|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is (a) the number and (b) the percentage of employees conducting tests to award driving licences in the Greater London area who are from an ethnic minority background.
Mr. Norris: This is an operational matter for the Driving Standards Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from L. M. Manley to Mr. Tom Cox, dated 9 February 1995: The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your question about the number of Driving Examiners conducting driving tests in the Greater London area who are from an ethnic minority background.
There are 219 Driving Examiners conducting driving tests in the Greater London Area. Six (2.7%) of these Examiners are from an ethnic minority background.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 1994, Official Report , column 881 , how many staff suggestions have led to initiatives to reduce stress levels and sick absences among employees of his Department.
Mr. Norris: In the last three years, the Secretary of State for Transport has received no staff suggestions which have led to such initiatives.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 1994, Official Report , column 881 , if he will list (a) for each agency and (b) for his Department, the number of risk assessments conducted.
Mr. Norris: The details are as follows:
|Number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ (a) |Coastguard Agency |232 |Driving Standards Agency |820 |Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency|2,191 |Highways Agency |232 |Marine Safety Agency |2<1> |Transport Research Laboratory |672 |Vehicle Certification Agency |1 |Vehicle Inspectorate |n/a (b) |Department (CTG) |55 <1> Not included those in the process of being conducted. n/a Not available.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the conclusions and recommendations of the Hesketh report on the state of the signalling infrastructure on Britain's railways; and if he will place a copy of the report in the Library.
Mr. Watts: The Hesketh report was an internal British Rail document and not an official report for external release. Responsibility for signalling infrastructure passed to Railtrack on 1 April 1994. We expect Railtrack to publish its first investment plan later this year.
Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the annual cost to the NHS of general practitioners prescribing antibiotics.
Mr. Malone: The annual cost to the national health service for antibacterials prescribed by general practitioners for the last available year--1993 94--in England is:
Prescriptions |Net ingredient cost (millions) |(millions) ------------------------------------------------------------ 43.3 |£171.3 Notes: 1. The term antibiotics is taken to mean antibacterial drugs as defined in the British national formulary, section 5.1. 2. The figures cover prescriptions written by general practitioners and dispensed by community pharmacists and dispensing doctors. 3. The net ingredient cost is the basic cost of the drugs before discount and does not include any dispensing costs or fees.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals she has to recognise the work carried out by the national register for carers, assessors and verifiers in combating the employment of dangerous carers; and what assessment she has made of the work carried out by the national register for carers.
Mr. Bowis: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Newcastle under Lyme (Mrs. Golding) on 25 January, column 254.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the annual cost of (a) hospital-prescribed anthrax vaccine and (b) GP- prescribed anthrax vaccines in the years 1990 to 1993; to what extent such vaccine was obtained (i) commercially and (ii) directly from government sources of supply; if these vaccines were suitable for use against penicillin resistant anthrax strains; and if he will place in the Library guidance on the use of such vaccines.
Mr. Sackville: Anthrax vaccine, whether prescribed in hospital or by a general practitioner, is obtained from a common Government source and is not commercially available in the United Kingdom. The annual costs of supply were as follows: 1990, £34,000; 1991 92, £52, 000; and 1993, £58,000. The breakdown of this cost between hospital and GP- prescribed vaccine is not readily available.
Anthrax vaccine creates protective immunity to the toxin produced by the anthrax bacillus. The vaccine is, therefore, effective against all strains of anthrax, irrespective of their antibiotic sensitivity.
Guidance on the use of anthrax vaccine is contained in the memorandum "Immunisation against infectious disease", copies of which are available in the Library.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many (a) chief executives and senior managers have left the national blood transfusion service since June 1994 and (b) zonal managers have been appointed in advance of the conclusion of the consultation process by the National Blood Authority;
(2) if she will list the joint ventures entered into, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, by the National Blood Authority.
