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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 1 February 1994

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Fraud

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many employees were judged to be guilty of fraud in his Department in each year since 1989 ; and how many were dismissed.

Mr. John M. Taylor : In 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993 the number of employees convicted of fraud was, respectively, two, one, none, three and three. Of these, six were dismissed by the Department, and three resigned before any internal disciplinary proceedings were taken.

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is his Department's policy for dealing with employees found guilty of fraud.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Employees of the Lord Chancellor's Department who are convicted of fraud will be subject to internal disciplinary proceedings. Although each case will be treated on its own merits, serious fraud is regarded as gross misconduct, and will usually lead to dismissal at the conclusion of the internal disciplinary proceedings.

HEALTH

Regional Health Authorities

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is her estimate of the cost of implementing the regional health authority changes proposed from 1 April 1994.

Dr. Mawhinney : The proposals announced in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's statement on "Managing the New NHS" on 21 October 1993 will streamline national health service central management. It is not possible to estimate the cost of implementing the propoals at this stage. However, the changes will result in substantial savings which will be reinvested in patient care.

Public Relations

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list all the occasions since 1990 on which an external public relations company or consultant was employed by her Department with the name of the company or consultant involved ; and what was the cost of each transaction.

Mr. Sackville : The functions that are identified as public relations are normally carried out by the Department's information division.


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No public relations company or consultant has been directly employed since 1990. During European Drug Prevention Week the organisers sub-contracted a public relations consultant to help produce a video news release. Costs for this cannot be separately identified.

Paintings and Photographs

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has to buy or borrow photographs ; and if she will make a statement ;

(2) how many (a) paintings and (b) photographs there are on the walls of her rooms.

Mr. Sackville : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no plans to acquire any photographs. Four paintings and 11 prints loaned by the Government art collection adorn the walls of her office.

Overseas Adoption Helpline

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many calls have been received by the overseas adoption helpline in each quarter since it was set up ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Bowis : The table lists the number of recorded inquiries received by the overseas adoption helpline since its inception on 11 May 1992.


Year and quarter      |Number of                        

                      |recorded                         

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

1992                                                    

  May to June         |<1>124                           

  July to September   |492                              

  October to December |399                              

1993                                                    

  January to March    |936                              

  April to June       |598                              

  July to September   |528                              

  October to December |566                              

<1> This figure covers a seven week period only.        

Learning Disabilities

Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children in the northern region have been born mentally handicapped in each year since 1989 ; and what was the name of the village or town of each child.

Mr. Bowis : Severe learning disability is not always detectable at birth. The overall prevalence in the United Kingdom of severe learning disability is estimated to be between three and four per 1, 000 population.

Paediatric Consultants

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many paediatric consultants there were in England in each of the last five years.

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


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Hospital paediatric consultants in England as at 30 September each year, in         

whole-time equivalents                                                              

            |Paediatrics|Paediatric |Paediatric |Child and  |Total                  

                        |neurology  |surgery    |adolescent                         

                                                |psychiatry                         

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

1988        |597.2      |11.8       |34.2       |316.9      |960.1                  

1989        |678.8      |11.2       |39.5       |310.3      |1,039.8                

1990        |699.1      |9.7        |36.3       |333.3      |1,078.4                

1991        |723.0      |14.7       |47.3       |325.9      |1,110.9                

1992        |768.6      |13.5       |44.4       |304.4      |1,130.9                

Notes: Information is taken from the Hospital Medical and Dental Census for each    

year. Information about the number of consultants in the community                  

is not available by specialty.                                                      

Consultants

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultants have sought early retirement in each of the last five years in each region.

Dr. Mawhinney : Data collected do not distinguish between consultants and associate specialists and it is not maintained in regional form.

The total numbers of consultants and associate specialists who retired early under provisions to allow for replacement of senior consultant posts are :


           |Number       

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

1989-90    |75           

1990-91    |45           

1991-92    |38           

1992-93    |35           

<1>1993-94 |48           

<1> To 31 December 1993. 

