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Column 824appoint to public office individuals described in statements resulting from hearings by the Lord Chief Justice and other Lords of Appeal as being disingenuous in their dealings with the Inland Revenue; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Wheeler: In relation to public appointments, the prime consideration for Ministers and Departments are an individual's ability or potential to contribute to the work of a particular body and the need for each public body to have the range of experience and skills necessary to carry out its functions.
An individual's background and overall conduct are factors taken in to account before an appointment is made.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement setting out the background to the case presented in the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal by lawyers representing the Inland Revenue in the case relating to Mr. John McGuckian; what sums of money were involved in this case; what was the outcome; what plans he has to review recent decisions relating to the Hualon Corporation taken by Mr. McGuckian as chairman of the Northern Ireland Industrial Development Fund as a result of this case; what previous cases, and involving what sums, have been brought against Mr. McGuckian for non-payment of taxes; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram [holding answer 24 November 1994]: Mr. McGuckian's personal tax affairs are not matters for my right hon. and learned Friend. Nor do they have anything to do with decisions relating to the Hualon Corporation.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the number of employees, plus the number of volunteers currently assisting, at each hospital in the north-west; and what percentage the latter forms of the former.
Mr. Malone: Information on the number of employees is collected by management unit--that is, by national health service trust or directly managed unit--rather than by hospital; and information on volunteers is not available centrally.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the net ingredient cost of (a) temazepam, (b) zopiclone and (c) all other benzodiazepines in the United Kingdom and each NHS region and family health service authority area for 1993 94; and if he will express the net ingredient cost figure as expenditure per head of population in each such area.
Column 825into Quarry house, Leeds; what was the cost of the move; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville: The initial relocation plan was that NHS Estates would relocate to Quarry house with the national health service executive. Because of design and other changes during the construction of Quarry house, there was not enough room to accommodate all the posts concerned, and separate accommodation was taken for the agency in Trevelyan square, Boar lane, Leeds. The transitional costs of the move and the costs of fitting out Trevelyan square were £1.93 million.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will ensure that medical practitioners found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct be suspended with immediate effect; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Malone: It is a matter for the professional conduct committee of the General Medical Council to decide whether a doctor is fit to continue practising after he has been found guilty of serious professional misconduct.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will institute an inquiry into medical confidentiality in respect of members of the medical profession whose medical or psychiatric condition might result in damage to patients; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville: National health service authorities and trusts are expected to comply with the aims and goals of the NHS executive's "Opportunity 2000" programme, and of "Ethnic minority staff in the NHS: a programme of action". Copies of those programmes are available in the Library. In addition, the General Whitley Council has made agreements promoting equal opportunities which apply to all staff employed on national terms and conditions of service.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who was responsible for inviting the NHS managers to attend a meeting at the Belfry on 5 to 7 December; what is the projected cost of the exercise; and from which vote the expenditure will be drawn.
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospitals were used for the care of mentally ill people before the introduction of care in the community; how many of these properties have been sold; what have been the total sums raised through the sale of such property and land; how much of this has been re-invested into care in the community; how many sales are still pending; what is the estimated value of such sales when realised; and if she will make a statement.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department expects to have concluded its consideration of the second report of the National Audit Office on the implementation of community care.
Mr. Bowis: I understand that the Audit Commission, which monitors the implementation of community care by local authorities, plans to publish its second bulletin on progress with community care shortly.
I am also today publishing indicative allocations showing each English social services authority's share of the special transitional grant for community care in 1995 96. As last year, the whole of the STG is being distributed on the basis of personal social services standard spending assessments. Authorities have until 13 January 1995 to make representations about their proposed allocations. Copies of the circular are being placed in the Library. The total STG for 1995 96 will, as previously announced, be £647.6 million.
Mr. Bowis: The Government remain fully committed to a flourishing independent sector able to offer diversity, choice and value for money. We will therefore retain the condition on the special transitional grant for community care in 1995 96 whereby authorities must spend 85 per cent. of the social security transfer element--some £440 million in all--on community care services in the independent sector. The condition will be framed in a way that such independent sector spending in 1995 96 must be in addition to previous such spending in 1994 95 and 1993 94 plus one half of such spending in 1992 93.
