Mr. Alan Clark : I regret that, in the interests of national security, the Department's total requirement for this item cannot be revealed. I can confirm that the current requirement is under contract and the bulk of it should be delivered by the end of the financial year 1989- 90. Future requirements remain subject to review.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the proposed wage reductions for Royal Air Force air electronics operators ; whether he will reconsider this decision ; and if he will ensure that no serving operator has any reduction in his pay.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : From 1 October 1989 air electronics operators in the ranks of master aircrew and flight sergeant have been placed in a lower pay band in accordance with the job evaluation results for their trade. This decision was taken after three full evaluations, and is currently the subject of internal appeal procedures. Existing regulations ensure that none of the personnel affected will suffer any reduction in pay.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement regarding the awarding of compensation to Mr. Paul Adorian of Kirklinton for the death of a llama caused by low-flying fast jet aircraft.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Mr. Adorian submitted a claim for compensation to the Ministry of Defence for the death of one of his llamas as a result of military low-flying aircraft activity. Following a thorough investigation of the circumstances, this claim was accepted and an appropriate award of compensation for the loss was made.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement regarding the procurement of triaminotrinitrobenzene by the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston ; and for what purpose this material is procured.
Mr. Alan Clark : A notice has been placed in the MOD contracts bulletin of a tender for the procurement of quantities of triaminotrinitrobenzene. For security reasons I am not prepared to identify the applications for which this material is procured.
Mr. Snape : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review the present level of pension paid to war widows of service men who died before 31 March 1973 with a view to bringing them into line with pensions paid to war widows of service men who died on or after 31 March 1973.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Under the rules of the armed forces pension scheme the level of pensions paid to the widows of service men depends upon the terms and conditions in force at the date on which their husbands completed their service, or died in service. Changes in the rules, which became operative on 31 March 1973, applied only to personnel giving service on or after that date. In accordance with normal principles and practice for occupational pension schemes, the revised rules did not apply retrospectively, and there are no plans to change that position.
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will describe any current problems involved in developing the utility EH 101 helicopter project ; what is the latest estimate of any cost over-runs ; and if he will make a statement on the progress of this programme item.
Mr. Alan Clark : The RAF utility EH 101 helicopter programme is currently in the project definition phase, the first stage of which will be completed by April 1990. This involves a detailed examination of the RAF's foreseen requirement against a range of options, and establishing the costs and risks associated with each. The results of this work will provide the basis for decisions on the next stage of the programme.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has had any discussions with other members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation regarding possible British troop reductions in the Federal Republic of Germany, following an agreement on the reduction of conventional forces in Europe.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend has frequent discussions with his NATO counterparts on a wide range of arms control issues. The NATO proposals on manpower at the negotiations on conventional forces in Europe are limited to forces stationed by the United States and the Soviet Union in Europe.
Column 62representatives of the Netherlands Government regarding the creation of a multinational North Atlantic Treaty Organisation maritime patrol airforce in the north Atlantic ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what is his policy towards the creation of a multinational North Atlantic Treaty Organisation maritime patrol airforce in the north Atlantic : and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards co-operation with other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries regarding the use of flight simulators ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : It is our policy to co-operate with other NATO countries in making most cost-effective use of available flight simulators. For example, the RAF is currently hiring time on equipment owned by the United States and Spanish air forces, which simulates the Harrier GR5, while German forces are trained on simulators belonging to the Royal Navy.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The guidance given to a submarine commander in the event of his vessel becoming entangled with the nets of a trawler is designed to ensure that the safety of human life is given paramount consideration.
The instructions require :
(a) the submarine to come to periscope depth to check visually for any vessels in distress and establish communications where circumstances permit :
(b) the naval authorities to be immediately informed of the incident and, if appropriate, the coastguard contacted ;
(c) that, if fishing nets are still attached to the submarine, every effort is to be made to recover them--if this is not possible a note of the position in which the gear was lost is to be taken ; and (d) the submarine not to leave the area until it has been established beyond all reasonable doubt that no danger to human life exists as a result of the incident.
46. Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards the possible deployment of Sram-T missiles on United States F1-11E aircraft based in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : As part of NATO's force restructuring and modernisation measures, designed to sustain its strategy of flexible response in the post-INF era, a number of options are under consideration. However, no decisions have yet been taken.
47. Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to publish the resuls of the inquiry into the incident involving a Royal Navy submarine and the fishing vessel Scotia on 14 November off the Butt of Lewis ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 63Mr. Archie Hamilton : A preliminary on-board investigation has already been conducted into the incident, which took place on the 13 November. The conclusions of this will not be fully known until the submarine returns to port. A decision will then be made whether there are sufficient grounds for convening a full board of inquiry. For operational reasons it is not our practice to release details of the findings of inquiries of this nature.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : At present, three Fijian military officers are attending military training courses in the United Kingdom. In addition, a Royal Navy officer is serving on loan to the Fiji hydrographic unit.
158. Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will meet the chairman of the Post Office to discuss the issue of commemorative stamps to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what considerations underlie the decision on the amount of compensation payable (a) in respect of the death of a llama, attributable to a low flying incident, and (b) to the family of a single soldier murdered by the IRA ; and if he will take immediate steps to introduce a scheme to provide minimum compensation equivalent to at least one year's salary in the case of services personnel killed in the course of their duty ;
(2) what has been the average compensation paid by Her Majesty's Government to the families of single service personnel murdered in the course of their duty by the Irish Republican Army in each of the past five years for which figures are available.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The amount of compensation paid by my Department recently in respect of the death of a llama was based on substantial evidence provided by the claimant and verified by professional advisers in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. I cannot answer for claims arising from the death of single soldiers killed by the IRA in the United Kingdom, since these are considered under the criminal injury compensation schemes for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. My Department operates a corresponding scheme for service men overseas, although we have not received any claims arising from the death of single service personnel as a result of IRA attacks under this scheme. The amount of criminal injuries compensation payable to the family of a single soldier murdered by the IRA is assessed in the same way as claims for damages under common law and reflect the degree of financial dependency. I see no requirement for any additional scheme along the lines proposed.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice and encouragement he has given to the National Health Service as an employer to provide more flexible working arrangements and child care facilities for National Health Service staff with children ; and if any new advice is to be issued with regard to the reduced number of young people available for midwifery and nursing in the 1990s.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We fully recognise that staff with domestic responsibilities have a major contribution to make to the staffing of the National Health Service, especially in view of forecast reductions in the numbers of suitably qualified school leavers available for employment in the 1990s. This year we have commended to health authorities the NHS training authority's resource package on implementing an equal opportunities strategy and the report of the national steering group on equal opportunities for women in the NHS which include advice on the organisation of work-break schemes, flexible working arrangements and child care facilities. The NHS training authority is now looking at the training implications of "return and retain" schemes for staff wishing to take career breaks.
In March this year, the Department wrote to all health authorities commending to them a joint collaborative scheme agreed with the Midland bank for the sharing of workplace nursing facilities between NHS and bank staff. The first nursery under the joint scheme is due to open early in the new year at the royal Berkshire hospital. I understand that similar plans at the royal Infirmary in Derby are well advanced, while a number of others in different parts of the country are under discussion. Some health authorities are entering into sharing arrangements with other local employers.
While decisions about the implementation of work-break schemes, including flexible working and the provision of child care facilities must remain a matter for the individual employing authorities, we will continue to emphasise that there must be improvements in working practices and recruitment and retention policies so that authorities may be in a sound position to attract and retain the services of all staff who wish to combine employment in the NHS with domestic responsibilities.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful claims for compensation have been made against the North Western regional health authority during each of the last three years ; and if he will make a statement.