Drug Abuse

Mr. Callaghan : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the total number of officers employed on programmes dealing with drug abuse in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Bowis : Government guidelines state that drug misusers should have access to a range of services, including advice and counselling, in- patient and community detoxification, residential rehabilitation and follow up support, where needed. These services are provided by both the statutory and non-statutory sectors. Services employ a range of staff which may include specialist doctors, drug workers, general practitioners, community psychiatric nurses, social and youth workers. Information on the total of these is not held centrally.

Mr. Richard Marsh

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 17 December, Official Report, column 1003, what are the particular qualifications, expertise or experience relating to health and social services of her special adviser, Mr. Richard Marsh.

Mr. Sackville : I do not intend to comment on the qualifications, expertise or experience of the special adviser to my right hon. Friend.

International Peto Institute

Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress there has been in the construction of an International Peto Institute in Budapest ; when she


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expects building work to begin ; when Her Majesty's Government's obligation to help fund this project will expire ; and what assessment she has made of whether the funding pledged by Her Majesty's Government to this project could be more effectively spent in creating an equivalent facility in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Bowis : Under the agreement between the United Kingdom and Hungarian Governments, further payments are dependent upon the commencement of construction of the International Peto Institute, for which no date has yet been set by the International Peto Foundation. Under this agreement, the institute has to be operational by February 1996 to avoid repayment of all or part of the payments made. Facilities for conductive education are already developing in the United Kingdom.

Diabetics

Mr. Pickthall : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what policy she has for targeting care towards insulin-dependent diabetics who are lone parents.

Mr. Sackville : The Department has no plans to adopt such a policy.

Mr. Pickthall : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the (a) total budget for diabetic care and (b) the budget for education work among diabetics.

Mr. Sackville : Figures for the total budget for diabetic care are not available nor are figures for the budget for education work among diabetics.

Mr. Pickthall : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is her estimate of the numbers of insulin-dependent diabetics in the United Kingdom ; and how many of them live alone.

Mr. Sackville : The number of insulin-dependent diabetics in the United Kingdom is not recorded ; neither is it recorded how many live alone.

Mr. Pickthall : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures she plans to encourage diabetics to be open about their condition to ensure community support.

Mr. Sackville : The Department has no plans to seek to influence personal decisions of this nature.

Hypnosis

Mr. Pickthall : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is her policy on hypnotism for entertainment ; and what research she has sponsored into hypnosis and its consequences for health.

Mr. Sackville : The use of hypnotism on stage is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for


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National Heritage and, on television, for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Within the national health service, hospital medical staff and general practitioners can arrange for their patients to receive complementary and alternative therapies, including hypnosis, where they are satisfied that a clinical need for the treatment exists and if the resources can be made available locally, subject to the patient's consent to the treatment. It is widely accepted that hypnosis has a valuable role as an adjunct to medical and psychological treatments and is legitimately practised by a range of reputable therapists. Health professionals are bound by the ethical codes of conduct of their individual professions and, when practising in the NHS, by the terms of their contracts with NHS bodies. The Department has commissioned no research into hypnosis.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list all chairs and non-executive directors of NHS trust hospitals who hold a chair or non-executive post at more than one NHS trust ; and if she will list the trusts concerned.

Dr. Mawhinney : Under the National Health Service Trusts (Membership and Procedure) Regulations 1990--SI 2024 Regulation 11(1)(e)--serving chairmen or non-executive directors of national health service trusts may not serve concurrently on the board of another NHS authority or trust.

Hospital Admissions

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of hospital admissions in the East Anglia region are (a) immediate, (b) within six weeks, (c) within three months and (d) longer than a year ; and what the figures were in May 1990.

Dr. Mawhinney : The latest year for which figures are available is 1991-92, in that year, 56 per cent. of hospital admissions were immediate. Of those admitted from waiting lists, 52.1 per cent. were admitted within six weeks, 69.1 per cent. within three months and 7 per cent. had to wait longer than a year.

