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Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the purpose of the deployment of RAF Tornados to Murted air base, Turkey, in April 1994; how many aircraft took part; how many low-level sorties were carried out; and what was the minimum permitted altitude for these sorties.
Mr. Soames: Eight Tornado GR1 aircraft were deployed to Akinci air base, formerly known as Murted Air Base Turkey, from 8 to 21 April 1994, to participate in the NATO exercise Distant Thunder 94. The Tornado crews flew 92 low-level sorties at 500ft descending to a minimum of 250ft when engaged in target approach runs.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the minimum separation distances between United Kingdom military separation distances between United Kingdom military aircraft (a) in the same formation and (b) not in the same formation, on the landing approach at military airfields.
Mr. Soames: The minimum separation distances between United Kingdom military aircraft on landing approach at military airfields vary according to aircraft type classification. Guidance for RAF aircrew on minimum separation approaches are set out in various RAF instructions.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what ranks serving in the United Kingdom armed forces are able to claim for school fees for children who are of school age and living within the United Kingdom.
Mr. Soames: Boarding school allowance is available to all ranks of the armed forces serving in the United Kingdom or overseas providing that they meet the eligibility criteria.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what inquiry was held into the near-miss incident
Column 781on 19 August between an Icelandair Boeing 737 and two United States Air Force F15 aircraft off the Humberside coast; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: Investigation of the air traffic control radar recordings showed that standard separation always existed between the aircraft in question, and that there had been no possibility of them colliding. In accordance with normal procedures, the reporting pilot was informed of this and asked if he still wished to file an airmiss. He subsequently withdrew his airmiss report.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the investigation into a near- miss incident involving a Spanish airliner and two RAF Tornados near Gibraltar on 29 January 1992.
Mr. Soames: Incidents which occur in Spanish airspace are matters for investigation by the Spanish authorities. My Department has not received any report on this occurrence.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the inquiry into the RAF Puma wirestrike incident near Kinlochmoidart on 18 May.
Mr. Soames: The incident referred to occurred during a routine troop deployment exercise. The RAF Puma sustained minor damage to the main rotor blades as a result of a wirestrike. Such minor incidents are investigated by a unit inquiry. It is not my Department's practice to place copies of unit inquiries in the Library of the House.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if an RAF officer was responsible for checking and authorising the flight from RAF Leuchars by three Danish Air Force F-16s on 14 December 1993.
Mr. Soames: No. There was no requirement for RAF officers to check or authorise the flight plans. The Royal Danish Air Force aircrews were, however, provided with comprehensive face-to-face briefing on the United Kingdom low flying system, fighter affiliation and training targets.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what grounds British troops have now been withdrawn from Rwanda; and in what circumstances, relating to the security or humanitarian situation, they will return.
Mr. Soames: The Government agreed to a request from the United Nations for a contingent of specialist troops to provide support for a three-month period to fill the gap until the arrival of the commercial company contracted by the UN to undertake the logistics role in Rwanda.
In the course of their deployment the United Kingdom contingent made a very substantial contribution to the UN operation. Their task has now been completed and they are being withdrawn, apart from a small number of
Column 782headquarters staff officers. Forces from several African and other states are now firmly established as part of the UN force. The UN have not sought a further deployment in Rwanda. We would consider any further requests for assistance against our current commitments elsewhere in the world, in the usual way.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to introduce the specification requirement of personal integrity for candidates for army officer selection.
Mr. Soames: A high level of personal integrity is expected from all Army officers. Assessment of an individual candidate's personal integrity is already undertaken as part of the normal process of Army officer selection and is carried out by various means including reference to the candidate's application form, initial interviews, headmasters' and tutor's reports, school and university liaison officer's reports, referees' reports and further interviews at the regular commission board. There are no plans to introduce further specific measures.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the current controls on British arms sales by country and type of weaponry.