Mr. Sackville: This is a matter for the National Blood Authority.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list (a) the total number of units of blood collected by the blood transfusion service in 1994 and (b)
Column 367her future projections of the demand for blood for the years for which projections have been made.
Mr. Sackville: We are informed by the National Blood Authority that in 1994 the number of donations collected increased by 5 per cent. to 2.4 million. The NBA's current demand projections estimate an annual increase of around 4 per cent.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals she has to introduce screening of blood products and blood for Anti-HTLVI and II and Anti-HBc.
The last advice which we received from the expert committee in September 1992 in the case of anti-HTLV and in November 1993 in the case of anti-HBc was that routine screening of blood donations for these antibodies should not be introduced. The expert committee is keeping its advice under review.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when she expects to receive analysis of responses to the consultation document of the National Blood Authority together with its final proposals and publish the final proposals for reorganisation of the National Blood Authority;
(2) if she will publish (a) all the responses to the National Blood Authority consultation document and (b) a list of all the organisations and individuals who have opposed the reorganisation proposals of the National Blood Authority;
Mr. Sackville: The National Blood Authority is currently considering the comments received during its thorough and widespread consultation. The authority will in due course produce and publish its final proposals, having taken account of the comments received, but cannot yet provide a firm date for this. The format of the publication is a matter for the NBA. The authority has announced the appointment of an independent panel who will ensure that the comments made on the original proposals receive due and objective consideration.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria were used in the selection of the independent committee members appointed to consider responses to the National Blood Authority's consultation process.
Mr. Sackville: This is a matter for the National Blood Authority.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list for each regional blood transfusion centre (a) the date it received a Medicines Control Agency licence, (b) the date it acquired accreditation under BS5750 and (c) the date it made any unsuccessful application for either (a) or (b) .
Mr. Sackville: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) on 1 November 1994, columns 1078 79 . The manufacturers licence held by the National Blood Authority covering all centres was first issued on 8 August 1994 and was last updated on 7 December 1994. The wholesale dealers licence, No. WL/13733/1, held by the authority was issued on 27 July 1994 and was last updated on15 November 1994. No unsuccessful applications for licensing of blood transfusion centres has occurred. Accreditation under BS5750 is not a statutory requirement for the NBA. The pursuit of accreditation by individual transfusion centres is a matter for the NBA.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will identify and list the immunoglobins currently exported by the National Blood Authority.
Mr. Sackville: The Bio Products Laboratory, a part of the National Blood Authority, occasionally exports human normal intramuscular immunoglobulin when it has supplies available which are surplus to requirements in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the joint ventures entered into, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, by the National Blood Authority.
Mr. Sackville: Apart from those entered into in the course of research or normal commercial contracting activity, the National Blood Authority is not involved in any joint ventures either in the United Kingdom or abroad.
Mr. David Young: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to implement full public disclosure by trusts of (a) ambulance waiting times and (b) hospital bed shortages.
Mr. Sackville: Information on ambulance response times is published centrally by the Department in "Patient Transport Services--Summary information for KA 34: England", copies of which are available in the Library.
Information on bed availability is published in "Bed Availability for England", copies of which are also available in the Library. There are no plans to extend this information. Trusts must aim to meet current needs, while demand for beds is unpredictable. The new patients charter for England introduced a fresh standard that from 1 April 1995 patients who need to be admitted to hospital through accident and emergency departments will be given a bed within three hours to four hours, improving to two hours from 1 April 1996. All health authorities will be required to monitor the performance of their provider hospitals in meeting the new standard and publish local information about their achievements in their annual reports.
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the amount of money saved from general practitioner fundholding budgets which is being used to increase the value of the premises owned by fundholding general practitioners.
Mr. Malone: None. Paragraph 24 of the National Health Service (Fund- holding Practices) Regulations 1993 states that general practitioner fundholder audited savings may be used to supplement future budgets, to purchase material or equipment and to improve practice premises for the benefit of patients.
