|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mr. Scott : Two repetitive strain injuries are listed in the schedule of prescribed industrial diseases :
Prescribed Disease A4 : Cramp of the hand or forearm due to repetitive movements.
Prescribed Disease A8 : Traumatic inflammation of the tendons of the hand or forearm or of the associated tendon sheaths. Benefit can also be paid for carpal syndrome if it occurs as a result of prescribed disease A8.
Ms. Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many people will be affected by the abolition of earnings-related additions to invalidity pension ;
(2) how much money will be saved in the first year by the abolition of earnings-related additions to invalidity pension.
Mr. Scott : I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on 19 January at columns 484-85.
Ms. Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many people will be affected by the abolition of reduced earnings allowances in the industrial benefit scheme ;
(2) how much money will be saved in the first year by the abolition of reduced earnings allowances in the industrial benefit scheme.
Mr. Scott : An estimated 14,400 new claimants a year will be affected by the abolition of reduced earnings allowance, which will result in a reduction in expenditure of about £1 million in 1990-91.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what regulations govern the administration and use of the pocket money element in the board-and-lodging allowance ;
(2) what steps his Department has taken to ensure the pocket money allowance in the board-and-lodging allowance is not used to top up fees paid to private residential establishments.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Applicable amounts payable for persons in independent residential care and nursing homes are prescribed by the Income Support (General) Regulations 1987, as amended. They include an amount in respect of personal expenses which is at present £10.05 each week. The regulations do not prescribe how that allowance is to be used, as this is a matter for the claimant.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether there have been any changes to the cash limit or running costs limit of his Department for 1989-90.
Mr. Scott : The cash limit for class XV, vote 7 will be reduced by £426,000 from £1,595,118,000 to £1,594,692,000, and the running costs limit for the Department by £170,000 from £1,736,531,000 to £1,736, 361,000. These reductions reflect the following changes.
The transfer of £25,000 from the Cabinet Office : Office of the Minister for the Civil Service (class XX, vote 1) is in respect of the challenge funding scheme for senior management development training, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Privy Council Office. This increase in running costs is offset by the transfer of £195,000 to the Department of Health and Social Security (Northern Ireland) for the running costs of the Belfast social security centre. There will be a corresponding increase on Department of Health and Social Security (Northern Ireland) vote 3, administration and miscellaneous services.
An increase of £244,000 in the agency payment to Department of Employment to meet an increase in the costs of administering the unemployment benefit service. A corresponding amount will be appropriated in aid of class VII, vote 2. This increase in current expenditure will be offset by the transfer of £500,000 to the Department of Health and Social Security (Northern Ireland), in respect of capital improvements to the store for paid orders at Lisahally. There will be a corresponding increase on Department of Health and Social Security (Northern Ireland) vote 3, administration and miscellaneous services.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many studies or reports have been commissioned from commercial consultants since June 1987 ; what has been the cost ; what proportion of the studies or reports has been put out to tender ; what is the value of those tendered ; what proportion of the studies or reports has been commissioned from Arthur Andersen ; and what is the value of those commissioned from Arthur Andersen.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard [holding answer 29 January 1990] : The number of studies or reports commissioned
Column 122from commercial consultants by the Department since June 1987 is 90, at a total cost of £3,529,844. The proportion of the studies put out to tender was 33 per cent. and their value was £1,066,482. The proportion of the studies or reports commissioned from Arthur Andersen was 8.9 per cent., and their value was £976,316.
