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Operations (Western Europe)

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the total numbers of British forces, planes and tanks deployed, by country, in western Europe, and the equivalent figures for each year since 1979.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The numbers of United Kingdom regular forces deployed, by country, in western Europe as at 1 April 1989 are as follows :


Column 73


Deployment of United Kingdom regular       

forces, by country, in                     

Western Europe, as at 1 April 1989         

Country                    |Total          

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

German Federal Republic                    

  (excluding West Berlin)  |64,294         

West Berlin                |3,754          

Belgium                    |906            

Greece                     |1              

Denmark                    |26             

France                     |22             

Italy (including Sardinia) |350            

Netherlands                |629            

Norway                     |811            

Portugal                   |67             

Spain                      |229            

Turkey                     |16             

Unspecified                |29             

                           |-------        

  Total                    |71,134         

The equivalent figures for each year since 1979 until 1988 are not held in the same detail and could be obtained only at

disproportionate cost. I am able, however, to offer figures of United Kingdom forces deployed, broken down between the Federal Republic of Germany and elsewhere in western Europe. They are as follows :


Deployment of United Kingdom regular forces in the Federal                      

Republic of Germany and elsewhere in Western Europe 1979-88                     

<1> 1 July.                                                                     

The figures cover all United Kingdom regular forces, male and female. Army personnel from BAOR on emergency tours in Northern Ireland are added back to the Federal Republic of Germany numbers but personnel recorded as on short tours elsewhere are not included. All United Kingdom regular army armoured and armoured reconnaissance regiments within western Europe are based in BAOR. The figures for numbers of regiments deployments in BAOR since 1979 are shown in the next table. It is not our policy to give more detailed information on numbers of tanks deployed in particular locations.


Column 74


Numbers of United Kingdom regular army armoured and armoured                    

reconnaissance regiments deployed in BAOR 1979-1989                             

RAF front line units within Western Europe are based in the Federal Republic of Germany. There were 12 squadrons of aircraft deployed in RAF Germany between 1979 and 1982, 13 from 1983 to 1985, 14 in 1986 and 15 from 1987 to the present day. It is not our policy to give more detailed information on numbers of aircraft deployed in particular locations.

Military Advisers

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the total numbers, by country, of British service personnel stationed in non- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries as advisers ; what is the period for which they are stationed ; and what are the equivalent figures for each of the past five years.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Some 550 service personnel are on loan or seconded to the Governments of 33 countries outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Details about specific countries are generally in confidence between Her Majesty's Government and the Governments of the countries concerned.

Greenham Common

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to return the land at Greenham common to public use ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Sir M. McNair-Wilson) on 13 April 1989 at column 653.

Earnings

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out (a) the percentage in real-term increases and (b) the actual percentage increase in the pay of the following in each year since 1964 (i) Army private, (ii) Army sergeant, (iii) Army WOII, (iv) second lieutenant, (v) captain and (vii) lieutenant-colonel.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I regret that the available records do not enable the question to be answered for years prior to 1970. Since the introduction of the military salary in April 1970, the average increases in armed forces' pay for all ranks compared with the retail price index have been :


Pay review in                                                                                      |Equivalent                                                                                        |Retail price                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                   |percentage                                                                                        |index                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                   |increase for                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                   |full year                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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

1971                                                                                               |<1>-                                                                                              |9.4                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1972                                                                                               |10.0                                                                                              |7.1                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1973                                                                                               |6.5                                                                                               |9.1                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1974                                                                                               |13.0                                                                                              |16.0                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1975                                                                                               |29.5                                                                                              |24.2                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1976                                                                                               |9.6                                                                                               |16.5                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1977                                                                                               |5.0                                                                                               |15.9                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1978                                                                                               |13.0                                                                                              |8.2                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1979                                                                                               |32.5                                                                                              |13.5                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1980                                                                                               |16.8                                                                                              |18.0                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1981                                                                                               |10.3                                                                                              |11.9                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1982                                                                                               |6.1                                                                                               |8.6                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1983                                                                                               |7.2                                                                                               |4.8                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1984                                                                                               |<2>4.9                                                                                            |5.0                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1985                                                                                               |7.1                                                                                               |6.1                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1986                                                                                               |<3>5.6                                                                                            |3.4                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1987                                                                                               |4.9                                                                                               |4.1                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1988                                                                                               |6.4                                                                                               |4.9                                                                                                                                                                                                  

1989                                                                                               |6.8                                                                                               |n/a                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

It would not be possible to break the figures down to show percentage increases in pay for each of the ranks requested without disproportionate cost.

