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Private Finance

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list those NHS projects involving private finance initiative which (a) have been completed and (b) are in progress.

Mr. Sackville: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Betts) on 3 November 1994, column 1269 , for the latest information available.

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list those projects that Newchurch has advised her Department are suitable for private investment.

Mr. Sackville: Newchurch and Co. does not advise the Department on the suitability of projects for private investment.

It was engaged to set up and operate a database and inquiry point. This database provides market intelligence on both new and existing private finance experience in the national health service.

Colchester General Hospital

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many geriatric beds and psychiatric beds were available in the district health authority area containing Colchester general hospital in each of the last five years.

Mr. Bowis: The number of geriatric beds and mental illness beds in the North Essex district health authority area is shown in the table:


Average available beds, wards open night and day            

               |Geriatric     |Mental illness               

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

1989-90        |876           |698                          

1990-91        |708           |643                          

1991-92        |666           |598                          

1992-93        |668           |580                          

1993-94        |626           |532                          

Note:                                                       

For 1991-92 and earlier years, figures are for three        

district health authorities Mid Essex, North East Essex and 

West Essex. In 1992-93 Essex Rivers Healthcare trust was    

formed 1993-94 figures are for Mid Essex Hospital Services  

trust, Essex Rivers Healthcare trust, Essex and Herts       

health services, and Mid-Essex mental health services.      

Source:                                                     

KHO3 returns.                                               

Bed numbers have declined because of the move from secondary care to care in the community, through for example nursing home contracts and general practitioner managed beds.

Mixed Wards

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on mixed wards containing acute medical, geriatric and psychiatric patients; and what guidance she issues on the mix of such patients.

Mr. Bowis: Hospital doctors are responsible for making decisions about the appropriate placement of individual patients, based on what is best for the patient's condition and in the light of available beds.

General Practitioner Savings

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the advertisement placed


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in the East Anglian Daily Times on 4 February by the Brett-Stour non-fundholding consortium in respect of savings it claims to have achieved for public funds.

Mr. Malone: None.

Drug Addiction

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will indicate what percentage of general practitioners provide a comprehensive service for patients with drug addiction problems.

Mr. Bowis: General practitioners are contracted to provide general medical services to all their patients, including those with drug addiction problems.

Core Values

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on care values in the NHS.

Mr. Sackville: I understand the question refers to core values. The core purpose of the national health service is to secure through the resources available the greatest possible improvement in the physical and mental health of the people of England by promoting health, preventing ill health, diagnosing and treating injury and disease and caring for those with long-term illness and disability.

Hospital and Community Health Services

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the cash allocations for hospital and community health services in total and for each district health authority and health commission purchase trust and special health services authority for (a) 1994 95, (b) 1995 96 and (c) subsequent financial years.

Mr. Sackville: The 1994 95 initial revenue cash allocations for each district health authority and in total will be placed in the Library. From 1994 95, the postgraduate special health authorities acquire the status of provider, and we no longer make allocations to them, beyond the specific funding for research and development. The 1994 95 initial revenue cash allocations for the remaining special health authorities are:

National Blood Authority--£5,185,000

UK Transplant Support Services Authority--£3,706,000

Information for 1995 96 has not been collected yet and for subsequent years decisions have not been taken.

Trusts and health commissions receive no direct allocations: trusts because they must earn all their income; and health commissions because they exist only as a managerial arrangement for some district health authorities and family health services authorities, and are not statutory bodies.

Pay Awards

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the cost to her Department's budget in 1995 96 of implementing in full the recommendations of the Review Body for Nursing Staff, Midwives, Health Visitors, and Professions Allied to Medicine, assuming no changes in staff numbers; and how much of the cost would be borne by (a) direct expenditure by her Department, (b) national health service trusts and (c) grants and loans to local authorities.

Mr. Malone: The cost in England of implementing in full the recommendations of the Review Body for Nursing


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Staff, Midwives, Health Visitors, and Professions Allied to Medicine amounts to between £105 million and £211 million for national health service trusts and health authorities, of which between £800,000 and £1.6 million is direct expenditure by the Department. The costs represent the upper and lower levels of the range of improvements expected by the review body. Information is not available centrally in respect of grants and loans to local authorities.

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the cost to her Department's budget in 1995 96 of implementing in full the recommendations of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, assuming no changes in staff numbers; and how much of the cost would be borne by (a) direct expenditure by her Department, (b) national health service trusts and (c) grants and loans to local authorities.

Mr. Malone: The cost in England of implementing in full the national recommendations of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration amounts to £120 million for national health service trusts and health authorities of which £160,000 is direct expenditure by the Department. Information is not available centrally in respect of grants and loans to local authorities.

Residential Care

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if she will review her policy on local authorities making top-up payments towards the cost of residential or nursing home care for residents with preserved entitlements to Department of Social Security benefits; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Bowis: We have no plans to bring forward legislation to amend local authorities' current powers to provide financial support for people with preserved rights to the higher levels of income support. Levels of benefits to which preserved rights apply are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security.