Year ended |Claims --------------------------------- March 1987 |822 March 1988 |774 March 1989 |758
Information on successful or unsuccessful claims is not readily available, and could only be produced at disproportionate cost.
(2) what is the average time between requesting help with fertility problems and receiving treatment in the National Health Service ; (3) which district health authorities provide (a) ovarian scanning, (b) radio-immune assay service, (c) artificial insemination by donor or husband, (d) in vitro fertilisation and (e) counselling for infertile people ; and whether any charge for the services.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : This information is not held centrally. The provision of infertility services is a matter for individual health authorities to decide in the light of local needs and priorities.
Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research the Government are currently funding into the causes of human infertility ; and when the results of this research are expected to be available.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) on 30 October at columns 11-13. Results arising from this extensive and continuing programme of research are published as they become available, in appropriate medical and scientific journals.
Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on what proportion of pelvic inflammatory disease has been associated with the intra-uterine contraceptive device in the last five years.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give an assurance that the ex-gratia payments of £20,000 to people with haemophilia who have been infected with the AIDS virus in the course of National Health Service treatment will be made to them before Christmas.
Column 66sufferers who have contacted the HIV virus arising from blood transfusions ; of these how many have pressed for a more substantial settlement for such sufferers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 30 November 1989] : We have received three representations to date seeking additional financial help. As my right hon. and Learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health announced on 23 November, our objectives are to give £20,000 lump sum payments to those affected, on an ex-gratia basis, and to enable the Macfarlane Trust to continue on a more generous scale their help to families in particular need. However, compensation is a matter for the courts.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Since the White Paper "Working for Patients" was published in January this year my colleagues, senior officials and I have met representative bodies, other groups and leaders of the medical profession on some 100 separate occasions. These have included for instance, meetings with the presidents of the Royal Colleges, the Joint Consultants Committee, the British Medical Association, the General Medical Council, the General Medical Services Committee and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association.
We have been able to listen carefully to the views of the profession and have taken their points into account in developing the Government's proposals. I and my colleagues are always willing to enter into further constructive dialogue with the profession about how best to implement our plans.
Mr. Freeman : Health education will be a cross-curricula theme in the national curriculum and the responsibility for its teaching in any school lies ultimately with the head teacher and governors. School nurses however can make a very useful contribution to the development of teaching programmes and also, in the course of their regular duties, they use their contacts with individual pupils to promote health education and encourage healthy life styles.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the future of the schools health service once local management of schools is in place as (a) medical support to staff and pupils and (b) health education support to staff.
Mr. Freeman : Legislation has been amended so that district health authorities will have a responsibility to continue to provide a school health service for pupils at both schools maintained by local education authorities and at grant maintained schools. The range and organisation of services will still be determined by individual health authorities in consultation with local education authorities.
Column 67Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the role of the schools health visitor service in all age schools.
Mr. Freeman : School health services make a very useful contribution to preventive medicine through child health surveillance and health promotion among school children. We have recently carried out a brief fact finding survey of a sample of school health services and will be considering if further guidance on the management of the service is appropriate.
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that homeless people are accepted on to general practitioners' lists under the terms of the new general practitioner's contract.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : It is not possible to make reliable estimates of the numbers involved. Everyone entitled to NHS treatment has the right to be registered with a doctor in their locality. In cases where people, such as the homeless, are unable to find a doctor to accept them, the local family practitioner committee has power to assign them to a particular doctor's list. In addition two pilot projects have been undertaken in London to improve access by homeless people to primary health care services. We are establishing permanent arrangements in these areas and considering ways to extend them to other inner city FPCs.
Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will give details of all contracts awarded in the first and second round of National Health Service competitive tendering by each district health authority, by hospital, for (a) cleaning, (b) catering, (c) laundry, (d) portering, (e) other ancillary services and (f) other National Health Service services ; (2) if he will give the latest figures as a percentage of services put out to tender by each district health authority for (a) cleaning, (b) catering, (c) laundry, (d) portering, (e) other ancillary services and (f) other National Health Service services ; and if he will give estimated annual savings.
