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Kenya

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Kenya about human rights and good governance issues. [15413]

Mr. Hanley: We maintain a regular dialogue with the Kenyan Government on a wide range of issues including those of good governance and human rights.

Land Mines

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will update his answer to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) of 31 January 1994, Official Report, column 496 on land mines. [15628]

Mr. Hanley: Since April 1993, the ODA has funded the following humanitarian mine clearing operations totalling some £12.713 million. Details are set out in the table. In addition, the UK share of European funded projects from 1 January 1993 to 31 December 1995 is over £1.936 million.

19 Feb 1996 : Column: 19

30DA mine clearance actions since April 1993 (as at 15 February 1996)
£

CountryProject1993-94 1994-95 1995-96
Afghanistan Halo: Mine clearance and mine awareness in the Shomali Valley 416,131223,087275,000
Afghanistan UNOCHA: Minefield surveying, planning and management; mine awareness; clearance and clearance training 500,0001,000,000750,000
Angola MAG: Minefield survey and marking (4 months) Luena, Moxico province, Phase I (£223,243) and Phase II (£498,825) --722,068300,000
Angola Halo: Recce, surveying and demining (5 months) Benguela/Kuito corridor Phase I (£259,243) and Phase II (£640,430 +£103,570)--899,430303,570
Angola Central Mines Action Office within UCAH: two staff posts for one year + equipment and office support costs --226,029--
Cambodia Halo: Mine clearance in Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap 277,142376,549198,350
Cambodia MAG: Mine clearance in Battambang 50,625316,876271,388
CambodiaSupport of Cambodian Mine Action Centre (through UNDP) 1,133,3331,000,000--
N. Iraq MAG: Training and mine clearance in Halabja 200,439--444,750
Laos MAG: Mine eradication and community education programme in Xieng Khouang Province ----454,386
Laos UNDP: 6 months x Programme Management Adviser (PMA) to support Lao national mine clearance programme + 12 months x UN Volunteer to support PMA----89,000
Mozambique Halo: Demining of roads in Zambezia Province (Phases I and II) 574,586414,832561,000
Rwanda Support to UN training and equipment of Rwanda mine clearance teams: 20 x Schiebel 19/2 detectors --30,000--
Somalia NW Rimfire: Mine clearance training; clearance management; mine awareness in and around Hargeisa ------
Yemen Support to UN appeal --100,000--
Global Defence Research Agency: 6 months research into mine detection --104,928--
Global Contribution to UNDHA's Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Clearance --500,000--
Total 3,152,2565,913,7993,647,444
Total of ODA's Bilateral mine clearance/awareness actions since April 1993 12,713,499

19 Feb 1996 : Column: 21

19 Feb 1996 : Column: 21

HEALTH

Road Traffic Act 1988

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to repealing section 157 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (a) in total and (b) for pensioners only. [14306]

Mr. Horam: None. Charges under the Road Traffic Act 1988 provide valuable income to the national health service.

GP's Fees

Mr. French: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about general medical practitioners claiming fees from their local health authorities for services to individual patients which they do not provide; what assessment he has made of the costs to his Department of this practice; and what safeguards exist to prevent it. [15074]

Mr. Malone: Management controls within individual health authorities should ensure that fees are paid only to general medical practitioners for services which they have provided. Payments are subject to scrutiny by both internal and external auditors. Any false fee claims will affect only the distribution of incomes to general medical practitioners but will not increase the overall cost of general medical services.

19 Feb 1996 : Column: 22

Health Care Trusts

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if health care trusts are required to seek competitive tenders for purchases of equipment for hospitals; and if he will make a statement. [16034]

Mr. Horam: There is a statutory requirement to invite competitive tenders where the aggregate value of the national health service contracting authority's purchase, hire or lease of specified goods or equipment over a 12-month period exceeds £108,667. The only permitted exceptions are on grounds of:


Below the statutory threshold, competitive tenders for purchase of equipment would normally be required under a health authority's or NHS trust's standing financial instructions. Any decision to waive such a requirement,

19 Feb 1996 : Column: 23

except on de minimis grounds, would require the explicit approval of the board, and reasons would be recorded for audit scrutiny.

Ombudsman

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to extend the powers of the health service ombudsman. [15568]

Mr. Horam: The Health Service Commissioners (Amendment) Bill is currently being considered in another place. The Bill proposes to extend the powers of the commissioner to allow him to investigate complaints involving clinical judgment and family health services. The intention, subject to Royal Assent, is to implement this change from 1 April this year.

Campbells Soups

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many inspections on matters relating to hygiene have been carried out on the Campbells Soups plant in King's Lynn in each of the last five years;[15362]

Mr. Horam: The information requested is not held centrally. Enforcement of food hygiene law at local level, including hygiene inspection visits, is a matter for individual food authorities.

Medical Insurance

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultations he has had with the Association of British Insurers concerning guidance given by individual insurers to insured accident patients in respect of disclosure of insurance cover when presenting at NHS hospitals; and if he will make a statement. [15989]

Mr. Malone: None. It is departmental policy that treatment in national health service accident and emergency departments is free. If, however, patients subsequently require emergency in-patient admission, they can choose either NHS treatment or private treatment at an NHS hospital or independent hospital. Many private medical insurance policies cover emergency as well as elective in-patient admissions.

Retired Ambulance Trust Employees (Insurance)

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been agreed with the Association of British Insurers concerning the use of former ambulance trust employees on early retirement schemes to use their own cars to drive ambulant patients to out-patient clinics; and if he will make a statement. [15993]

Mr. Horam: No such guidance has been agreed. It is for local ambulance services to decide what use to make of volunteer car drivers. Ambulance services will ensure that any use of a private car is within the terms of the volunteer's motor insurance policy.

19 Feb 1996 : Column: 24

Prescription Costs

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 13 February, Official Report, column 562, if he will specify the total cost of prescriptions issued per practice divided by the number of patients on the list for (a) the totality of general practice fundholders and (b) non-fundholders for each year. [15983]

Mr. Malone: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 13 February, column 562. Information split between fundholding general practitioners and non-fundholding general practitioners is readily available only nationally. Analysis below the national level would involve special computer programming and substantial cost.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the total number of prescriptions issued in the latest year for which figures are available; what was the total revenue from prescription charges in connection with those prescriptions; and what was the average charge per prescription in that year. [15873]

Mr. Malone: Some 456 million prescription items were dispensed in England in 1994. We estimate that for over 80 per cent. of these items, the recipients were exempt, charges were remitted, or were not payable. The time at which income is brought to account means that items dispensed in 1994 correspond most closely to receipts for the financial year 1994-95. Charge income in 1994-95, including income from prescription prepayment certificates, was £287 million. The charge for each prescription item was £4.25 from April 1993 and £4.75 from April 1994.


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