Belize

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost in the latest year for which figures are available of the British garrison in Belize, including assistance in the Belize defence force.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The estimated cost of maintaining a garrison in Belize in 1989-90 is £29 million. It is not our practice to disclose the total cost in military assistance to individual countries.

Air Miss (Tranent)

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to send a copy of the report of the joint air miss working group on the incident involving a military aircraft and a civil passenger flight over Tranent on the evening of 2 August to the hon. Member for East Lothian as soon as that report becomes available.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces will send a copy of the report as soon as it is available.

Colonel Richard Lea

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which occasions Colonel Richard Lea has been suspended from duty since June 1984 ; and what were the reasons for suspension.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : It is not the practice to comment on cases which involve disciplinary action taken against individuals who are no longer serving.

Tornado

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current cost of training a Tornado pilot.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The current cost of training a Tornado pilot to the point where he joins an operational squadron is approximately £4.4 million.


Column 76

Royal Ordnance

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether in the last 10 years he or his predecessors, either by direction or informally, secured changes in the accounting conventions followed by Royal Ordnance or Royal Naval dockyards, respectively ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Clark : After 13 years of operation as a trading fund the Royal Ordnance was privatised from 1 April 1987. The Royal Naval dockyards were vote funded until April 1987 when they were transferred to commercial management. During these periods the broad accounting conventions followed were those required by legislation and consequential regulations appropriate to their status.

WE177

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply of 30 November, Official Report, column 357, what amounts of money have been paid to (a) British Aerospace and (b) Hunting Engineering in connection with the study of possible procurement options for the replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb.

Mr. Alan Clark : The information requested is commercially confidential.

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply of 30 November, Official Report, column 357, what is the nature of the arrangements that have been concluded with the United States Government enabling an exchange of information on the subject of the study of possible replacement options for the WE177 nuclear bomb.

Mr. Alan Clark : The arrangements are in the form of a memorandum of understanding concerning co-operation on a tactical air-to-surface missile feasibility study.

Thailand

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply of 30 November, Official Report, column 358, what was the annual number of visits made by British service personnel to Thailand for each year over the last four years ; and what was the purpose of each of these visits.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I will write to the hon. Member.

Cambodia

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply of 30 November, Official Report, column 357, whether any assessment has been made of the ability of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front and the National Sihanoukist Army to control in an appropriate manner classified information that they receive.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I have nothing to add to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) on 7 November at column 543.

Staff (Length of Service)

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average length of service of (a) industrial and (b)

non-industrial staff employed by his Department.


Column 77

Mr. Neubert : The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Civilian Staff (Overtime)

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total amount of overtime that has been paid out to all his Departments' civilian staff for each year for the last 10 years.

Mr. Neubert : I will write to the hon. Member.

Chieftain Tank

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what importance he attaches to cost-effectiveness in the choice of a replacement for the Chieftain tank.

Mr. Alan Clark : Cost-effectiveness is one of the principal factors under consideration in the choice of the next generation main battle tank.

HEALTH

Ambulance Service

Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the cost of running each ambulance service.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The information requested, derived from the 1988-89 annual accounts of the regional health authorities (RHAs) and district health authorities in England which manage and account for these services, is shown in the table.


