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Mr. Freeman : Port health authorities are continuing to monitor radiation levels in food imports from countries outside the European Community in accordance with the latest European Council regulation (EC 3955/87 of 22 December 1987).
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz) on 29 November at columns 297-300. There is, of course, no question of any hospital "opting- out" of the NHS.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on the number of district health authorities that will be cutting beds and operation lists before the end of the financial year.
Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on the number of district health authorities that will be cutting beds and operation lists before the end of the financial year.
Mr. Ernie Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on the number of district health authorities that will be cutting beds and operating lists before the end of the financial year.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We do not hold the information requested centrally. The provision of local health services is the responsibility of local health authorities subject to local needs and priorities.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The present exemptions from prescription charges are for particular groups of people. They do not include exemptions for individual drugs or appliances, other than for contraceptive substances and listed contraceptive appliances. We have no plans to change these arrangements.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Information from the survey of child protection registers in the year ending 31 March 1988 is published in "Survey of Children and Young Persons on Child Protection Registers Year ended 31 March 1988". Copies are available in the Library. The number of recorded deregistrations in Greater London in 1987-88 (excluding Greenwich and Westminster) was 2,905.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if each area covered by a social services department maintains a central register of children in the area who have been abused or are at risk from abuse.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The £7 million provided for the training of local authority staff working with children has been allocated as follows : £100,000--to fund the central training group on child sexual abuse, national workshops and other development and review work ;
Column 139£2,140,000--flat rate allocation of £20,000 to all local authorities in England, except the City of London and Isles of Scilly, for improvements in their training infrastructure ; £4,760, 000--allocations to all local authorities in England based on the number of staff working with children. Details of allocations to individual local authorities have been placed in the Library. Training programmes submitted by local authorities indicate that £4.6 million will be spent on general training and £2.3 million on training in child protection work including child sexual abuse.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce special assessment teams, composed of local authority health authority and police officials, to deal with the problem of child abuse.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : It is for the local authority, health authority and local police force jointly to consider the introduction of specialist assessment teams. The Department's guidance document "Working Together" (1988), copies of which are available in the Library, commends agencies to consider carefully the conclusions and recommendations of the report of the inquiry on child abuse in Cleveland 1987 on this issue.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Department regularly meets voluntary organisations with responsibilities in the child care field. I refer the hon. Member to my previous response to her of 15 November at column 338.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Children removed from the child protection register and their families are eligible for the full range of services provided by local authority social services departments and health authorities. Paragraph 5.29 of the Department's guidance document, "Working Together" (1988), copies of which are available in the Library, states : "removal of a child's name from the register should not lead to an automatic withdrawal or reduction in services. The risk of child abuse may have been eliminated or reduced but a variety of services may still be needed by the child and family, and in some cases the child will be in the care of the local authority either on a voluntary or compulsory basis".
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment is being made of the results of the Open university training package for training in recognition of child abuse.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : As the training pack has only been on the market since the end of March, it is too early to provide a full assessment of its impact. Sales of the training pack have been very encouraging ; from the end of March 1989 to September 1989, 2,319 student packs and 620 tutor packs were sold. The training pack included an assessment module, and 1,000 students have so far registered to take part in the assessment exercise. Early results indicate that students' knowledge of child abuse is increased substantially after having completed the course.
Column 140authorities providing day nurseries, play groups, child minding, family aides, family centres and other facilities which can support and advise and aid in the prevention of child abuse within families.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Statistical information is collected annually from each local authority about day nurseries, play groups and child minders provided by the local authority. Information is sought about the number of premises/persons, the number of places and, for day nurseries and playgroups, the numbers on the register. Information is also sought about the number of children in voluntary or private play groups or day nurseries or with child minders who are placed and paid for by the local authority. This information is published, together with some details of private and voluntary provision. The most recent publication is "Children's Day Care Facilities at 31 March 1988 ; England" a copy of which is available in the Library.
Details of expenditure are also collected for each authority ; these details cover expenditure on family centres as well as day nurseries, playgroups and child minders.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : In July 1988, the Department published a guidance document, "Working Together" and an accompanying circular (LAC(88)10/HC(88)38), copies of which are available in the Library, which called for the redesignation of area review committees as area child protection committees covering one local authority area. The process of redesignation continued into 1989, and involved the reorganisation of some larger area review committees into area child protection committees which were conterminous with local authority boundaries. There are currently 108 area child protection committees.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State has no plans at present to visit Bradford to meet the chairman of the health authority. I hope to visit Bradford in the new year.
Mr. Freeman : Costs in the National Health Service increased by an estimated 7.9 per cent. in 1987-88 and by 10.1 per cent. in 1988-89. An estimate of increased costs in 1989-90 will not be available until after the current financial year has ended.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy that before the implementation of section 42 of the National Health Service and Community Care Bill, there will have been the full
Column 141implementation of sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Disabled Persons (Consultation, Representation and Services) Act 1986 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : We have always made it clear that further implementation of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 could take place only if the necessary resources were available without jeopardising high priority social services. We are currently considering action to identify the resources which would be required to implement sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Act.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set up a statutory committee of voluntary organisations involved in the provision of care services to disabled people, of which disabled people themselves would be members.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has visited any ambulance station to talk to ambulance personnel since the beginning of the dispute (a) at West Bridgford ambulance station, (b) in Nottingham and (c) nationally.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Neither I nor my colleagues have visited any ambulance stations since the beginning of the dispute. I have talked with staff from West Bridgford ambulance station at my constituency office.
Mr. Baldry : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give an estimate for the income generated by each district health authority from commercial activities following the provisions of section 4 of the Health and Medicines Act.