Mr. Freeman : Information collected centrally in the form requested relates to the national initiative on domestic, catering and laundry services and for the first round only. A table giving information on tender exercises in this round in the period October 1988 to 30 September 1989 has been placed in the Library to update earlier published information. We do not propose to collect similar information centrally for these services in the next round of tendering, or for other services, ancillary or otherwise on the basis that the choice of new services to be tendered is a matter for local determination based on value for money and local circumstances. Many health authorities, as a matter of routine, and of their own accord, are looking to combine ancillary services in various packages before tendering and also extending the
Column 68process to other services. We encourage such developments and to maximise flexibility will only collect aggregate information on progress as part of the cost improvement programme.
Savings to date achieved by health authorities in England for the three services covered by the national initiative are £110 million. For 1989 -90 authorities plan new additional cost improvement savings through competitive tendering for services, of almost £10 million.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the impact that the Health Service Bill is likely to have on the provision of physiotherapy services in hospitals and in the community ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We have received a number of written representations about the impact of physiotherapy services of the proposals in "Working for Patients" now included in the National Health Service and Community Care Bill. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy also made representations at a meeting to my predecessor on 25 September. The proposals in the Bill are intended to improve the provision of physiotherapy services in hospitals and in the community.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representation he has had from Sir George Porter PRS on behalf of the scientific community about (a) the effect on the pursuit of knowledge of any ban on pre-14 day embryo research, (b) the effect on British industry of any ban on pre-14 day embryo research and (c) the effect on those suffering from degenerative disease and infertility of any restriction on pre-14 day embryo research.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Department has received representations from Sir George Porter PRS on the possible impact of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill on the scientific community. He pointed out the benefits which the Royal Society anticipates from research on embryos up to 14 days old for those suffering from genetic disorders and infertility, and the pursuit of knowledge generally. I understand he is also concerned about the effect which any ban on embryo research might have on British industry through a possible emigration of United Kingdom researchers.
Mr. Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanism he proposes to employ for determining the future levels of bursaries to students pursuing Project 2000 courses of nursing education.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : In determining bursary levels for Project 2000 students, the Government's objective was to reflect the need to recruit sufficient candidates to nurse training, having regard to the current earning power of existing nurse students. Bursary levels will be kept under review in the light of that objective.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure access for patients from Denton and Reddish to Christie hospital, Manchester, if it goes ahead with plans to opt out.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : NHS trusts will not opt out, but will remain firmly part of the NHS. It will be for district health authorities to determine, in the light of local circumstances, what services are required to meet the health care needs of their resident population and to secure provision of those services through contracts. As part of this process, health authorities will identify those services which must be provided locally. Where a unit which applies for NHS trust status is the only sensible option for providing such services, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State will approve arrangements for their continued provision on establishment of the NHS trust. Any later changes will be subject to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's further approval if they cannot be agreed locally.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The purpose of the National Health Service and Community Care Bill is to make the changes in the law needed to implement the proposals set out in our White Papers "Working for Patients' (Cmnd 555) and "Caring for People" (Cmnd 849). Under the proposals for NHS services, district health authorities will be responsible for seeing that the needs of all their resident population, including people with disabilities, are met and that patients have access to a comprehensive range of high quality value for money services. The new arrangements for community care will improve opportunities for independent living for people with disabilities by improving coordination between agencies providing care, providing for multi-disciplinary assessment of need, whether for residential care or support at home, involving the individual more closely in decisions affecting him, and taking more account of the needs of carers.
(2) if he will take immediate steps to ensure that medical staff at Killingbeck hospital, Leeds, are equipped with pulse oximeters.
Mr. Freeman : The supply of medical equipment is a local matter for the management of the health authority concerned. The hon. Member may therefore wish to contact the chairman of Leeds Eastern health authority, Mrs. Solk.