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Mr. Jack : Courts already have at their disposal tough maximum penalties for violent crimes against women, as against any victim : life imprisonment is mandatory for murder and is the maximum penalty for manslaughter, rape and the most serious woundings. Indecent assault carries up to 10 years' imprisonment. Within these maxima, it is for the courts alone to determine the most appropriate sentences in individual cases in the light of all the available information about the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the offender.

Under the Criminal Justice Act 1991, which came into force on 1 October 1991, the courts now have enhanced powers to sentence violent and sexual offenders ; within the statutory maxima, courts may pass longer custodial sentences than would be commensurate with the seriousness of the offence, if it is necessary to protect the public from serious harm.


Column 798

Police Complaints

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 4 December, Official Report , column 412 , if he will list the cases in which out of court settlements or court awards were made in civil actions against the police between 1988 and November 1992 ; and what disciplinary or other action was taken in each case against the police officer involved.

Mr. Charles Wardle : I will write to the hon. Member.

Refugees

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total number of refugees from the former Yugoslavia who have been granted entry into Britain in the past 12 months ; and what plans he has to increase the number of refugees who will be granted refuge in Britain.

Mr. Charles Wardle : In 1992, a total of about 5,600 nationals of the former Yugoslavia, excluding dependants, applied for asylum in the United Kingdom. The large majority of these applications are still under consideration and the applicants are being allowed to stay in the meantime.

In addition, as I announced to the House on 30 November 1992, we are willing to accept 1,000 ex-detainees from Bosnia and other parts of the former Yugoslavia, together with their dependants, totalling perhaps 4,000 in all. The first group of these ex-detainees have already arrived.

Indictable Offences

Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will list the number of persons found guilty of, or cautioned for, indictable offences, showing those cautioned as a percentage of all found guilty or cautioned for each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Jack : Information on persons cautioned and found guilty of indictable offences is published annually in the Command Paper "Criminal statistics, England and Wales". Tables 5.3 and 5.11 of the 1990 publication give the requested data back to 1980. The 1991 volume will be published in February 1993. Table 1 of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin issue 30/92 "Cautions, Court Proceedings and Sentencing, England and Wales, 1991" gives estimated data for that year. Copies of these publications are available in the Library.

Charities

Sir Peter Emery : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the support given by the Government to voluntary and charitable organisations in 1992-93 ; and to how many charities this support was given.

Mr. Jack : The information for 1992-93 is not yet available. Details of Government support for the voluntary sector during the last year for which information is available, 1990-91, were given in the reply to a question from the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Sims) on 16 July 1992, cols 868-69.


Column 799

Prison Education

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a further statement on prison education.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Lloyd) on 8 December, col. 555.

Kent county council has since been granted leave to apply for judicial review of decisions that were taken related to the competitive tendering of prison education. The action is due to be heard in the High Court next month. To avoid prejudicing the outcome of these proceedings and to ensure continuity of education provision in prisons, after 1 April 1993, the prison service has today written to local education authorities and colleges and institutions of further education which currently provide education in prisons. The letter invites them to continue to provide education services in prison establishments on the present basis of remuneration until 31 August 1993, by when the current action and any related legal proceedings should have been resolved.

It remains the Government's intention to ensure quality and value for money in the future provision of prison education through competition and to let contracts on this basis as soon as is practicable. Accordingly, if local education authorities and colleges and institutions of further education are either unwilling or unable to continue to provide these services on the present terms until 31 August 1993, contracts will be let on the basis of the current competition from 1 April 1993. Otherwise, and subject, of course, to the outcome of the hearing, it is the intention to let such contracts from 1 September 1993.

Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 11 January, Official Report, column 597, if he will list the 30 private sector organisations which have bid to provide prison education services in 1993-94.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. I do not believe it is right to provide individual details of the tenderers bidding to provide future educational services to prison establishments in England and Wales while the competition is still running and decisions on the placing of contracts have yet to be taken. It could commercially disadvantage the Home Office in its negotiations and there is no expectation or understanding on the part of tenderers that the information should be made public.

Channel Islands (Wartime Occupation)

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 30 November 1992, Official Report , columns 7-8 , what account he took, during his review concerning the wartime occupation of the Channel Islands, of the documents held by the authorities in Jersey ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : None. The Jersey records are not subject to the United Kingdom Public Records Acts and do not come within my responsibilities. Any decision relating to them is wholly a matter for the Jersey authorities.