Family health services authorities are responsible for monitoring fundholders' expenditure, including savings, to ensure that they are used, in accordance with regulations, for the benefit of patients. Many fundholders have used efficiency savings to purchase additional services, or improve their premises, for example, to build extra treatment rooms for community nurses or visiting consultants or to bring more services into the practice. This investment in primary care
Column 369improves convenience for patients and the cost-effectiveness of the service.
Mr. Elletson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the NHS budget is currently allocated to (a) research into diabetes and (b) the treatment and continuing care for diabetes sufferers.
Mr. Sackville: The national health service funds a range of research and development work into diabetes. Detailed information on the amount and proportion spent is not available centrally. Treatment and continuing care for diabetes sufferers is provided throughout the country by general practitioners and diabetic centres. Information on cost is not collected centrally.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to offer NHS trusts advice on the sale of EEC intervention butter in out-patients' and visitors' buffets and coffee shops.
Mr. Sackville: None. Advice on the European Community regulations relating to supply of subsidised butter to hospitals and other organisations through the EEC Intervention Board is set out in the board's leaflet, LP18.
Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hours have been spent per general practitioner on administration (a) in each year since 1979 and (b) in each of those years when surveys have been undertaken.
Mr. Malone: The full-year results of the 1992 93 survey of general practitioner's work load will be made available shortly. It will contain the most recent information on time spent on practice administration.
Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which countries have set up compensation programmes for people developing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease caused by human growth hormone.
Mr. Sackville: I understand that the French Government have offered to compensate families of children treated with growth hormone between January 1984 and May 1985 who contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease provided they agree not to proceed with the litigation over the treatment programme. The extent to which this offer was taken up is not known. In the United Kingdom, the treatment was provided in good faith and conformed with the best known scientific and medical advice available at that time. In the circumstances, compensation is not appropriate without proof of negligence.
Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with whom junior hospital doctors will make their contracts following the reform of the health authorities; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Malone: The Government intend that the training programmes of registrars and senior registrars and, in future, those of doctors in the proposed new unified training grade, will be managed at regional level by postgraduate medical deans. Discussions continue with postgraduate deans and with the medical profession more widely on the appropriate locus for employment contracts.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are her latest estimates of the expenditure on all external consultants, including management consultants, for each year since 1987, in 1994 prices, for her Department and its agencies; and what are the quantified annual cost savings which such expenditure has resulted in.
Mr. Sackville: The Department of Health has spent the following amounts, in 1994 prices, from running costs on consultancy since its establishment as a separate Department.
1990 91: £20,974,000
1991 92: £26,007,000
1992 93: £18,977,000
1993 94: £15,933,037
The Department is unable to separately identify those savings that were made as a direct result of consultancy expenditure.
Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to respond to the report of the United Nations committee on implementation of the UN convention on the rights of the child regarding her policies with regard to the physical punishment of children; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of (a) France and (b) other EU countries in respect of (i) the establishment of normal political and commercial relations with the Government of Rwanda and (ii) granting permission to the new Government of Rwanda to draw on loan facilities offered by the Bretton Woods institutions.
Mr. Baldry: It is not for the British Government to explain the policies of other European countries.
Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about current EU relations with Zaire; and if Governments of the United States, Belgium and France still agree on how to take forward the troika negotiations with Zaire which they have been conducting on behalf of the OECD countries.
Mr. Baldry: The European Union continues to attach great importance to progress in Zaire towards democracy,
Column 371greater respect for human rights and economic reconstruction. I understand that the informal co-ordination of policy towards Zaire between the United States, Belgium and France continues.
Mr. Elletson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed human rights in Russia with the Russian Government; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Davis: We and our partners in the European Union have made clear to the Russian Government our concerns about violations of human rights following their military intervention in Chechnya. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed this with Foreign Minister Kozyrev most recently by telephone on 19 January, and will have another opportunity when he meets him in Stockholm on 14 February. We have encouraged the Russians to accept assistance of the Organisation for Security and Co- operation in Europe in finding a solution in Chechnya, and one of the focuses of its attention will be human rights issues.
Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria will govern his decision on who will represent his Department at the world summit for social development in Copenhagen in March.
Mr. Baldry: A final decision on attendance at the summit will be taken nearer the date.
Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will support the inclusion of a new commitment on health and education in the programme of action for the world summit on social development as proposed by the G7 at the final PrepCom in New York in January.
Mr. Baldry: We welcome the proposal for a new commitment on education, which may include health issues. The final text of this commitment will be negotiated during the summit.
Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to strengthen the commitment relating to debt relief in the programme of action for the world summit on social development, with particular reference to multilateral debt relief.
Mr. Baldry: The United Kingdom sees debt relief as an important factor in alleviating poverty and will continue to work for improved references in the documentation in line with UK policy initiatives.
Mr. Patten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those public bodies for which he retains departmental responsibility; which of these bodies have been identified as suitable for placing in the private sector; and by when it is expected each of these bodies will enter the private sector.
Mr. Goodlad: A full list of public bodies for which the FCO retains responsibility is published in the index to "Public Bodies 1994".
Column 372It was announced in the Queen's Speech on 16 November 1994 that the Government plan to introduce legislation in the current Session of Parliament to transfer the Crown Agents to the private sector. It is expected that the transfer will be completed within a few months of the Bill receiving Royal Assent.
In addition, the Natural Resources Institute, currently an agency of the Overseas Development Administration, has been identified as a candidate for transfer of ownership to the private sector.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if United Kingdom sales of arms to Indonesia meet the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe principles on arms sales; and if those principles were agreed by Her Majesty's Government.
Mr. Goodlad: Yes. The principles governing arms transfers agreed by the forum for security co-operation of the Conference for Security and Co- operation in Europe in November 1993 are among the criteria we consider in examining applications for licences to export defence equipment.
Mr. Elletson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will consult the Russian Government in respect of its policy towards Mr. Sergei Kovalev, Russia's human rights ombudsman.
Mr. David Davis: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will have the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues, including human rights questions, when he meets Foreign Minister Kozyrev in Stockholm on 14 February.
Mr. Elletson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Her Majesty's ambassador to Russia last met Mr. Sergei Kovalev, Russia's human rights ombudsman, to discuss human rights.
Mr. David Davis: Her Majesty's ambassador to Russia last met Mr. Sergei Kovalev on 31 January 1995.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice has been given by Gibraltar's customs, port and police authorities to ship's masters whose transhipments within Gibraltar's waters were illegal under the imports and export ordinance; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Davis: Ship's masters are informed that it is an offence to trans-ship goods without the prior permission of the Customs Department, and that offences are liable to heavy penalties and imprisonment.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking with the Spanish authorities on their advice to ship's masters to ignore the attempts by the customs, port and police authorities endeavours to enforce the imports and exports ordinance within Gibraltar's waters; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Davis: In the wake of two recent incidents, we believe that the Spanish authorities are fully aware of
Column 373the requirements of the imports and exports ordinance, and of Gibraltar's determination that it shall be enforced.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are his latest estimates of the expenditure on all external consultants, including management consultants, for each year since 1987, in 1994 prices, for his Department and its agencies; and what are the quantified annual cost savings which such expenditure has resulted in.
Mr. Goodlad: The table shows the relevant information for expenditure on external consultants by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office diplomatic and aid wings in 1992 93 and 1993 94 and estimated expenditure in 1994 95 as at 31 December 1994.
Similar information on expenditure from 1987 to 1991, and quantified annual cost savings resulting from expenditure on external consultants since 1987, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Most of the expenditure by the aid wing has been incurred on the engagement of consultants under the overseas aid programme.
£ million |Diplomatic|Aid |wing |wing --------------------------------------------------------------- 1992-93 |13.2 |107 1993-94 |14.2 |252 1994-95 (to 31 December 1994) |9.7 |257