In May 1990, 57 per cent. of admissions were immediate. Of those admitted from waiting lists, 40.7 per cent. were admitted within six weeks, 67.1 per cent. within three months and 4.6 per cent. had to wait longer than a year.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in (a) the East Anglian region and (b) the Great Yarmouth and Waveney district had been waiting more than one year for hospital admission in (i) April 1991 and (ii) the latest available month.

Dr. Mawhinney : There were 10,175 patients waiting more than 12 months for in-patient or day case treatment in East Anglian regional health authority at 31 March 1991. This included 3,502 patients who had been waiting more than two years. By 30 September 1993, the number waiting more than a year had decreased by 66 per cent. to 3, 503 and no one was waiting more than two years.


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The area covered by Great Yarmouth and Waveney district health authority in March 1991 is now covered by Anglian Harbours and James Paget hospital national health service trusts. At 31 March 1991, in the district health authority 1,420 patients had waited more than a year for treatment and 586 of these had waited more than two years. By 30 September 1993 in the trusts, the number waiting over a year had fallen by 68 per cent. to 450 and no one was waiting more than two years.

Skin Disorders

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health which statistics her Department keeps about the prevalence of skin disorders in the United Kingdom (a) by region, (b) by district health authority and (c) by family health services authority.

Mr. Sackville : The Department holds data for England and Wales on the incidence of skin cancer, on death rates, on numbers of deaths and on the average annual years of life lost per 10,000 of the resident population by region, district health authoriy and family health services authority. The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys keeps a register of newly diagnosed cases of skin cancer by regional health authority, district health authority and FHSA. It also records the number of deaths by sex and age from diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue by region, district health authority and FHSA. In addition, the Department keeps central statistics by district and regions on leprosy, which is a notifiable disease.

Health Expenditure

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money was spent per head of population in (a) Great Yarmouth and Waveney health district and (b) the East Anglia region in (i) May 1979 and (ii) May 1991 ; and what is the expected level in April 1994.

Mr. Sackville : The information available shows that Great Yarmouth and Waveney health authority's revenue outturn increased from £40,349,819 in 1988-89--1988-89 cash--to £73,181,520 in 1992-1993 --1992-1993 cash. Over the same period, East Anglia region's revenue outturn increased from £474,430,697 to £717,980,886. The population of East Anglia region was 2,034,439 in 1988 and 2,089,398 in 1992, that of Great Yarmouth and Waveney in the same years was 200,091 and 202,255. This represents a spend per head of population in 1988-89 of over £201 in Great Yarmouth and Waveney and £233 in East Anglia as a whole. In 1992-93, the corresponding figures are over £361 for Great Yarmouth and £343 for East Anglia.

Consultant Referrals

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of consultant referrals in the East Anglia region are (a) immediate, (b) within six weeks, (c) within three months and (d) longer than a year ; and what the figures were in May 1990.

Dr. Mawhinney : Summaries of waiting times for in-patient and day case treatment are given in "Hospital Waiting List Statistics : England" published twice yearly. The latest published figures for September 1993 are available in the Library. Under the patients charter,


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regional health authorities are required to set local charter standards for waiting times for first out-patient appointments. These are published locally.

Hospital Treatment

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients from the Great Yarmouth and Waveney health district were treated in hospitals outside the district in the last year in which figures are available ; and how many out-of-district patients were treated within the Anglian Harbours hospital trust and the James Paget hospital.

Mr. Sackville : My hon. Friend may wish to Contact Dr. Ronald Duncan, Mrs. Kath Currie and Mr. John Wells, chairmen of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney health


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authority, Anglian Harbours national health service trust and the James Paget hospital trust respectively, for this information.

Ambulance Response Times

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the latest figures for response times by ambulances to 999 calls for each of the trust and health authority areas in East Anglia ; and what is the average for England as a whole.