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EC Border Controls

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what documents or means of identification have to be shown to immigration officers at British ports of embarkation by travellers to another member state of the European Community ; and for what reasons.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The Immigration Act 1971 provides that an immigration officer may require any passenger on embarkation to produce a passport or some other document satisfactorily establishing his identity and nationality or citizenship.

My right hon. and learned Friend is considering the extent to which this power should be exercised in future in relation to travellers to other EC member states.

Race Relations

Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many jobs section 11 funding is supporting in England and Wales currently ; and what were the figures for 1992 and in 1991.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Under new projects approved for funding from 1 April 1992, a total of 10,118 posts, in full-time equivalent terms, attract grant support under section 11. A final figure for 1991-92 is not yet available, but it is estimated that 10,425 approved posts were funded. In 1990-91, 9,662 approved posts were funded.

Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inner city projects in England and Wales are being supported by section 11 funding this year ; and what were the corresponding figures for 1992 and 1991.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information is not available in the form requested. A project format for section 11 funding was introduced under new administrative arrangements for the grant which came into effect on 1 April 1992. The grant currently supports approximately 870 projects in England and Wales. Very many of these projects relate to activities throughout authorities' areas, both rural and urban.

Tyre Dumps

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many tyre dumps in the United Kingdom are classified as major hazard sites ; what specific precautions have been taken against fire at such dumps ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what contingency plans have been prepared for any serious fires at major tyre dumps occurring in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : It is the duty of each fire authority to make provision for fire-fighting purposes in its area and to ensure that its fire brigade has adequate and efficient fire cover arrangements. These would include contingency plans for all significant fire risks. Those inherent in major tyre dumps, for which the fire service has available special techniques, would typically include arrangements for liaison with the other emergency services and for the evacuation of the area if necessary.

Following two recent tyre dump fires in Canada and Wales, guidance on the storage of tyres in the open air is


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being revised. No tyre dumps are covered by the CIMAH--Control of Industrial Major Accident Hazards--Regulations or the

NIHHS--Notification of Installations Handling Hazardous

Substances--Regulations.

From 1 April 1993, all tyre storage in the open air becomes subject to the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This will require the occupier or operator of the tyre storage facility to make an application for a licence, under section 30 of the Act to the Local Waste Regulation Authority.

Merseyside Fire and Civil Defence Authority

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the Merseyside fire and civil defence authority in respect of its difficulties in fulfilling its statutory duties ; what his response has been ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The chairman of the Merseyside fire and civil defence authority wrote to my right hon. and learned Friend on 30 December about the authority's difficulty in complying with the nationally recommended minimum standards of fire cover in two specific areas. I shall write to the chairman as soon as possible.

Pescado

Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the Devon and Cornwall police to raise the fishing vessel Pescado ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The salvage company which has been contracted to raise the Pescado on behalf of the Devon and Cornwall constabulary, is monitoring the weather closely and awaits favourable wind and sea conditions for undertaking the salvage operation.

The chief constable is responsible for the police investigation into the sinking of the Pescado and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the investigation while it is continuing.

Inner Cities

Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of self-help employment, social and training projects in inner city areas were supported by section 11, urban programme funds or both in the last five years.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information is not available in the form requested.

HEALTH

AIDS

Mr. Dowd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) on what date the London borough of Bromley applied for AIDS support grant for the current financial year ; and what efforts have been made by her Department to urge Bromley to apply for it ;

(2) what amount of AIDS support grant was allocated to each local authority in each year since 1990-91 :

(3) what extra costs she estimates to have been incurred by neighbouring boroughs obliged to deal with HIV/AIDS


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cases turned away by Bromley social services department ; and what steps she proposes to take to recompense the neighbouring boroughs ; (4) by what date London boroughs should apply for the AIDS support grant for 1993-94 ; and what steps she will take to ensure that the London borough of Bromley applies for the grant on time ; (5) how many people in each London borough have died from AIDS : (6) how many cases of HIV have been reported in the borough of Bromley in each year for which figures are available.