Total revenue expenditure on patient transport (i.e. ambulance)       

services-1988-89                                                      

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

Northern Regional Health Authority          |9,652,274                

South Tees                                  |4,063,738                

East Cumbria                                |4,198,245                

Durham                                      |4,292,461                

Yorkshire Regional Health Authority         |13,811,675               

Hull                                        |6,813,348                

York                                        |4,062,366                

Trent Regional Health Authority             |7,496,560                

South Derbyshire                            |5,938,750                

Leicestershire                              |5,349,592                

North Lincolnshire                          |4,645,797                

Nottingham                                  |6,577,756                

Cambridge                                   |3,618,856                

East Suffolk                                |3,396,348                

Norwich                                     |6,057,536                

North Bedfordshire                          |2,942,325                

East Hertfordshire                          |5,753,787                

Mid Essex                                   |9,148,786                

Eastbourne                                  |5,485,420                

Medway                                      |9,766,199                

South West Thames Regional Health Authority |46,029,885               

East Surrey                                 |7,398,616                

Chichester                                  |1,157,371                

Mid Downs                                   |1,612,104                

Worthing                                    |1,423,770                

East Dorset                                 |4,502,789                

Winchester                                  |7,696,549                

Swindon                                     |3,836,516                

Isle of Wight                               |939,210                  

West Berkshire                              |3,814,271                

Aylesbury                                   |3,246,717                

Northampton                                 |3,208,202                

Oxfordshire                                 |3,192,442                

Bristol and Weston                          |5,356,017                

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly                |3,740,707                

Exeter                                      |3,325,197                

North Devon                                 |1,273,991                

Plymouth                                    |1,839,102                

Torbay                                      |1,875,101                

Gloucester                                  |3,710,954                

Somerset                                    |3,028,723                

West Midlands Regional Health Authority     |14,485,006               

Worcester                                   |4,544,593                

Shropshire                                  |2,815,530                

Mid Staffordshire                           |6,184,806                

South Warwickshire                          |2,855,550                

Chester                                     |5,613,353                

South Sefton                                |9,065,193                

North Western Regional Health Authority     |16,408,654               

Preston                                     |9,029,976                

                                            |------------             

Total-England                               |306,282,714              

Notes:                                                                

1. The figures are provisional (as yet subject to audit).             

2. The South West Thames Regional Health Authority accounts for all   

the expenditure relevant to the London Ambulance Service. Generally   

the other Regional Health Authorities shown manage and account for    

the service provided to particular conurbations within their          

respective regions.                                                   

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department's evaluation of the Cornwall air ambulance service includes the possible consequences for the service of the granting of self-governing status to hospitals from the jurisdiction of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly health authority ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : There is no reason to suppose tht the possible NHS trust status of the hospitals served by the Cornwall air ambulance will affect either its need or effectiveness.

Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the criteria for assessing the skills of emergency ambulance staff required to use paramedical skills gained from extended training to National Health Service training authority standard ; what comparison has been made with payments made to other National Health Service staff using paramedical skills ; and in offering an additional £500 to emergency ambulance staff, what accounrt has been taken of the amount of overtime they are obliged to work.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Selected, qualified ambulance staff who volunteer for extended training, are trained and certified as fit to practice in the skills of extended ambulance aid by NHS consultants. They must requalify annually. The objective of this training is to save life and reduce morbidity, and mortality. A clinical audit carried out in 1988 indicated that of 28,000 patients who received some form of ambulance aid, some 95 per cent. were still alive on arrival at hospital. There are no comparable payments made to other NHS staff. The additional £500 to be paid to fully qualified staff will be part of the annual salary and will count in full when calculating overtime and other benefits.

Prescriptions

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish a table, using the PACT database, showing the expenditure on prescriptions for each family practitioner committee area, together with the totals for each National Health Service region for the 1988-89 financial year ; and if he will express that expenditure as a figure per head of population for each area and region.


Column 79

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The information requested cannot be derived from PACT but is available to the Department as set out in the table.


Total cost of prescriptions dispensed by chemists, appliance          

contractors and dispensing doctors                                    

                          April 1988-March 1989                       

                         |Total cost    |Total cost per               

                         |(£ thousands) |head (£)                     

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

Cleveland                |28,092        |50.79                        

Cumbria                  |24,043        |49.15                        

Durham                   |30,680        |51.41                        

Northumberland           |14,950        |49.60                        

Gateshead                |10,075        |48.85                        

Newcastle                |13,732        |49.11                        

North Tyne               |11,282        |58.49                        

South Tyne               |7,873         |50.56                        

Sunderland               |16,187        |54.67                        

                                                                      

Northern RHA             |156,913       |51.09                        

                                                                      