Mr. Sackville : Information on ambulance emergency response times is not collected centrally on an individual health authority or trust basis. The latest available information by ambulance authority is shown in the table.


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Patient transport services                                                                                     

Ambulance authority            |Total number       |Response           |Response within                        

                               |of emergency       |within             |19 minutes (rural)                     

                               |calls resulting    |8 minutes          |14 minutes(urban)                      

                               |in ambulance       |Per cent.          |Per cent.                              

                               |arriving at scene                                                              

                               |of incidents                                                                   

                               |(Thousands)                                                                    

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

Rural authorities                                                                                              

Cumbria                        |15.3               |55.6               |91.2                                   

Durham                         |30.3               |51.6               |97.1                                   

Humberside                     |43.0               |72.8               |99.2                                   

Northumbria (NHS Trust)        |77.6               |67.8               |99.0                                   

North Yorkshire                |23.1               |58.8               |95.4                                   

Derbyshire                     |35.2               |46.6               |95.7                                   

Leicestershire                 |32.6               |54.4               |97.0                                   

Lincolnshire (NHS Trust)       |17.8               |62.2               |95.3                                   

Nottinghamshire                |54.7               |57.9               |97.7                                   

Cambridgeshire                 |19.1               |40.9               |94.2                                   

Norfolk (NHS Trust)            |27.5               |57.5               |96.7                                   

Suffolk                        |11.9               |53.2               |92.1                                   

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire |59.6               |54.3               |96.9                                   

Essex (NHS Trust)              |66.1               |57.8               |98.6                                   

East Sussex                    |36.9               |67.7               |97.7                                   

Kent                           |57.8               |55.2               |96.4                                   

West Sussex                    |26.8               |65.6               |97.3                                   

Dorset                         |27.8               |54.6               |96.1                                   

Hampshire                      |46.7               |55.9               |97.4                                   

Wiltshire                      |15.1               |60.7               |95.9                                   

Isle of Wight                  |4.3                |59.5               |97.9                                   

Berkshire                      |28.4               |58.9               |99.0                                   

Buckinghamshire                |22.1               |62.0               |97.0                                   

Northamptonshire               |17.8               |68.0               |98.2                                   

Oxfordshire                    |16.1               |51.8               |94.2                                   

Cornwall (NHS Trust)           |16.5               |41.2               |90.0                                   

Devon (NHS Trust)              |38.4               |60.2               |98.5                                   

Gloucestershire (NHS Trust)    |13.5               |57.8               |96.8                                   

Somerset                       |11.8               |58.9               |94.7                                   

Hereford and Worcester         |21.3               |61.9               |97.1                                   

Shropshire                     |12.7               |51.1               |96.0                                   

Staffordshire (NHS Trust)      |39.6               |53.4               |95.3                                   

Warwickshire                   |14.4               |49.4               |95.3                                   

Lancashire                     |69.8               |65.9               |98.7                                   

                                                                                                               

Urban authorities                                                                                              

Cleveland (NHS Trust)          |24.2               |73.0               |97.0                                   

West Yorkshire                 |108.2              |55.0               |94.0                                   

South Yorkshire (NHS Trust)    |56.4               |46.6               |89.9                                   

Surrey                         |44.0               |55.1               |94.8                                   

London Ambulance Service       |474.5              |11.3               |58.5                                   

Avon (NHS Trust)               |37.0               |55.5               |90.0                                   

West Midlands                  |140.7              |45.2               |91.1                                   

Mersey (NHS Trust)             |147.7              |68.1               |95.4                                   

Greater Manchester             |165.4              |60.5               |97.4                                   


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Accident and Emergency Departments

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines have been issued by her Department regarding the need for hospital accident and emergency departments to make staffing provision for possible increased workload caused by occasional, exceptionally high levels of emergency treatment required.

Mr. Sackville : Every health authority is required to have contingency plans for dealing with major incidents. However, it is for individual hospitals to determine local staffing levels in accident and emergency departments which, so far as possible, match expected workloads and take account of busy periods.