Mr. Sackville : In December 1991 the Department issued a circular (LAC(91)22) inviting all social services departments in England to bid for extra resources for HIV and AIDS services in 1992-93 under the AIDS support grant scheme. Criteria for bids under this scheme are set out in the circular. Copies are available in the Library. The closing date for bids was 7 February 1992. The London borough of Bromley submitted an application in November 1992 although not in the form and detail set out in departmental guidance. By that time AIDS support grant moneys had been fully committed. The Department was, therefore, unable to allow Bromley's bid to proceed. Although not in receipt of AIDS support grant money in 1992 -93, we understand that the London borough of Bromley plans to spend £15,000 on HIV and AIDS services in the current year. We have no information to suggest that the borough has been compelled to turn away people affected by HIV.

For 1992-93 local authority social services departments will again be invited to apply for an AIDS support grant allocation. The closing date for applications will be 8 February 1993. It will, of course, be open to the London borough of Bromley to bid for funds under this scheme.

Information on the number of HIV and AIDS cases reported in individual boroughs and of deaths is not held centrally.

The table shows the AIDS support grant allocations which have been awarded since 1990-91 :


Allocations for Individual Authorities                                                         

Authority          |1990-91 Allocation|1991-92 Allocation|1992-93 Allocation                   

                   |£                 |£                 |£                                    

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

Former A's                                                                                     

Camden             |471,000           |489,840           |730,000                              

Hammersmith        |1,003,359         |1,042,000         |1,300,000                            

Kensington         |627,500           |652,600           |970,000                              

Lambeth            |551,000           |573,040           |930,000                              

Westminster        |625,000           |650,000           |940,000                              

                                                                                               

Former B's                                                                                     

Avon               |127,500           |132,600           |200,000                              

Birmingham         |194,700           |202,488           |300,000                              

Brent              |290,000           |290,000           |400,000                              

Ealing             |250,000           |260,000           |290,000                              

East Sussex        |317,500           |263,690           |400,000                              

Greenwich          |136,280           |136,280           |190,000                              

Hackney            |322,500           |335,400           |460,000                              

Hampshire          |106,250           |110,500           |140,000                              

Haringey           |357,500           |371,800           |500,000                              

Hounslow           |231,250           |240,500           |320,000                              

Islington          |235,000           |244,400           |360,000                              

Leeds              |234,801           |244,193           |271,000                              

Leicestershire     |86,084            |89,527            |115,000                              

Lewisham           |163,750           |170,300           |240,000                              

Liverpool          |263,000           |253,000           |276,000                              

Manchester         |486,250           |510,000           |709,000                              

Newcastle          |130,000           |150,000           |223,000                              

Oxfordshire        |156,250           |162,500           |240,000                              

Richmond           |135,000           |140,400           |200,000                              

Southwark          |215,000           |215,000           |300,000                              

Tower Hamlets      |309,000           |321,300           |481,000                              

Wandsworth         |165,122           |120,152           |188,000                              

                                                                                               

Former C's                                                                                     

Barking            |14,000            |17,173            |32,236                               

Barnet             |-                 |26,000            |40,000                               

Barnsley           |25,000            |11,362            |23,150                               

Bedfordshire       |25,000            |25,000            |30,000                               

Berkshire          |25,000            |26,000            |50,000                               

Bexley             |25,000            |26,000            |46,000                               

Bolton             |3,500             |-                 |21,105                               

Bradford           |25,000            |36,000            |200,000                              

Bromley            |8,500             |9,520             |-                                    

Buckinghamshire    |5,950             |17,640            |16,870                               

Bury               |25,000            |26,000            |63,000                               

Calderdale         |25,000            |26,000            |32,915                               

Cambridgeshire     |20,860            |26,000            |41,000                               

Cheshire           |21,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

City of London     |25,000            |26,000            |47,000                               

Cleveland          |17,000            |26,000            |70,000                               

Cornwall           |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Coventry           |25,000            |26,000            |68,000                               

Croydon            |24,500            |30,000            |49,000                               

Cumbria            |17,500            |21,000            |39,000                               

Derbyshire         |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Devon              |12,250            |25,000            |50,000                               

Doncaster          |-                 |6,500             |39,000                               

Dorset             |13,897            |17,252            |26,009                               

Dudley             |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Durham             |35,000            |36,400            |55,000                               