Humberside               |43,177        |50.77                        

North Yorks              |33,452        |46.91                        

Bradford                 |22,626        |48.75                        

Calderdale               |9,755         |49.78                        

Kirklees                 |16,707        |44.51                        

Leeds                    |35,071        |49.42                        

Wakefield                |16,183        |51.94                        

                                                                      

Yorkshire RHA            |176,971       |48.88                        

                                                                      

Derbyshire               |41,294        |44.68                        

Leicester                |38,876        |43.90                        

Lincoln                  |31,465        |54.01                        

Nottinghamshire          |43,023        |42.70                        

Barnsley                 |12,256        |55.48                        

Doncaster                |15,069        |51.67                        

Rotherham                |11,379        |45.19                        

Sheffield                |24,837        |47.01                        

                                                                      

Trent RHA                |218,199       |46.50                        

                                                                      

Cambridgeshire           |27,433        |42.10                        

Norfolk                  |36,831        |49.48                        

Suffolk                  |28,874        |45.22                        

                                                                      

East Anglia RHA          |93,139        |45.78                        

                                                                      

Bedford                  |22,807        |42.97                        

Hertfordshire            |41,008        |41.59                        

Barnet                   |12,713        |42.17                        

Brent and Harrow         |20,442        |44.99                        

Ealing, Hammersmith and                                               

   Hounslow              |28,080        |44.03                        

Hillingdon               |10,167        |43.84                        

Kensington, Chelsea and                                               

   Westminster           |15,484        |52.43                        

                                                                      

North West Thames RHA    |150,701       |43.84                        

                                                                      

Essex                    |68,037        |44.48                        

Barking and Havering     |16,285        |42.51                        

Camden and Islington     |15,483        |44.02                        

City and East London     |26,517        |47.17                        

Enfield and Harringey    |18,451        |40.71                        

Redbridge and Waltham                                                 

   Forest                |20,533        |46.24                        

                                                                      

North East Thames RHA    |165,307       |44.39                        

                                                                      

East Sussex              |35,896        |50.36                        

Kent                     |69,585        |45.77                        

Bexley and Greenwich     |17,862        |41.08                        

Bromley                  |12,009        |40.27                        

Lambeth, Lewisham and                                                 

   Southwark             |29,858        |43.56                        

                                                                      

South East Thames RHA    |165,210       |45.24                        

                                                                      

Surrey                   |41,926        |41.94                        

West Sussex              |35,115        |49.92                        

Croydon                  |12,737        |40.16                        

Kingston and Richmond    |13,242        |44.84                        

Merton, Sutton and                                                    

   Wandsworth            |25,272        |42.88                        

                                                                      

South West Thames RHA    |128,291       |44.16                        

                                                                      

Dorsetshire              |34,655        |52.85                        

Hampshire                |67,109        |43.49                        

Wiltshire                |23,357        |41.93                        

Isle of Wight            |6,837         |52.68                        

                                                                      

Wessex RHA               |131,957       |45.73                        

                                                                      

Berkshire                |30,869        |41.32                        

Buckinghamshire          |25,087        |39.99                        

Northamptonshire         |24,396        |42.78                        

Oxfordshire              |23,279        |40.21                        

                                                                      

Oxford RHA               |103,630       |41.06                        

                                                                      

Avon                     |40,246        |42.17                        

Cornwall                 |24,587        |53.38                        

Devon                    |49,330        |48.31                        

Gloucester               |22,021        |41.75                        

Somerset                 |21,633        |47.27                        

                                                                      

South Western RHA        |157,817       |46.13                        

                                                                      

Hereford and Worcester   |28,835        |42.98                        

Salop                    |18,186        |45.38                        

Staffordshire            |46,578        |45.10                        

Warwickshire             |22,812        |47.07                        

Birmingham               |51,029        |51.35                        

Coventry                 |14,879        |48.59                        

Dudley                   |12,884        |42.34                        

Sandwell                 |15,640        |52.79                        

Solihull                 |9,313         |45.42                        

Walsall                  |13,739        |52.38                        

Wolverhampton            |12,774        |51.22                        

                                                                      

West Midlands RHA        |246,669       |47.38                        

                                                                      