Fraud

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many employees were judged to be guilty of fraud in her Department in each year since 1989 ; and how many were dismissed.

Mr. Sackville : Prior to March 1991, the Department of Social Security was responsible for action on staff discipline for the Department of Health. It will be providing information for 1989 to March 1991.

The following information gives the number of Department of Health staff judged to be guilty of obtaining money by making false representations since March 1991 :

In 1991, three staff were judged guilty of fraud and two were dismissed. The third was given a severe reprimand.

In 1992, one member of staff was given an oral warning and another was downgraded.

In 1993, four staff were dismissed.

In 1991 and 1992, those not dismissed were guilty of minor offences.

The penalty imposed depends on the severity of the offence, the member of staff's length of service and previous conduct. In cases of fraud involving significant amounts of money, dismissal is automatic.

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is her Department's policy for dealing with employees found guilty of fraud.

Mr. Sackville : All civil servants are subject to strict rules of conduct and are expected at all times to maintain high levels of integrity. Any member of the Department of Health's staff found guilty of obtaining money or goods by making false representations would be subject to disciplinary penalties which range from a written warning to dismissal. All cases of fraud involving significant amounts of money would result in dismissal.

Patient Care

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list all those services for patient care in East Anglian regional hospitals, Anglian Harbours hospitals trust and the James Paget hospital Gorleston, which have been expanded since May 1979 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : The number of patients treated in East Anglian region continues to rise. Since 1982, in-patient activity is up by more than 40 per cent. and day cases up by more than 135 per cent. In the Great Yarmouth and Waveney health authority area the increases were over 40 per cent. and 300 per cent. respectively.


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Since 1979, the number of hospital doctors in the region has risen by more than 50 per cent. and there have been more than 40 major capital projects in the region costing over £130 million. My hon. Friend may wish to contact Sir Colin Walker and Dr. Ronald Currie, chairmen of East Anglian regional health authority and the Great Yarmouth and Waveney health authority respectively, for more details.

NHS Pay

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision has been made in the NHS budget for 1994-95 for the implementation of the recommendations of the pay review bodies.

Dr. Mawhinney [holding answer 31 January 1994] : As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health said at the time of the Chancellor's autumn statement, the national health service has been given additional resources of some £1.6 billion for 1994-95. If pay rises are earned through increased efficiency, as the Government urged in their evidence to the review bodies, these resources will make possible an increase in activity of around 4 per cent.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

St. Helena

Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many visitors and work permits have been applied for by residents of St. Helena ; and how many have been granted in each year since 1989.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : St. Helenians do not require prior entry clearance to come to the United Kingdom as visitors and the number actually entering the United Kingdom is not separately recorded. The number of work permits granted to St. Helenians from 1989 to 1993 is as follows :


Patient transport services                                                                                     

Ambulance authority            |Total number       |Response           |Response within                        

                               |of emergency       |within             |19 minutes (rural)                     

                               |calls resulting    |8 minutes          |14 minutes(urban)                      

                               |in ambulance       |Per cent.          |Per cent.                              

                               |arriving at scene                                                              

                               |of incidents                                                                   

                               |(Thousands)                                                                    

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

Rural authorities                                                                                              

Cumbria                        |15.3               |55.6               |91.2                                   

Durham                         |30.3               |51.6               |97.1                                   

Humberside                     |43.0               |72.8               |99.2                                   

Northumbria (NHS Trust)        |77.6               |67.8               |99.0                                   

North Yorkshire                |23.1               |58.8               |95.4                                   

Derbyshire                     |35.2               |46.6               |95.7                                   

Leicestershire                 |32.6               |54.4               |97.0                                   

Lincolnshire (NHS Trust)       |17.8               |62.2               |95.3                                   

Nottinghamshire                |54.7               |57.9               |97.7                                   

Cambridgeshire                 |19.1               |40.9               |94.2                                   

Norfolk (NHS Trust)            |27.5               |57.5               |96.7                                   

Suffolk                        |11.9               |53.2               |92.1                                   

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire |59.6               |54.3               |96.9                                   