Mr. Freeman: The current export controls are set out in part III group 1 of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994 as amended. These define the equipments requiring an export licence and, where the controls are not of a global application, the countries to which they apply. Each export licence application is assessed on a case-by-case basis taking into account, as appropriate, a range of relevant factors including national security, international obligations and humanitarian concerns.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are his Department's guidelines with regard to service personnel attending conduct after capture courses; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: Conduct after capture training is made available to those personnel most vulnerable to capture in time of war or other crises.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the report on equality in the Army prepared by his Department's working party in 1977
Mr. Soames: Although no working party report on equality in the Army was prepared in 1977, a working party considering future employment in the Women's Royal Army Corps reported in November 1976 and then again in 1978. It is not my Department's practice, however, to release internal planning documents such as the ones produced on these occasions.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much money has been spent by his Department on legal representation in the industrial tribunal cases regarding the dismissal of pregnant service women.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) top secret and (b) secret files his Department holds.
Mr. Soames: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his departmental budget includes a contribution for the telephone bills of the Security Service.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is his policy concerning study contracts offered by his Department for risk -reduction work in defence contracts;
(2) when his Department first introduced the policy of study contracts for risk-reduction work in defence contracts; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: My Department's phased approach to procurement projects has been applied since the 1960s and aims at the progressive reduction of risk. This includes the use of risk reduction study contracts where judged necessary. Risk management has been reinforced by the introduction of an initiative in the late 1980s which ensures that the MOD applies explicit risk management techniques to all equipment projects.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes there have been in his Department's procurement policy in the past six months.
Mr. Freeman: My Department's procurement policy is continually being refined to ensure that the needs of the armed forces are met at minimum overall cost to the defence budget. In the past six months, procurement policy and practices were reviewed as part of "Front Line First". The outcome was reported in July in my Department's publication on the Defence costs study.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy on the privatisation of the royal dockyards.
Mr. Freeman: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mr. Streeter) on 23 November 1994, Official Report , column 146 . Privatisation on the right terms remains the Government's preferred option.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will provide a list of health commissioning agencies, the health authorities they cover and when they came into being.
Mr. Malone: The term "health commissioning agency" has no statutory basis. Details of joint working between district and family health services authorities are determined by local circumstance. By the beginning of October 1994, there were 55 appointments of joint chief executive. There were a further seven sets of joint management arrangements, without a joint chief executive. A list of authorities concerned will be placed in the Library. Information has not been collected centrally about when the arrangements came into being.
Mr. Purchase: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were involved and to what extent lysergic acid diethymide was tested on national health service psychiatric patients; and what long-term monitoring of its effects has been carried out.
Mr. Bowis: Lysergic acid diethymide is not currently used in the treatment of national health service psychiatric patients and we have no evidence that it has been used in recent years.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths in each of the last three years were attributable to the overuse or abuse of (a) temazepam, (b) zopiclone and (c) all other benzodiazepines.
Mr. Sackville: The table shows the number of deaths in 1990 1992 in which there was a mention of abuse of temazepam, other unspecified benzodiazapines, or zopiclone, with or without other drugs.
|1990|1991|1992 ------------------------------------------------------ Temazepam |12 |18 |16 Other Unspecified Benzodiazapines |10 |17 |17 Zopiclone |- |- |-
In 1991 there were, in addition, two drug deaths recorded with mention of both temazepam, diazepam and morphine which are not included in these figures.
Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action her Department is taking to encourage children to brush their teeth.
Mr. Malone: The Department has published an oral health strategy for England which sets a number of objectives relating to the further reduction in caries in children. Carrying forward dental health education is a matter for health authorities. Copies of the strategy are available in the Library.
The Department has made available £1 million for oral health education for 1994 95. Thirty-six proposals have been approved. A second tranche is currently being considered.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much Maggie Aikman received on her resignation as chief executive of Burnley Healthcare NHS Trust.
Mr. Malone: Mrs. Aikman received £135,750 net when her contract with Burnley Health Care National Health Service Trust was terminated on 28 October.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will place in the Library the cost per head in each family health services authority based on the figures in her answer of 1 November to the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor), Official Report , columns 1076 78 for (a) the net ingredient costs of asthma preparations in 1993, (b) the net costs of corticosteroids in each year since 1984 and (c) the other net ingredient costs in each year since 1989; and if she will also express the figures in table 2 for the number of prescription items for exempt children in 1992 and 1993 as items per head in each family health service authority.