Residential Child Care

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will establish a formal inquiry into residential child care provision run by Buckinghamshire county council social services department; and if she will make a statement;

(2) what reports she has received from the social services inspectorate with regard to child care provision in Buckinghamshire; what action has been taken as a consequence; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Bowis: I have not received any reports from the social services inspectorate with regard to child care provision in Buckinghamshire. I have received a copy of a letter from Buckinghamshire social services to the editor of The Independent in response to newspaper stories in that paper, which I understand has been copied to the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett).

The social services inspectorate will be carrying out one of its regular inspections in Buckinghamshire in the next few months and will, no doubt, report back to me if it has any concerns. If the hon. Gentleman has any evidence of which he thinks it or I should be aware, I should be grateful if he would forward this to me without delay.


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Generic Prescribing

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her answer of 3 February, Official Report , column 874 , if she will give the aggregate cost of (a) generic and (b) brand named prescriptions for each year for each family health service authority, broken down by fundholders and non-fundholders.

Mr. Malone: The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the total surpluses and deficits made by trusts in each region in 1993 94.

Mr. Sackville: This information is shown in the table.


Total Surpluses and Deficits made by Trusts in each Regional      

Health Authority in 1993-94                                       

                  |Total          |Total                          

                  |surpluses      |deficits                       

Regional health   |£000s          |£000s                          

authority<1>                                                      

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

East Anglia       |8,740          |0                              

Oxford            |7,161          |332                            

Mersey            |10,256         |2,144                          

North Western     |6,697          |0                              

North East Thames |27,771         |2,713                          

North West Thames |28,585         |5,078                          

Northern          |10,656         |0                              

Yorkshire         |10,490         |447                            

South East Thames |12,494         |0                              

South West Thames |9,142          |1,538                          

South Western     |24,196         |437                            

Wessex            |7,740          |1,441                          

Trent             |17,806         |0                              

West Midlands     |21,107         |3,259                          

                                                                  

Total             |202,842        |17,389                         

Source:                                                           

1993-94 NHS Trust Published Accounts.                             

Note:                                                             

<1> Regional Health Authority boundaries as existed in the        

financial year 1993-94.                                           

TRANSPORT

Security Services

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what precise proportion of the posts identified in the efficiency savings exercise for security services provided by Transec is currently engaged on inspectorial and investigatory duties.

Mr. Norris: Forty three per cent. The reduction in posts is part of my Department's general drive for increased efficiency, and will be achieved through a combination of more efficient working practices and the fact that several projects are nearing completion. It is the responsibility of industry to provide front-line security staff and equipment, the level of which will not be affected by these changes.

Tyre Pressure Gauges

Mr. Mills: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what monitoring he is carrying out of the accuracy of tyre pressure gauges at garages and service stations.


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Mr. Jonathan Evans: I have been asked to reply.

None. Under Council directive 86/217/EEC on tyre pressure gauges, some garage forecourts may be equipped with gauges carrying the mark of EEC initial verification, in which case their performance would be monitored by trading standards officers.

DEFENCE

Tendering Process

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to give greater weight to the assessment of the quality of bids during the tendering process; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman: We would expect tenderers to present their proposals in the format requested in the invitation to tender, and to a standard commensurate with a professional organisation. Tender evaluation takes into account all relevant factors and the quality or standard of a tender would be one such factor. In a close competition in which bidders' proposals were evenly matched, the quality of a proposal could offer an indication of the commitment and management capabilities of the competitors and assist in final selection.

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he is taking so that tendering procedures are improved by allowing greater flexibility in the choice of procurement route; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman: To secure the best value for money, taking account of quality, performance, delivery, risk and cost, it has been our practice with market testing exercises positively to encourage tenderers to submit solutions which, through a reasonable relaxation of the terms of the invitation to tender, or the adoption of an alternative approach to meeting the essential requirement, might prove cost effective. We are now extending that approach to equipment procurement to ensure contractors are aware of our willingness to consider innovative bids in this area also.

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he is taking to streamline tendering procedures; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman: A number of initiatives from a comprehensive review of contractual policy and procedures carried out in 1992, and more recently the defence costs study, are in the course of

implementation. These include the use of pre-qualification procedures to reduce the number of tenderers to those best qualified to meet the requirement; providing greater visibility of tender evaluation criteria; and making increased usage of the "Possible Future Purchases" section in the "Defence Contracts Bulletin".

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he is taking to improve the standard of specifications in tendering procedures; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman: We recognise the importance of stating our requirements in clear and unambiguous terms and will continue to work to improve the quality of specifications and related material such as acceptance criteria and configuration control arrangements, supported by taut contractual terms. This can include consultation with


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industry on draft specifications to encourage innovation and optimise possible trade-offs between performance and price. We have also taken steps to improve training for staff in the preparation of specifications.