Enfield            |14,938            |16,702            |50,000                               

Essex              |25,000            |35,000            |60,000                               

Gateshead          |16,002            |16,640            |38,500                               

Gloucestershire    |25,000            |26,000            |43,000                               

Harrow             |25,000            |26,000            |42,000                               

Havering           |-                 |-                 |-                                    

Hereford           |25,000            |26,000            |43,000                               

Hertfordshire      |25,000            |26,000            |36,400                               

Hillingdon         |23,207            |35,000            |120,000                              

Humberside         |40,600            |42,224            |78,000                               

Isle of Wight      |25,000            |26,000            |28,170                               

Kent               |25,000            |30,000            |93,000                               

Kingston           |25,000            |26,000            |64,000                               

Kirklees           |25,000            |26,000            |49,000                               

Knowsley           |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Lancashire         |25,000            |26,000            |27,140                               

Lincolnshire       |22,050            |22,955            |39,000                               

Merton             |14,000            |17,178            |66,000                               

Newham             |72,500            |110,000           |250,000                              

Norfolk            |25,000            |26,000            |27,066                               

Northamptonshire   |25,000            |26,000            |45,000                               

Northumberland     |25,000            |25,000            |31,080                               

North Tyneside     |55,623            |52,732            |67,000                               

North Yorkshire    |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Nottinghamshire    |17,003            |26,000            |60,000                               

Oldham             |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Redbridge          |18,602            |19,675            |15,374                               

Rochdale           |25,000            |26,000            |30,436                               

Rotherham          |24,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Salford            |25,000            |26,000            |32,492                               

Sandwell           |-                 |26,000            |32,564                               

Sefton             |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Sheffield          |25,000            |26,000            |107,000                              

Shropshire         |25,000            |26,000            |130,000                              

Solihull           |4,690             |-                 |-                                    

Somerset           |25,000            |26,000            |30,800                               

South Tyneside     |39,613            |41,198            |56,000                               

Staffordshire      |24,860            |26,000            |39,000                               

St. Helens         |18,750            |20,365            |29,675                               

Stockport          |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Suffolk            |-                 |-                 |-                                    

Sunderland         |23,236            |23,520            |60,000                               

Surrey             |25,000            |25,000            |39,000                               

Sutton             |22,260            |30,000            |57,000                               

Tameside           |25,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Trafford           |17,737            |26,000            |39,000                               

Wakefield          |25,000            |26,000            |50,000                               

Walsall            |25,000            |26,000            |50,000                               

Waltham Forest     |70,000            |90,000            |135,000                              

Warwickshire       |24,570            |25,520            |33,860                               

West Sussex        |17,500            |18,200            |23,370                               

Wigan              |25,000            |24,290            |26,180                               

Wiltshire          |24,000            |26,000            |39,000                               

Wirral             |-                 |22,500            |39,000                               

Wolverhampton      |14,700            |13,050            |15,727                               

Computerisation

Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is taking to ensure value for money from investment in the computerisation of the NHS.

Mr. Sackville : A national health service strategy for information management and technology was launched on 10 December. It included : new criteria for approving all substantial IT investments. Investments of £1 million or more will be scrutinised by the management executive and not approved unless the criteria are met ; new procurement procedures to secure compliance with national standards to ensure compatibility of systems across the whole NHS ; and a requirement for general practitioner systems to comply with national requirements as a condition of the GP systems reimbursement scheme.

Sellafield (Cancer)

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice she has received from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment on the study by Draper et al. published on 9 January about the incidence of cancer in young people living in the vicinity of Sellafield.

Mr. Sackville : The Government welcome publication of this study. It was commissioned by the Department at the request of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment following an earlier report which concluded that there was a higher than expected incidence of leukaemia in young people living in the vicinity of Sellafield over the period 1953 to 1983. This latest study's main finding was that the incidence of cancer in the age group 0 to 24 years in the village of Seascale has continued to be higher than expected when compared with national experience and that for the whole period 1953 to 1990 this was unlikely to have arisen by chance.

The Government are grateful to COMARE for its advice. In summary, the committee accepts the study findings while acknowledging that studies of this type cannot determine the cause of the raised incidence of cancer in young people in Seascale. The committee also considers that the level of concern raised by the earlier report is maintained by this study. COMARE notes that appropriate studies commissioned by the Government to elucidate the position are proceeding. These studies comprise epidemiological, dosimetric and laboratory-based research programmes which COMARE will wish to consider alongside this latest study as part of their current


Column 805

review of the situation around Sellafield. The Government look forward to receiving COMARE's full report on cancer incidence in the vicinity of Sellafield.