Mr. Malone: The available information has been placed in the Library. The data for exempt children by family health services authorities could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assistance she is giving to London NHS trusts and district health authorities to help them resolve their debt problems.
Mr. Malone: All national health service bodies are expected to operate within their income. However the two Thames regions are responsible for monitoring the financial performance of health authorities and NHS trusts in London and can provide short-term financial assistance where justified. The London implementation group also provides transitional support to NHS trusts in inner London. The hon. Member may wish to contact Sir William Staveley, chairman of North Thames region, and Mr. William Wells, chairman of South Thames region for further information.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is taking to control the re-employment in the NHS or by NHS trusts staff dismissed by previous NHS or NHS trust employers.
Mr. Malone: The responsibility for recruitment and selection of staff is a matter for national health service employers. They are expected to follow good recruitment practices which include interviews, appropriate questioning about previous employment and career gaps, and taking up of references.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what limitations are placed on non-executive directors of NHS trusts obtaining top management posts in the same trust.
Mr. Malone: Under Regulation 11(1)(e) of the National Health Service Trusts (Membership and Procedure) Regulations 1990, employees of any health service body are disqualified for appointment as chairman or non-executive director of an NHS trust.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the figures for debt or surplus for each London NHS trust and district health authority at the end of the last financial year.
Mr. Sackville: Information on relevant health authorities is shown in the table. The information requested for national health service trusts will be available in December and placed in the Library.
Surplus/Deficit London District Health Authorities 1993-94 |£000 -------------------------------------------------------- Barnet DHA |756 Hillingdon DHA |(185) Brent and Harrow DHA |(560) Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow DHA |3,653 Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster DHA |(2,331) Barking and Havering DHA |(1,777) Redbridge and Waltham Forest DHA |(535) East London and the City DHA |2,084 New River DHA |1,140 Camden and Islington DHA |1,479 Bexley DHA |5,101 Greenwich DHA |(682) Bromley DHA |(10) South East London DHA |15 Croydon Health CA |669 Wandsworth DHA |2,093 Merton and Sutton DHA |(77) Kingston and Richmond DHA |232 Source: Health Authority Annual Accounts. Note: (i) Figures include Surplus/Deficit of Directly Managed Units and Common Services Agencies. (ii) Figures are provisional. (iii) Bracketed figures indicate deficits.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the regulations on payments to NHS staff (a) in the case of redundancy (b) in the case of health retirements and (c) for dismissal; and what controls she plans to exercise over the behaviour of NHS trusts in similar circumstances.
Mr. Malone: Redundancy payments for national health service staff employed on national terms and conditions of service are governed by section 45 of the General Whitley Council handbook, copies of which are available in the Library. For staff employed on NHS trust terms and conditions of service redundancy payments are covered by their contractual terms.
Retirement on grounds of ill-health, for staff who are members of the NHS pension scheme, is governed by the NHS (Superannuation) Regulations.
Any payments for dismissal on grounds other than redundancy would be determined by the courts and industrial tribunals.
Guidance on the making of termination settlements to general and senior managers on short-term rolling contracts was given to health authorities in HSG(94)18 and to trusts in TEL(94)3, copies of which are available in the Library.
NHS trusts are free, under the terms of paragraph 16(1)(d) of schedule 2 to the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990, to employ staff on such terms as they think fit.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current market-testing programme agreed with the Prescription Pricing Authority; and, for each of the elements of the programme, what is the point in the process so far achieved and the target date for completion.
Mr. Malone: The current market-testing programme for the Prescription Pricing Authority includes prescription processing; management and maintenance of the authority's estate; mainframe computer support; security, portering, catering and central administrative services; and information division processing support. Market testing of the prescription processing service and information division processing, which together employ 1,500 staff, is well advanced. Contracts will be in place by 1 May 1995. Work on remaining elements of the programme will begin shortly, with completion anticipated by 31 March 1996.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his estimate of the number of people each year in the Waltham Forest area who need (a) pacemakers and (b) cardiac catheterisation; and if she will make funds specifically available for these operations to be carried out at Whipps Cross Hospital.