Mr Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which local authorities have received and processed the most applications for transitional payments as a percentage of housing benefit payments they make.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard [holding answer 14 December 1989] : Applications for housing benefit transitional payments were received and processed at the transitional payments unit in Glasgow. The 20 local authority areas from which the largest number of applications were received expressed as a percentage of estimated housing benefit caseload is as follows :
|Per cent. --------------------------------------------- Monklands |41 Hamilton |35 East Kilbride |33 Motherwell |32 Glasgow |32 Waltham Forest |31 Inverclyde |30 South Tyneside |30 Ipswich |28 East Staffordshire |28 Bromsgrove |25 City of London |25 Cumbernauld |25 Irvine (DC) |25 Daventry |25 Cumnock and Doon |24 Wychavon |23 Warrington |23 Newham |22 Source: 1. Estimate of housing benefit caseload using local authorities management information system returns for 1988-89. 2. Transitional payments unit statistical data.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council which Minister is responsible for reviewing the operation of the system of signifying or withholding Queen's Consent in relation to particular Bills and of advice relating to the use of the Royal Prerogative.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : Requests to Her Majesty for the grant of her consent to either House debating a Public Bill affecting her interest or prerogative are put forward by the Minister responsible for the subject to which the Bill relates. Amendment of the present arrangements would require a decision of Parliament. There is, of course, at present no question of a review of the need for consent. If the question arose, the matter of which Minister would be responsible for promoting such a proposal would be one for the Government of the day to decide.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Lord President of the Council whether permission was given by the Services Committee to British Telecom engineers on 15 January, for their equipment to be placed in the parking area reserved for disabled drivers at Norman Shaw North building ; and if he will take steps to ensure that there is no recurrence of this in the future.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : British Telecom's London network organisation should not have placed this equipment in the parking area reserved for disabled drivers in the area of the Norman Shaw buildings earlier this month. Steps have been taken to ensure that the correct procedures are adhered to in future.
Sir Dudley Smith : To ask the Lord President of the Council why all but one of the copying machines in Norman Shaw North are switched off at night while the House is sitting and hon. Members are still working ; and if he will seek to rectify this position.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : The copying machine on the ground floor of Norman Shaw North is left on until the rising of the House, on sitting Mondays to Thursdays. All the remainder are switched off at 9 pm, in accordance with the guidance for the use of these machines issued by the Services Committee which takes account of fire regulations and supervision requirements. If the hon. Member wishes to suggest changes to the hours of operation of copying machines, he should in the first instance raise the matter with the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee.
Q47. Mr. Ron Brown : To ask the Prime Minister what steps she has taken to help free British hostages in the middle east ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : The plight of the British hostages in Lebanon is high among our concerns. We have raised the matter with a wide range of Governments and organisations who might have influence on the hostage holders. Her Majesty's ambassador in Beirut, in a difficult and dangerous environment, follows up every lead. We will continue to make every possible effort on behalf of the hostages.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the report commissioned by the EEC on the impact of the 1992 proposals on jobs in the United Kingdom ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : I am always interested in any developments which affect jobs in the United Kingdom and will not hesitate to discuss them at the European Council, if this is appropriate. The single European market is a major opportunity for the United Kingdom. The impact on employment in the United Kingdom depends crucially on the responses of United Kingdom firms to this opportunity.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 30 January.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 30 January.
Mr. John P. Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 30 January.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 30 January.
The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what authorisations have been sought from Her Majesty's Government by potential authors of a biography of the late Sir Maurice Oldfield ; and what Her Majesty's Government's response has been.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 29 January 1990] : No such authorisation has been sought.
Mr. Rowlands : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money has been paid to the Medicines Control Agency in fees for product licences in 1987, 1988 and 1989 ; and how many applications for which fees have been paid remain outstanding.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Product licence application fees collected for fees years were
|£ ------------------------ 1986-87 |354,143 1987-88 |252,495 1988-89 |738,425
The total number of outstanding product licence applications as at 31 December 1989 was as follows :
|Number -------------------------------------------------- Product Licences |1,867 Product Licences (Parallel Imports) |991
No information is available on the numbers of applications outstanding for which fees have been paid but the application fee becomes due at the time the application is made.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if Bourn hall, Bourn, Cambridge has a licence to perform abortions under the Abortion Act 1967.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent guidance he has issued on the
Column 125application of the Abortion Act 1967 in those circumstances in which medical personnel fit intra-uterine devices with the intention of causing pregnancies to abort during their early hours ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The handbook on contraceptive practice, a copy of which is available in the Library, last published in 1984 and shortly to be reissued, describes the mode of action of post-coital contraceptives, including intra-uterine devices. The Department's policy on these matters is based on advice given to the Department about the legal position under the Abortion Act 1967 ; the interpretation of the law in any particular case is, of course, a matter for the courts.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will consult with voluntary organisations in drawing up his code of guidance to local authorities on the proposed assessment procedures outlined in "Caring for People" ;
(2) if, in his code of guidance to local authorities on the proposed assessment procedures outlined in "Caring for People" he will direct local authorities to consult local voluntary organisations and representatives of disabled people and carers when determining their own assessment procedures.