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to restrict tender lists to no more than three companies; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman: Our aim in producing tender lists is to select a field that is likely to lead to the keenest competition between firms which are considered capable of meeting all the obligations set out in the invitation to tender. To achieve this aim, and reduce the cost of the competitive process to both the Department and industry, we would normally develop tender lists of around six bidders for each competition. We consider that this approach, which was agreed in consultation with industry, strikes the right balance.

Rhine Forces (Returning Personnel)

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what arrangements are being made in respect of married quarters in the United Kingdom for service personnel formerly serving in the Rhine forces and posted to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

(2) how many married families will return to Britain from the Rhine forces in the next 12 months.

Mr. Soames: An estimated 7,500 Army families will return from Germany this year, and around 1,400 RAF families are expected to return between 1 April 1995 and 31 March 1996. There are at present no significant numbers of naval personnel serving in Germany. A number of accommodation options are open to service personnel returning to the United Kingdom on posting from Germany. They may either move into their own homes or seek to purchase their own property; move into vacant service families accommodation at or near their place of duty; or, if no suitable vacant SFA is available, they may claim excess rent allowance which will allow them to rent a property in the private sector. A number of SFA properties have been held vacant to accommodate returning families.

Three Para

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how long the mock-up from of the Vauxhall Astra car involved in the incident for which Private Lee Clegg was jailed was on display in the mess of Three Para; why it was removed; what disciplinary action was taken against (a) the soldiers who made it and (b) the officers who allowed it to be displayed; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: The mock-up of the Vauxhall Astra was put up in the cookhouse shortly before the battalion's Christmas lunch. It was noticed by officers in the battalion during the lunch and it was immediately ordered to be removed. No disciplinary action was taken against the soldiers involved in making it, but the officer who should have taken steps to prevent the mock-up from being displayed was not permitted to convert his short service commission to become a regular officer.


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Nuclear Programme

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what work is carried out by (a) the Sandia National Laboratories, (b) the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and (c) the Los Alamos National Laboratories on behalf of the United Kingdom Government.

Mr. Freeman: The United Kingdom defence nuclear programme benefits from some of the work carried out in these laboratories by virtue of technology exchanges under the 1958 United States/United Kingdom mutual defence agreement.

Agreement

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list all the exchange of information and visit reports that have occurred in the last five years as part of the 1958 United States/United Kingdom mutual defence agreement, the Polaris sales agreement and the Trident sales agreement.

Mr. Freeman: This information could be produced only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British personnel are stationed in the United States as part of (a) the 1958 United States/United Kingdom mutual defence agreement, (b) the Polaris sales agreement and (c) the trident sales agreement; and where they are located.

Mr. Freeman: The number of British personnel stationed in the United States as part of the 1958 United States/United Kingdom mutual defence agreement is five; they are located in the United Kingdom embassy, Washington DC. There are 20 British personnel stationed in the United States as part of the Polaris sales agreement, as amended for Trident; they are located as follows:


                                       |Number of Personnel                    

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

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory |-1                                     

Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia      |-15                                    

King's Bay, Georgia                    |-1                                     

New London, Connecticut                |-1                                     

Laurel, Maryland                       |-1                                     

Dahlgren, Virginia                     |-1                                     

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel were employed in the renegotiation of the 1958 United States/United Kingdom mutual defence agreement; and what was the total cost of the renegotiation.

Mr. Freeman: A number of officials were involved in the amendment to the 1958 United States/United Kingdom mutual defence agreement. It is not possible to identify separately the costs of this work.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list all the joint working groups that are at present operating as part of the 1958 United States/United Kingdom mutual defence agreement, the Polaris sales agreement and the Trident sales agreement.

Mr. Freeman: The joint working groups are the means for technical exchanges under the 1958, United States/United Kingdom mutual defence agreement. Full details of their activities are classified, but I can confirm that the current programme of exchanges includes the following subject areas:


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Neutron Sources

Irradiation Effects on Materials and Components

High Explosives for Nuclear Weapons

Chemistry and Compatibility of Materials

Test Diagnostics

Test Monitoring

Metallurgy of Weapons Materials

Non-Nuclear Components

Underground Effects Testing

Non-Metallic Materials

Weapons Material Management

Nuclear Weapons Engineering

Physics Design

Weapons Hydrodynamics

Computational Technology

Penetration Aid Technology

Aircraft Hardening

Nuclear Weapons Physics

Nuclear Forces and Counter Proliferation Studies

Manufacturing Technology

Experimental Activities

Nuclear Warhead Accident Response Technology

Nuclear Weapon Computer Code Development

Nuclear Weapon Environment and Damage Effects

There are separate arrangements for exchanges under the Polaris sales agreement, as amended for Trident.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people have visited (a) the Pantex plant in America, (b) the Sandia national laboratories, (c) the Los Alamos national laboratories, (d) the Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, (e) the Nevada test site and (f) the Rocky Flats plant on behalf of the United Kingdom Government in each of the last five years as part of the 1958 United States/United Kingdom Mutual Defence Agreement.


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