Mr. Freeman : Section 7 of the Health and Medicines Act 1988 gives health authorities the power to generate additional income. In the current year, we expect £28 million to be generated by the NHS in England. The average amount generated by each district will be about £140,000.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how often meetings are held between Ministers and officials from different Government Departments to co-ordinate Government policy on aging and related issues.
Mr. Freeman : Estimates of population for local and health authorities in England have been extrapolated forward from 1988 to 1989 and 1990. It has been assumed that recent average changes in each area arising from births, deaths, and migration will be maintained, subject to constraints set by the latest (1988-based) national population projections for England made by the Government Actuary's department. Past estimates of migration have been derived from re-registrations on the National Health Service central register as people move from a doctor's list in one family practitioner committee area to a list in another such area (migration within the United Kingdom), and from results of the international passenger survey (international migration). The net inwards migration levels assumed for 1988-89 and 1989-90 on this basis are less than the levels estimated for each of the previous four years.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has received for changing the basis on which welfare milk is paid for ; and whether he will make it his policy to ensure that any change does not reduce the incomes of self-employed milkmen.
Mr. Freeman : As part of the Government's initiative to secure value for money in all their purchases, negotiations have been held with representatives of all sectors of the dairy trade about the price paid by the Department for the supply of liquid welfare milk. The results are being closely studied and the interests of all the parties involved will be carefully considered before any decisions are made.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meeting has been held since September with representatives of the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the United Kingdom on the arrangements for South Africa to join the nuclear non -proliferation treaty ; what other non-proliferation treaty depository states have been involved in such discussions ; and what future plans there are for further meetings with South Africa on the non-proliferation treaty.
Column 143Mr. Maude : There has not been any such meeting since September. However, representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union (which are the depositary states of the non-proliferation treaty) are to meet South African representatives in Vienna on 11 and 12 December to discuss the question of South African accession to the treaty.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of South Korea to have removed the concrete wall which borders the demilitarised zone.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why permits were issued for the sale of radar equipment in Chinese fighter aircraft in September ; whether such permits were excluded by the Madrid European Community summit declaration ; and whether Export Credit Guarantees Department help was given to the Chinese Government for the purchase of such equipment.
Mr. Maude : In accordance with the Madrid declaration we have banned exports to China of weapons, together with any equipment which could be used for the purposes of internal repression, and postponed the examination of new requests for credit insurance. The avionics equipment to be supplied by GEC Marconi falls outside the embargo. It is subject to ECGD export credit cover, but as this was finalised prior to the events of June, it is not covered by the Madrid declaration.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money has been levied in consular fees as a result of misfortunes happening to British citizens abroad who have had to seek help from embassy staff outside working hours.
The Prime Minister : I discussed recent developments in eastern Europe with my EC colleagues in Paris on 18 November, and will have the opportunity to do so again in Strasbourg on 8-9 December. I was also able to discuss these issues with European and other NATO colleagues at the briefing which President Bush gave yesterday in Brussels on his meetings with President Gorbachev.
The Prime Minister : Our Environmental Protection Bill is further proof of the Government's firm commitment to protecting and enhancing the domestic and international environment. It will encompass a range of innovative and widely welcomed measures to tackle pollution at source. New and more effective controls will be introduced to regulate pollution and waste disposal. Other provisions include strong measures to crack down on litter and improvements to the structure of our conservation agencies.
The Prime Minister : Local authorities are making satisfactory progress with implementing the Government's education reforms which will increase parental choice in the schooling for their children and increase the say of parents in the way the schools are run. In England and Wales, preparations for local management of schools and colleges are on target and the implementation of the national curriculum is going well. In Scotland, establishment of school boards for education authority schools is proceeding well, and authorities are participating in all aspects of our initiatives on curriculum and assessment for five to 14-year-olds.
Q107. Mr. Latham : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the proposals made by Her Majesty's Government to the European Community calling for increased aid and investment in eastern European countries seeking to introduce democracy and a freer market economy ; and what progress is being made in that regard.
The Prime Minister : The Government are committed to supporting economic and political reform in eastern Europe, and have played a leading role in encouraging the very positive response of the EC and its member states to the emerging democracies. Nationally, the United Kingdom was first in the field with a know-how fund for Poland, now valued at £50 million. On 29 November, we announced that we would be contributing £15 million to an agriculture project in Poland and that we would make a contribution of $100 million to the stabilisation fund for Poland. For Hungary, a know-how fund, valued at £25 million, will come into operation early next year.
Column 145Within the Community we have contributed to a comprehensive assistance package for Poland and Hungary comprising :
some £210 million for aid projects for both Poland and Hungary in 1990 ;
GSP status, bringing reductions in tariffs and levies on industrial and certain agricultural products ;
suspension or abolition of quantitative trade restrictions ; eligibility for EIB lending.
In addition, the Community has provided £70 million-worth of free food for Poland. We expect to announce soon a further contribution. Moreover, the EC is establishing a pattern of agreements with the countries of eastern Europe which will encourage trade and investment.
Her Majesty's Government will continue their strong support of the EC's policy of differentiation in favour of those countries which introduce reforms leading to democracy and a free-market economy.
The Prime Minister : Excellent progress is being made in the regeneration of our inner cities under the Government's action for cities programmes. In developing our policies for the future we will seek to develop a genuine partnership between all those involved in the regeneration of their areas. The Government are working with business, local government, the voluntary sector and local people to build on the progress already made and to ensure that the pace of inner-city regeneration is maintained.
Q223. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the proposal by President Mitterrand and others to permit the United Kingdom to rejoin the European Free Trade Association.