Cheshire                 |45,845        |47.97                        

Liverpool                |26,515        |56.46                        

St. Helens with Knowsley |17,544        |50.70                        

Sefton                   |15,047        |50.56                        

Wirral                   |18,170        |54.27                        

                                                                      

Mersey RHA               |123,121       |51.22                        

                                                                      

Lancashire               |75,826        |54.87                        

Bolton                   |12,216        |46.34                        

Bury                     |9,470         |54.12                        

Manchester               |23,340        |52.34                        

Oldham                   |10,480        |47.74                        

Rochdale                 |10,891        |52.65                        

Salford                  |13,916        |59.06                        

Stockport                |14,546        |50.00                        

Tameside                 |10,835        |49.97                        

Trafford                 |11,847        |54.91                        

Wigan                    |16,258        |52.85                        

                                                                      

North Western RHA        |209,625       |52.94                        

The figures include prescriptions dispensed by retail chemists,       

applicance contractors and dispensing doctors.                        

Total cost includes the basic price of the drug less discount plus    

dispensing costs and fees.                                            

Figures are based on OPCS estimates of resident populations for mid   

year 1988.                                                            


Column 81

Health Spending

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is (a) the average and (b) the range of expenditure per patient between general practitioner practices in each family practitioner committee area of the Northern health region in the year 1988-89, using the PACT database.


Column 82

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Information about the average and range of prescribing costs can only be made available without disproportionate expense for the last quarter. This is set out in the table. This information cannot be directly derived from PACT which is not a database.


Column 81


Northern Regional Health Authority                                                            

                                   Range of basic prices/patients                             

                   |Average basic |Lowest        |Highest       |Quarter Ending               

                   |price/patient                                                             

                   |£             |£             |£                                           

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

Cleveland FPC      |11.46         |6.64          |42.80         |July 1989                    

Cumbria FPC        |10.95         |2.53          |19.21         |August 1989                  

Durham FPC         |11.87         |6.90          |20.21         |August 1989                  

Gateshead FPC      |10.56         |7.80          |14.85         |June 1989                    

Newcastle FPC      |10.15         |2.94          |14.71         |July 1989                    

Northumberland FPC |10.85         |7.41          |16.13         |June 1989                    

North Tyneside FPC |12.54         |6.42          |21.45         |June 1989                    

South Tyneside     |11.00         |8.35          |13.60         |June 1989                    

Sunderland FPC     |12.05         |7.45          |17.66         |August 1989                  

Notes:                                                                                        

1. The figures are based on patient list sizes of 500 or more of prescribing doctors within   

the FPC. Lists of less than 500 and of dispensing doctors are not included.                   

2. The figures are net ingredient cost (basic price) of prescriptions dispensed in response   

to prescriptions written by practices within the FPC. They take no account of discount,       

dispensing costs or fees and therefore do not represent actual expenditure.                   

3. The FPCs are divided into three streams for reporting purposes. Each stream has a          

different quarterly cycle. Aggregated annual data is not available.                           

Hypothermia

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many old age pensioners have died as a result of hypothermia in each year since 1979.

Mr. Freeman : The information is as follows :


Number of deaths with mention   

of hypothermia on the death     

certificate for males aged 65   

and over, and females aged 60   

and                             

over, in England and Wales from 

1979 to 1988.                   

Year     Number of Deaths       

        |Males  |Females        

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

1979    |238    |477            

1980    |165    |341            

1981    |175    |411            

1982    |204    |345            

1983    |149    |314            

1984    |165    |312            

1985    |238    |485            

1986    |254    |513            

1987    |156    |338            

1988    |162    |249            

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the number of deaths where hypothermia was mentioned as a cause ; and what is his estimate of the total number of deaths where hypothermia was the underlying cause of death in England in each year from 1978 to 1988.

Mr. Freeman : The information is as follows :


Number of deaths from hypothermia as a mention on the   

death                                                   

certificate; and also as an underlying cause<1> of      

death in England                                        

from 1978 to 1988.                                      

Year          |Mentioned    |<1>Underlying              

                            |cause                      

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

1978          |646          |n/a                        

1979          |789          |404                        

1980          |555          |245                        

1981          |628          |n/a                        

1982          |611          |300                        

1983          |508          |209                        

1984          |516          |249                        

1985          |762          |407                        

1986          |785          |411                        

1987          |517          |249                        

1988          |404          |181                        

<1> Assigned to the 9th revision (1979) International   

Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes 778.3 and 991.6. 