(3) if, in his code of guidance to local authorities on the proposed assessment procedures outlined in "Caring for People" he will advise that carers should have a right to ask for an assessment of their needs ;
(4) whether he will involve voluntary organisations experienced in the field in his discussions on the training needs of those involved in the proposed assessment procedures outlined in "Caring for People".
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Department has in hand a programme to develop guidance for local authorities. Voluntary and professional organisations will be consulted during the preparation of this guidance. In the course of preparing the guidance we shall be considering what advice to give authorities on local consultation and the training needs of those carrying out assessments. Under our community care proposals, carers will be able to ask that their own care needs should be considered as well as those of the person they are caring for.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will issue advice to local authorities on the insurance implications for voluntary organisations and bodies providing services involving lifting and bathing in poorly equipped homes.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Problems involving insurance in such situations have not been brought to our attention. Consequently, we have no plans at present to issue guidance to local authorities on this subject.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the private hospitals in England and Wales and the amount of financial assistance they receive from public funds.
Mr. Freeman : Health authorities have power to award grants or loans to voluntary and charitable organisations,
Column 126but the extent to which they do so is for local decision and information is not collected centrally. Information for Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list by regional health authority what health education is offered to schools explaining the call/recall system of cervical cytology screening.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Information by regional health authority is not held centrally. I understand that a health education task group under the auspices of the National Curriculum Council is considering the content of health education in schools.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on guidance issued by the United States Food and Drugs Administration to doctors on the recommended dosage of the anti-AIDS drug Retrovir (AZT) ; and whether he has any plans to issue guidance to doctors in the United Kingdom.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We are aware of reports indicating that the United States Food and Drug Administration has recently announced labelling changes for Retrovir involving a lowering of the recommended daily dose approved for administration in that country. Any changes to the licensed indication of drugs marketed in the United Kingdom must be approved by the licensing authority on grounds of safety, quality and efficacy seeking, where necessary, the advice of the Committee on Safety of Medicines. Doctors already have extensive information on the currently licensed product from a wide variety of sources, and we have no plans at present to issue further guidance.
Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he is putting forward in respect of the control and monitoring by his Department of private sector providers of care.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Local authorities will provide an arms length inspection and monitoring unit for a variety of provision, whether in the public or private sector. Social service departments will also through their contracts with providers, specify monitoring mechanisms. The Department will examine community care plans and monitor progress towards meeting service objectives. Health authorities will continue to have responsibility for registration and inspection of private nursing home care.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list by location, where creche facilities are provided for working mothers employed in his Department ; and if they have to make any payment for this service.
Mr. Freeman : No nursery facilities are at present provided for parents employed in the Department. We are undertaking a feasibility study into the provision of such
Column 127facilities, and we are contributing to a study into
interdepartmental provision being co-ordinated by the office of the Minister for the Civil Service. In addition we run holiday play schemes financed by parental and departmental contributions for children aged between five and 11 years.
Mr. Boswell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the cost of the National Health Service travel cost scheme in each of the last three years ; and what steps he will take to increase public knowledge and take-up.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Summarised accounts of health authorities in England show the following expenditure, for the last three years, in respect of fares paid to patients travelling to and from hospital for NHS treatment :
Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1986-87 |3.037 1987-88 |3.263 1988-89 |3.265
These figures do not indicate NHS administration costs. We are currently considering measures to increase public awareness of the hospital travel costs scheme.
Mr. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health who will represent his Department at the EC's Council of Health Ministers meeting on 19 April ; and what the agenda will be.
Mr. Freeman : No firm date has yet been fixed for the EC Council of Health Ministers meeting. It is likely that the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Health, Lady Hooper, who has responsibility for international health matters, will attend. The agenda for the meeting will be decided by the Irish presidency in cooperation with the European Commission. Details of the items to be raised have not yet been notified to us.
Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department intends to ask family practitioner committees to review the prescribing performances of those doctors who consistently under -prescribe medicines for their patients, compared to the average, in the same way as doctors who are deemed to be over-prescribing will be subject to peer review.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : It is our intention that family practitioner committees, which will have medically qualified advisers on prescribing, should consider the possibility of under-prescribing which would be injurious to patients and raise any such cases with the practice concerned.
Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department is proposing to publish a further working paper on the implementation of indicative drug budgets.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We propose to issue a further working paper on the implementation of indicative drug budgets within the next few weeks.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has concerning the link between slimming aids and anorexia and bulimia ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : The Department knows of no research which directly links slimming aids to anorexia or bulimia.
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health why the haemophiliac sufferers contaminated with the HIV virus have not yet received the capital sum promised them via the Macfarlane Trust ; and when he expects the payments to be made.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [ pursuant to her reply, 26 January 1990, c. 921 ] : The arrangements for paying the ex-gratia sums have now been completed. In co-operation with the trustees of the Macfarlane Trust, a new discretionary trust called the Macfarlane (Special Payments) Trust has been set up to administer the payments. It is expected that payments will begin tomorrow.
Mr. Terry Fields : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will institute an inquiry into the arbitrary removal of the Dennis family from a doctor's list in the Old Swan health centre and the Cole family from a doctor's list in the Edge Hill health centre, both in Broadgreen, Liverpool ; if he will ascertain the reasons for these removals ; what redress is available to the families ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 29 January 1990] : The administration of the contract of service of general medical practitioners is a matter for the local family practitioner committee, in this case the Liverpool FPC, Refuge Assurance house, Lord street, Liverpool L2 1UT. It is, however, permissible for a practitioner to remove patients from his or her list and reasons do not have to be given. Similarly, patients may leave the list of a practitioner without giving reasons.
As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State made clear on 23 January at columns 728-29, we should view with concern any evidence that doctors were acting unreasonably or under a mistaken interpretation of the terms of the new contract. If any family are unable to find a doctor of their choice, they should ask the FPC (which has a duty so to do) to allocate them to a doctor's list.
Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the criteria used by the chief inspector of air accidents in determining whether or not an investigation into an incident or accident shall be carried out.
Column 129Mr. McLoughlin : The air accidents investigation branch's main task is to investigate reportable accidents, which are those involving serious injury or significant aircraft damage. Each reportable accident is inquired into by means of a formal investigation, a field investigation, or a form to the pilot or operator with follow up inquiries as appropriate.
Incidents, including air misses, are reportable to the Civil Aviation Authority and dealt with by it. However, the chief inspector of air accidents has the power to investigate incidents and does investigate serious incidents to public transport aircraft from time to time. A serious incident is defined as one which good fortune narrowly prevented from being a major accident.
Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what were the contents of the mandatory occurrence report filed with the Civil Aviation Authority by the captain of a British Midland Airways aircraft en route from London to Belfast on Saturday 11 November 1989.
Mr. McLoughlin : The pilot reported that at 2028 GMT and whilst descending on airway blue 3 into Belfast following a scheduled flight from Heathrow, as the aircraft passed through 11,200 feet at a position three nautical miles east of Kirkistown, the crew witnessed a ball of light pass overhead the aircraft heading due west. It descended to a position on the port beam where it appeared to burst into a cascade of white and blue magnesium lights. At the time, the aircraft was between two layers of stratus cloud less than 3,000 feet apart. Another aircraft in the vicinity witnessed the light, and it was reported to Belfast air traffic control.
I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 18 December 1989 to his earlier question on this matter at column 3.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to the arrangements that exist at Liverpool airport for conducting rescue operations in the event of an aircraft ditching in the Mersey at high tide.
Mr. McLoughlin : This is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority, which has the statutory responsibility for the licensing of Liverpool airport.
I have drawn the hon. Member's question to the attention of the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and will ask him to write to the hon. Member direct.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any information on the number of accidents involving a newly qualified driver supervising a learner driver.
Mr. Atkins : The police records of accidents, on which national statistics are based, do not include information on the qualifications of supervising drivers. However, I have received a number of letters about accidents which have occurred in these circumstances.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he has received any representations from the motoring organisations regarding the supervision of learner drivers by recently qualified drivers ; and if he will make a statement ;
Column 130(2) if he will make a statement on the progress of his plans to introduce a minimum experience qualification for newly qualified drivers who wish to supervise learner drivers.