Essex (NHS Trust)              |66.1               |57.8               |98.6                                   

East Sussex                    |36.9               |67.7               |97.7                                   

Kent                           |57.8               |55.2               |96.4                                   

West Sussex                    |26.8               |65.6               |97.3                                   

Dorset                         |27.8               |54.6               |96.1                                   

Hampshire                      |46.7               |55.9               |97.4                                   

Wiltshire                      |15.1               |60.7               |95.9                                   

Isle of Wight                  |4.3                |59.5               |97.9                                   

Berkshire                      |28.4               |58.9               |99.0                                   

Buckinghamshire                |22.1               |62.0               |97.0                                   

Northamptonshire               |17.8               |68.0               |98.2                                   

Oxfordshire                    |16.1               |51.8               |94.2                                   

Cornwall (NHS Trust)           |16.5               |41.2               |90.0                                   

Devon (NHS Trust)              |38.4               |60.2               |98.5                                   

Gloucestershire (NHS Trust)    |13.5               |57.8               |96.8                                   

Somerset                       |11.8               |58.9               |94.7                                   

Hereford and Worcester         |21.3               |61.9               |97.1                                   

Shropshire                     |12.7               |51.1               |96.0                                   

Staffordshire (NHS Trust)      |39.6               |53.4               |95.3                                   

Warwickshire                   |14.4               |49.4               |95.3                                   

Lancashire                     |69.8               |65.9               |98.7                                   

                                                                                                               

Urban authorities                                                                                              

Cleveland (NHS Trust)          |24.2               |73.0               |97.0                                   

West Yorkshire                 |108.2              |55.0               |94.0                                   

South Yorkshire (NHS Trust)    |56.4               |46.6               |89.9                                   

Surrey                         |44.0               |55.1               |94.8                                   

London Ambulance Service       |474.5              |11.3               |58.5                                   

Avon (NHS Trust)               |37.0               |55.5               |90.0                                   

West Midlands                  |140.7              |45.2               |91.1                                   

Mersey (NHS Trust)             |147.7              |68.1               |95.4                                   

Greater Manchester             |165.4              |60.5               |97.4                                   

Figures for the total number of applications are not available.

Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements exist for St. Helenians to be treated for serious injury or disease which cannot be carried out on the island.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The services on St. Helena provide medical attention in the first instance. Patients requiring longer-term treatment are referred to Cape Town or the United Kingdom under arrangements which work well. These referrals travel by the Royal Mail Ship St. Helena.

Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many St. Helenians have been working (a) on Ascension island and (b) in the Falklands in each year since 1989.


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Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The number of St. Helenians working on Ascension island and the Falkland islands in the years 1989 to 1993 was as follows :


          |Ascension|Falkland           

          |Island   |Islands            

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

1989      |459      |132                

1990      |470      |209                

1991      |501      |262                

1992      |488      |274                

1993      |534      |214                

Kashmir

Mr. Godsiff : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Indian high commission on the issuing of visas to allow (a) hon. Members and (b) Amnesty International access to that part of Kashmir which is under Indian jurisdiction.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We have frequently urged the Indian Government to allow visits by independent observers and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, to Kashmir.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy toward the decision of the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of nuclear weapons ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Our position is that the use of nuclear weapons would have to be judged as lawful or not in the light of the particular circumstances in which they were used, and that it is inappropriate to burden the International Court of Justice with hypothetical questions of this nature.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultations he will undertake in deciding whether to make submissions to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We will be making a submission to the International Court of Justice on the question of the legality of nuclear weapons. Submissions are due to be made by 10 June.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans Her Majesty's Government have to make a submission to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We will be making a submission.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he is prepared to submit from British organisations on the legality of nuclear weapons to the International Court of Justice.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : None. Our submission to the International Court of Justice will set out the position of the Government on this question.


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