Column 827Such payments are in principle recoverable and the authority must consider, in the light of legal advice, whether recovery action is feasible or cost effective.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is taking to reduce the incidence of toxoplasmosis; what is her policy towards the testing of pregnant women for toxoplasmosis; and what studies into toxoplasmosis are currently supported with public funding.
Mr. Sackville: The Department of Health produces a leaflet entitled "While you are Pregnant - safe eating and how to avoid infection from food and animals" which contains information on avoiding toxoplasmosis. Copies of the leaflet will be placed in the Library. The Health Education Authority produces its pregnancy book which also contains information on toxoplasmosis and which is provided to women when they attend hospital antenatal clinics; copies of this book are available in the Library. Additionally, the Department provides core funding to the Toxoplasmosis trust under section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968. The decision to test a pregnant woman who may have been exposed to toxoplasmosis for evidence of infection must be made on a case-by-case basis. In the light of current scientific knowledge, a routine screening programme cannot be justified. Screening for toxoplasmosis in pregnancy is not a standard procedure in the United Kingdom. The significance of the test, the natural history of the disease and the efficacy of the treatment are all surrounded by uncertainty. As for any screening programme, the benefits conferred by screening must clearly outweigh the risks.
The main agency through which the Government support biomedical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council, which receives its grant in aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The MRC is currently funding research into "Seriodiagnosis of reactivating toxoplasmosis: use of cyst antigens" at St. George's Hospital medical school, London, and "Protection against toxoplasmosis: an alternative target for vaccination" at the university of Strathclyde. Universities and medical schools which are supported by public funding may also be funding research into toxoplasmosis.
Mr. Sackville: We welcome this initiative, which we hope will raise awareness about toxoplasmosis and how to avoid catching it, particularly in pregnant women, reinforcing advice given as part of antenatal care.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will ensure that (a) purchasing authorities retain and, where necessary, develop community clinics and (b) provider units provide a service which complements that provided by general practitioners; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville: This is a matter for West Midlands regional health authority, which is taking action to recover the loan. The hon. Member may wish to contact Mr. Bryan Baker, regional chairman for details.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much public money will be spent on entertaining, Christmas decorations and other festive activities this Christmas season by her Department and Government agencies answerable to her Department; and of this sum how much will be spent in Ministers' private offices and official residences.
Mr. Sackville [pursuant to his reply, 25 November 1994, c. 408 09]: I regret that my previous reply should have read: "Disaggregrated information of this nature is not available. Any such costs which may arise are covered by the hospitality expenditure of the Department which is included in the running costs sum published in the annual report, copies of which are available in the Library."
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will order an inquiry into the payments made to the director of finance of South Birmingham health authority and his subsequent employment as a consultant to the national health service executive at Chipping Norton; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Malone: No. The Public Accounts Committee in its 36th report fully considered the affairs of South Birmingham health authority and the position of the former director of finance. Copies of the report and the Government's response are available in the Library.
Mr. Malone: None. The way in which women are received in out- patients clinics is a matter for local arrangement. The patients charter standard on the named midwife is that each pregnant woman shall have a named qualified midwife allocated to her.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will provide guidelines to health authorities on their responsibilities to provide continuing care for seriously incapacitated patients, in the light of the findings by the health service commissioner--case Number l E 62/93 94--and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Patnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (1) guidelines are issued by her Department regarding the procedure of consultation exercises on the future of hospital services; to which authorities these guidelines are issued; and if she will make a statement;
(2) if she will list the amount of time allocated for each consultation exercise on the future of hospital services that have taken place in the last year for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement;
(3) how many consultation exercises have been held on the future of hospital services in the last year for which figures are available; if she will list the regional health authorities involved; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville: Guidance (EL(90)185) to health authorities in September 1990 reminded them of the need to consult potential users of services as an integral part of the management process. District health authorities are required by the Community Health Council Regulations 1985, as amended, to consult the relevant community health council on proposals which would result in substantial changes to services. Changes may be made without consultation if the authority has expressly decided that, in the interest of the health service, a decision has to be taken without allowing time for consultation. Except in such cases, sufficient time should be allowed for views to be taken and advice given. Consultations are a matter for local health authorities; information on numbers and duration is not available centrally. Copies of the guidance are available in the Library.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has to prevent the re-employment as consultants by the NHS of NHS trust directors who have left or been terminated for unacceptable professional standards;
(2) what action she has taken, or plans to take to ensure, that directors and managers of regional health authorities and NHS trusts who have been involved in improper, dishonest or incompetent practices, cannot be further employed either directly or as consultants to other health authorities or NHS trusts.