Mr. Sackville: It is the responsibility of Redbridge and Waltham Forest health authority to assess the level of need for cardiac services and to purchase these as appropriate. The hon. Member may wish to contact Miss Delva Patman, chairman of the authority, for details.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will introduce legislation to ensure that community health councils are invited to take up observer status on the board of new providers of ambulance services not normally within their competence; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Malone: The Government do not believe that it is necessary to extend the statutory powers of community health councils in this way.
EL(94)4, copies of which are available in the Library, makes it clear that all trusts should agree arrangements for liaison and access with community health councils. This applies equally to ambulance service trusts. Where community health councils are not invited to board meetings, trusts should offer alternative regular liaison opportunities.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to provide information via the Internet; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville: Use of the Internet as an additional method of disseminating information to the public is under active consideration by the Department in line with the Government's commitment to make more information available to the public and to make innovative use of telecommunications. Officials from the Department and the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys are also working with the Central Statistical Office and other
Column 788Government Departments to see what use can be made of the Internet to disseminate Government statistics.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what comparative studies she has made of survival rates for breast cancer for (a) females and (b) males between the United Kingdom and other developed countries; if she will facilitate the universal use of best practice protocols for the treatment of this condition; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville: None. The Chief Medical Officers' of England and Wales consultation document "A Policy Framework for Commissioning Cancer Services" recommends that all patients should have access to a uniformly high quality of care wherever they live to ensure the maximum possible cure rates and best quality of life. Where professional bodies have produced best practice protocols we support their use in the national health service. Copies of the consultation document are available in the Library.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people were (a) considered for appointment as chairman of the Doncaster royal infirmary and Montagn Hospital NHS trust and (b) shortlisted; and who selected (i) the shortlist and (ii) the chairman;
(2) on whose advice she decided not to reappoint Mr. Graham Smith as chairman of Doncaster health authority.
Mr. Malone: Recommendations to Ministers for the chairmanships of health authorities and national health service trusts are made by chairmen of regional health authorities. Ministers are responsible for making the final decision. The then Minister of Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhinney), appointed Mr. Keith Jones as chairman of Doncaster district health authority. I made the decision to appoint Mr. Raymond Tonkinson as chairman of the Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Montagu Hospital NHS trust. Details of unsuccessful candidates are confidential.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she approved of the pay off of £250,000 made by the Burnley NHS trust to Mrs. Maggie Aikman.
Mr. Malone: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is not required to approve severance settlements for trust chief executives.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will place the Touche Ross report on the Prescription Pricing Authority in the Library.
Mr. Malone: No. As part of the market testing process, a number of reports have been prepared for the Prescription Pricing Authority by Touche Ross and others. Those reports contain information which is commercially sensitive.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health is she will order a public inquiry into the maladministration
Column 789of Wessex, West Midlands and Trent regional health authorities.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current patients' charter standard for waiting for attention on an out- patient visit; and how such waiting time standards are measured.
Mr. Malone: The patients charter national standard requires that a patient be given a specific appointment time and be seen within 30 minutes of that time. Monitoring of this standard is done locally using guidance issued by the Department, copies of which will be placed in the Library. The waiting time to be measured is from the time of the appointment to the time the patient is actually seen for the main consultation.
Ms Gordon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hip replacement operations have been carried out in each year from 1983 to 1993 in England, Wales and Scotland.
Mr. Sackville: Information for England for the years 1983 to 1991 92, the latest available, is shown in the table. Data for the year 1987 88 are not available. Figures for Scotland and Wales are matters for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales.
Hip replacements and other arthroplasty operations of the hip Year |Thousands ------------------------------ 1983 |36.2 1984 |36.9 1985 |36.5 1986 |41.0 1988-89 |46.5 1989-90 |50.8 1990-91 |50.7 1991-92 |55.6 Source: Hospital Activity Analysis 1983 to 1986: Health Episode Statistics 1988-89 to date.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what grounds NHS funds were used to support managers attending a three-day course in June 1994 at the Hyde Park Hotel on Horizontal Management; what was the cost; and how many managers attended the course.
Mr. Malone: It is a matter for individual national health service trusts and health authorities to determine their training needs. This information is not therefore available centrally.