Following is the full text of COMARE's advice :

COMARE statement on Sellafield epidemiology study

1. In September 1989 the Department of Health requested COMARE to review the epidemiological data concerning cancer in the vicinity of Sellafield. At COMARE's request the Department of Health commissioned a study from a group of United Kingdom independent experts including Dr. Gerald Draper, Professors Cartwright and Craft. The results of the study (Draper et al BMJ reference ) have now been published and considered by COMARE.

2. The Report of an Independent Advisory Group, under the Chairmanship of Sir Douglas Black, had previously investigated the incidence of cancer in West Cumbria in the period 1953 to 1983. Draper et al review this earlier period and extends it to the end of 1990. They have considered, in particular, leukaemia and other cancers occurring at ages 0-24 years including four patients in this age range with cancer being diagnosed between 1984 and 1990. One Seascale resident is known to have developed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 1991, which is too recent for analysis in the current study.

3. Draper et al report that the incidence of cancer arising in the age group 0-24 years in the village of Seascale has continued to be higher than the level expected on the basis of experience in the rest of the United Kingdom. Assessing the whole period from 1953 to 1990, the authors conclude that the pattern of cancer incidence in Seascale is very unlikely to have arisen by chance, although this possibility cannot be entirely excluded.

4. Analysis of information for the surrounding districts of Copeland and Allerdale, or for the rest of Cumbria, does not show an excess cancer incidence.

5. COMARE welcomed the study and has accepted its findings. In comparing the information from the period 1953 to 1983 with 1984 to 1990, the Committee noted that the four new cases identified were : two patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, one patient with Hodgkin's disease, and one patient with pinealoma. There were no additional cases of lymphoid leukaemia in the latter period although this was the most frequent type of cancer among the cases in the earlier report. The Committee also noted :

(i) lymphoid leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma occurring in childhood should be considered as a continuous spectrum of disease and therefore agreed that it was appropriate to combine them in the analyses.

(ii) there is no body of medical data to suggest that Hodgkin's disease or pinealoma can be caused by radiation.

6. COMARE wish to include these new findings as part of their current review of the incidence of cancer in young people in the vicinity of Sellafield. The Committee considers that the level of concern raised by Sir Douglas Black's report is maintained by the new information provided by Draper et al. The Committee acknowledge that studies of this type cannot directly address the problem of determining the cause of the raised cancer incidence in Seascale, which remains unknown. The Committee is aware of the current hypotheses which have been made regarding the causation of these cancers and note that appropriate studies to address the issues are proceeding.

Community Care

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the full cost to her Department of correcting the calculation for the community care special transitional grant indicative allocations to individual local authorities ; and what is her estimate of the cost to local authorities of adjusting their budgetary calculations in the light of these corrections.

Mr. Yeo : The cost was minimal. It is routine practice to issue proposed allocations to allow authorities to check and, if they wish, to query the figures. In this case, a revised


Column 806

circular notifying authorities of their revised allocations was issued less than two weeks after the first. A further circular would in any event have had to be issued detailing the distribution of the additional allocation of £26.8 million for authorities' additional responsibilities for severely disabled people following the closure of the independent living fund. The revised circular was able to include this and therefore give full figures for the special transitional grant.

DES

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representatives she has received from the daughters of the women who took the drug DES during their pregnancy ; what plans she has to assist them with compensation ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : We have received a few representations, including some from DES Action UK, about the potential effects of Diethylstilbestrol. If an individual feels that she or he had been harmed through the mother's use of DES, they may seek legal advice on the nature of any remedy which may be open to them. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) on 12 January, column 699 .

Dental Treatment

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list for each month in the period from July 1991 to July 1992 the number of applications to dental practice boards for approval of dental treatment above the £600 limit.

Dr. Mawhinney : The information requested is shown in the table.


General dental services   

Number of applications    

for prior approval        

1 July 1991 to 7 July     

1992                      

England and Wales         

            |Number       

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

1991                      

  July      |6,583        

  August    |5,308        

  September |4,437        

  October   |5,746        

  November  |4,717        

  December                

                          

1992                      

  January   |5,037        

  February  |4,551        

  March     |4,528        

  April     |4,408        

  May       |3,907        

  June      |4,323        

  July<1>   |902          

<1> 1 to 7 July.          

Note:                     

The prior approval by     

volume limit was set at   

£600 from 1 July 1991 to  

7 July 1992 and reduced   

to £200 with effect from  

8 July 1992. The figures  

show all applications for 

prior approval, including 

those made for reasons    

other than a cost in      

excess of £600.           