Mr. Malone: None. It is for the individual employer to use its normal recruitment procedures, which will involve references from previous employers, to ensure that prospective consultants and staff are suitable for the job concerned. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 29 November, Official Report, column 590, on the employment of consultants.
Column 830authorities and trusts to publish in public registers any relevant financial interests.
Mr. Malone: The "Code of Conduct and Accountability" requires chairmen and board members to declare any private interests that might be material and relevant to national health service business. Such information should then be recorded in board minutes and entered into a register which is available to the public. Copies of the code of conduct are available in the Library.
Mr. Malone: I refer the hon. Member to the reply the then Minister of Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhinney) gave the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) on 26 May, 1994, Official Report column 305. Information relating to Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many haemophiliac patients are known to have contracted hepatitis C as a consequence of contaminated blood; how many are known to have died; what representations she has received from relatives; how she has replied; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville: Figures are not available centrally for haemophilia patients who have contracted hepatitis C through contaminated blood, or for those who have died. I understand from the United Kingdom haemophilia directors that, of 126 haemophilia patients known to have died in 1993, 12 showed the cause of death as liver disease, of which hepatitis C may have been the cause. Some representations have been received seeking payments to haemophilia patients who may have been infected with hepatitis C. We have responded that the Government have no plans to make such payments.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she plans to reduce the disparity in the number of consultants per head of population between regions, with particular reference to Trent regional health authority.
Mr. Malone: There are no central plans for modifying the number of consultants between regions. It is a matter for each employing body to determine the number of consultants needed in each specialty in the light of local needs and competing priorities.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will issue guidance to allow national health service employees to bring to the attention of community health councils their concerns about services and patient care without the threat of disciplinary action being taken against them; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Malone: The national health service executive's "Guidance to staff on relations with the public and the media: EL(93)51" clearly sets out the rights and duties of staff when raising issues of concern about health care matters and shows how employers may ensure these rights and duties are met. The guidance makes it plain that employees who raise their concerns in accordance with the guidance are not to be penalised in any way for doing so. Copies of the guidance are available in the Library.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will give, by ambulance authority in England, the number of patients who died in 1993 following ambulance delays outside patients charter limits.
Mr. Jessel: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the approximate percentage of patients failing to show up, without giving notice, for appointments with (a) consultants and (b) other hospital doctors in (i) each general hospital in the South Thames region, (ii) West Middlesex University hospital and (iii) teaching hospitals in London north of the River Thames.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) of the bills currently awaiting payment in her Department, how many are over the advised payment date by (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months respectively;
(2) how many of the bills paid by her Department during the last month for which figures are available were paid within (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months from receipt of invoice; and how many were over the date for payment by (i) up to one month, (ii) up to two months, (iii) up to three months, (iv) up to six months and (v) over six months.
Mr. Sackville: The information is not available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Departments, however, are required to provide details of their annual payment performance in their departmental reports. For 1993, the Department of Health paid 87.1 per cent. of its bills in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days of receipt of goods and services or the presentation of a valid invoice.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the special advisers employed by her Department in each of the last five years indicating when they (a) joined and (b) left her Department and the annual salary they received.
Name --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mrs. T Keswick |January 1989 to November 1990 Mrs. L Campey |December 1990 to April 1992 Mrs. K Ramsay |December 1990 to April 1992 Mr. R Marsh |June 1991 to April 1992 and |from April 1992 to the present |day
Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings, and are confidential. They are however normally paid on a special advisers' salary spine of 34 points, ranging from £19,503 to £67,609. Appointments are non-pensionable and the salary spine reflects this.
Mr. Bowis: Specific grants will again be available in 1995 96 for mental illness services--£47.3 million--HIV and AIDS--£13.4 million--alcohol and drugs misuse--£2.5 million--guardian ad litem and reporting officers--£6.2 million--and social services training-- £34.6 million. The mental illness grant will increase by £11.3 million which will be targeted on people with severe mental illness. Each grant will continue to support a maximum of 70 per cent. of total expenditure.
Annual capital guidelines of £124.3 million will be distributed to local authorities. Supplementary credit