1981: Not available due to industrial action by         

registration officers.                                  

Residential Homes

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many private residential homes have been registered in the Durham area in each year since 1984.

Mr. Freeman : Information is not available in the form requested. The table gives the total number of privately run residential care homes registered with Durham social services authority under the Registered Homes Act 1984 as at 31 March of each year.


Year      |Number of          

          |homes              

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

1985      |14                 

1986      |<1>23              

1987      |<1>34              

1988      |44                 

<1> Provisional.              

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many private residential homes have been registered in the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale district health authority area since 1984.

Mr. Freeman : Information is not available in the form requested. The table gives the total number of privately run residential care homes registered with Lancashire social services authority under the Registered Homes Act 1984 as at 31 March of each year.


Column 83


Year      |Number of          

          |homes              

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

1985      |334                

1986      |402                

1987      |<1>482             

1988      |<1>538             

<1> Provisional.              

Pharmaceutical Products

Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to bring an end to the differential pricing of pharmaceutical products within the member countries of the European Community with a view to ending the current practice of parallel importing of such products from Europe.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Differential pricing of pharmaceutical products between EC member states results from a variety of factors. The issue is being addressed by the Community through the implementation of directive 89/105/EEC, which is concerned with transparency of pharmaceutical pricing arrangements. Parallel importing, which reflects different price levels in different countries, results from the establishment of a single European market with free movement of goods between member states, which the Government fully support. Parallel imports of medicines which satisfy United Kingdom standards as to their safety, quality and efficacy can be expected to continue so long as there are significant pricing disparities.

Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will seek to introduce legislation to extend the patent life of pharmaceutical products by a period which would further encourage innovation and better enable research based pharmaceutical companies to recoup their research and development costs on new inventions before they are exploited by non- innovative companies ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I have been asked to reply.

I fully appreciate that the pharmaceutical industry invests substantially in research and development in this country and that effective patent protection is important to enable that investment to be recouped and to encourage further innovation. I am also aware of preliminary proposals for legislation under consideration within the EC Commission which would have the effect of extending the term of patents for pharmaceutical products. We are carefully considering these proposals in terms of their likely impact not only on the pharmaceutical industry, research-based and generic, but also on the price and availability of pharmaceuticals in this country.

Environmental Policies

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the key aspects of health authorities' environmental policies and practices which he monitors.

Mr. Freeman : Health authorities are responsible for monitoring their environmental policies and practices. The Department monitors as the need arises for all or individual authorities.


Column 84

Radiation

Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 12 December (1) what numbers of claims for excessive dosage of radiation have been settled ; what ranges of payments have been made ; and how many cases remain to be settled ;

(2) in respect of patients damaged by excessive radiation treatment at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital, if he will list how many settlements have been made, how many settlements remain to be made and what is the highest and the lowest settlement made to date ; (3) if he will list the number of payments and the total of payments made to staff who were removed from their posts following these overdoses.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : These are all matters for the Exeter health authority and, as far as they affect patients, for their representatives. Two physicists, who were dismissed following the incidents, received severance payments, the details of which are confidential to the two parties involved.

Schoolchildren (Diet)

Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for Health why he has decided not to accompany the publication of his report on "The Diets of British Schoolchildren" by a press conference ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : It is not the usual practice of the Department to hold press conferences or press briefings on every occasion that a report is published. Publication of reports is accompanied by a press release relayed to all national newspapers and other media together with an extensive mailing to a range of magazines. Such a press release accompanied publication of this report in June 1989.

Sugars

Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) why it was decided that the publication of his Department's report on sugars and health would not be accompanied by a press conference ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) whether the publication of the COMA report on sugar and health was accompanied by a press conference.

Mr. Freeman : A press briefing, open to all journalists, was held on Tuesday 12 December on publication of the report of the panel on dietary sugars.

Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what weight he gave to Professor Don Naismith's participation in a sugar industry deputation against the British Medical Association's view on sugar consumption when considering his appointment to the COMA panel on sugars and health ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what weight he gave to Professor Harry Keen's speeches on sugar industry platforms and his research funding from the sugar industry when considering his appointment to the COMA panel on sugars and health ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) what weight he gave to Professor John Durnin's speeches on sugar industry platforms and his participation in a sugar industry deputation against the British Medical Association's view on sugar consumption, when considering his appointment to the COMA panel on sugars and health ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Freeman : The Government's chief medical officer takes great care when choosing members for the committee on medical aspects of food policy (COMA) and its panels to ensure that advice is comprehensive, balanced and objective. The panel on dietary sugars, consisting of 12 members, was chosen to take account of the whole spectrum of scientific opinion regarding sugars and health. The report produced by the panel was agreed by all panel members. I understand that Professor Naismith was not a member of the deputation to which the hon. Member refers.

Hospital Beds

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list, by London health authority, the current number of beds taken out of use for budgetary purposes and the equivalent numbers for each year since 1983.

Mr. Freeman : The information requested is not available centrally.

NHS Reform

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money has been spent on publicising and implementing the Government's plans for the National Health Service prior to the Second Reading of the National Health Service and Community Care Bill ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The estimated cost of informing the public about the Government's plans to improve the Health Service is £450,000. A further £2,110,000 is estimated to have been spent on informing people working for the NHS. £85 million has been allocated to assist the implementation of the proposals in the financial year 1989- 90. It is not possible to distinguish expenditure made before the Second Reading of the National Health Service and Community Care Bill.

Bed and Breakfast

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many (a) families and (b) individuals he estimates will spend the 1989 Christmas holiday period in bed and breakfast accommodation in England and Wales other than as tourists ;

(2) how many (a) families and (b) people he estimates spent the Christmas holiday in bed and breakfast accommodation in England and Wales in each of the years 1983 to 1988 inclusive, other than as tourists ;

(3) how many children he estimates spent the Christmas holiday period in bed and breakfast accommodation in England other than as tourists during each of the years 1983 to 1988.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : These are questions for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Food Poisoning

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors he has identified within the process of food production as making a significant contribution to the increased number of food poisoning cases reported in each of the last four years : and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Freeman : Food poisoning organisms can enter the food production chain at any point during processing, distribution, sale and consumption. The food industry has a legal responsibility to ensure that food produced and sold is fit for human consumption. The increase in the number of reported cases may reflect in part both heightened public awareness of food poisoning and recent changes in the system for recording and collating data operated by the public health laboratory service.

We have sought advice from the committee on the microbiological safety of food on the increasing incidence of foodborne illness.

Influenza Vaccine

Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make it his policy to ensure that in case of influenza vaccine shortage, groups seen to be medically at risk receive priority ;

(2) what priorities for vaccination he has accorded to hospital nurses and doctors and hospital patients.

Mr. Freeman : The Department's memorandum "Immunisation Against Infectious Disease" carries advice on those individuals where protection by influenza immunisation should be considered because of special risk. These include health service staff, those suffering from certain illnesses, and the elderly and children over four years of age living in residential homes and long-stay hospitals, where use of the vaccine is not contraindicated. This advice was confirmed in the chief medical officer's letter issued on 19 September. Both documents were sent to all doctors.

Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he took to ensure sufficient influenza vaccine prior to the present outbreak.

Mr. Freeman : The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation met on 23 March 1989 to discuss the requirements for influenza vaccine for the 1989-90 season. Manufacturers were contacted during April 1989 to obtain details of the estimated number of doses of vaccine which would be made available for the United Kingdom market, and to ensure that a buffer stock would be available to the Department of Health for allocation to users if necessary. Negotiations with the manufacturers were completed by the middle of June 1989. Advice to general practitioners giving details on the use of the vaccine, and categories considered to be "at risk" was issued on 19 September 1989, prior to the commencement of the normal vaccination programme in October 1989. When during the last few days the recorded incidence of influenza cases showed a considerable increase over the corresponding figures recorded during 1988, manufacturers were contacted immediately to negotiate further supplies of the vaccine.


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