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list for each month in the period from July to December 1992 the number of applications to dental practice boards for approval of dental treatment above the £200 limit ; and if she will make a statement.


Column 807

Dr. Mawhinney : The information requested is shown in the table.


General Dental Services      

Number of Applications for   

Prior Approval:              

8 July 1992 to 31 December   

1992                         

England and Wales            

1992                         

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

July (8 to 31) |5,476        

August         |10,624       

September      |17,765       

October        |24,609       

November       |24,069       

December       |23,591       

Note: The figures show all   

applications for prior       

approval, including those    

made for reasons other than  

a cost in excess of £200.    

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she intends to publish the Bloomfield report of the review of dental remuneration ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will inform Members of the content of Sir Kenneth Bloomfield's report shortly.

West Midlands RHA

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list all of the investigations presently being carried out in relation to the West Midlands regional health authority ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : The Department of Health and the statutory auditor are currently investigating loans made by West Midlands regional health authority to a charitable company, Health Management Trust, to assist a subsidiary company, FIP Ltd. I am also aware that the auditor is conducting a review of West Midlands regional health authority's management of Healthtrac and the management buy-out of the management services information division by Qa Business Services.

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish details of the section 20(3) report issued recently in relation to the West Midlands regional health authority by the district auditor ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : We will consider publication when our inquiries into the specific points raised by the report are complete.

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to improve the management of the West Midlands regional health authority ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : Our priorities for the west midlands, which are shared with the West Midlands regional health authority, are to improve the health of the local population and to ensure that services are efficient and effective, underpinned by managerial and financial systems of the highest possible standards. Important changes have taken place in recent weeks to improve the management of the regional organisation, and I am confident that Sir Donald Wilson, the new regional chairman, will provide a strong lead on the challenging agenda ahead.


Column 808

Patient Numbers

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to review the use of completed consultant episodes to measure patient throughput ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : We have no plans to do so at present.

Regional Returns

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to publish information from the quarterly monitoring returns from the regions ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : These are management returns which were instituted in 1991-92 and which are still under development. There are no plans at present to publish the results on a regular basis.

Patient Numbers

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish a table showing (i) the number of acute in-patient completed consultant episodes for the first six months of 1991-92 and the first six months of 1992-93 and (ii) the number of day cases also dealt with over these two periods.

Mr. Sackville : The total number of general and acute ordinary admissions and day cases purchased by the national health service in England, and the number of those which were day cases in the two periods, are shown in the table.


                        |1991-92      |1992-93                    

                        |(provisional)                            

                        |000's                                    

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

Ordinary Admissions and                                           

   Day Cases            |3,520        |3,740                      

  Of which: Day Cases   |659          |818                        

Note: Day cases are defined as acute elective admissions using a  

bed but not requiring an overnight stay.                          

London Health Care

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 6 November 1992, Official Report , column 450 , if she will now list the members of the implementation group for Tomlinson on the future of London's health care ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : We shall publish membership of the London implementation group when we announce our detailed proposals for change in London's health services.

Nicotine Patches

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance her Department has issued on the use of nicotine patches ; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : The Department has issued no guidance on the use of nicotine patches, but guidance for the user can be found in the patient information leaflet provided with the patches.


Column 809

Female Circumcision

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is taking to ensure that the law relating to female circumcision is monitored and enforced ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : We are determined to eradicate this abhorrent practice. The Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 makes it an offence to carry out any of the procedures which are known as female circumcision, but which are more accurately described as female genital mutilation. The Act also makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of these procedures. Further legal protection is provided by the Children Act 1989.

In October 1991 we issued guidance entitled "Working Together Under the Children Act 1989" to all local authorities, health authorities, the police, the probation service, schools, doctors and a wide range of voluntary organisations working in the child care field. This guidance contained advice on the 1985 Act and on dealing with FGM. We provide funding for FORWARD--the foundation for Women's Health and Development, which works to educate the relevant communities and the professionals concerned about FGM.

To date, there have been no prosecutions under the 1985 Act. This may be because it can be difficult to acquire evidence. Any information we receive about specific instances of alleged FGM is sent to the police, and we ask others to do likewise. It is for the police to investigate any such allegations and discuss with the Crown prosecution service how to proceed. When appropriate, we also pass details to the General Medical Council, the local social services department, and the district health authority, if the offence is said to have taken place in a private hospital or clinic registered and inspected by the DHA.


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