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Electro-convulsive Therapy

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have received ECT in each of the last five years broken down into (a) men, (b) women and (c) ethnic minorities. [37099]

Mr. Bowis: Reliable information on the number of administrations of electro-convulsive therapy treatment is not available centrally.

Care Eligibility Criteria

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's discussions with the Cornwall health authority and Cornwall county council on continuing care eligibility criteria. [37042]

Mr. Bowis: The regional offices of the national health service executive and social services inspectorate are currently working with Cornwall health authority and Cornwall county council, at their request, on the implementation of eligibility criteria.

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which health authorities have not finalised continuing care eligibility criteria. [37041]

Mr. Bowis: Health authorities implemented local policies and eligibility criteria for continuing health care from April 1996. They are required to keep their policies under review and formally to revise their eligibility criteria for April 1997.

Out-patients

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department collates on cancelled out-patient appointments. [37044]

Mr. Horam: None.

Bradford NHS Hospital Trust

Mr. Sutcliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he will make an announcement on the appointment of a new chair for the Bradford Hospital trust; [37046]

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Mr. Horam: The procedures for the appointment of the chairman of Bradford Hospital national health service trust have followed the published guidance from the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Details of the new chairman will be announced shortly.

Bandages

Mr. Terry Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which bandages listed in the drug tariff are direct substitutes for Biflex Thuasne and Velband bandages. [37048]

Mr. Malone: Clinical equivalence is one of a number of factors taken into account when a product is considered for inclusion in the drug tariff. However, information on the clinical equivalence of products is not routinely kept by the Department.

Bad Debts

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 8 July, Official Report, column 25, on bad debts, what is included in the "Other" category. [37101]

Mr. Horam: Other bad debts relate to all debts which are not overseas visitors, private patients, or road traffic accidents. No separate analysis of such debts is available centrally.

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 21 May, Official Report, column 93, when figures for 1995-96 on debtors and bad debts will be available. [37070]

Mr. Horam: Figures for 1995-96 on debtors and bad debts will be available from 30 November 1996.

Specialist Training

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the average time spent in higher specialist training by (a) white doctors and (b) doctors from ethnic minority groups with right of residence. [37154]

Mr. Malone: This information is not available centrally.

Screening

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the strategy for screening for sickle cell anaemia, glaucoma, diabetes and hypertension; and how this strategy relates to members of ethnic minorities. [37024]

Mr. Horam: Individual health authorities are responsible for assessing the needs of their resident populations, including the needs of ethnic minorities, and for purchasing services, including screening, to provide for those needs.

The new National Screening Committee, which will meet for the first time later this year, will advise on national policy for implementation of screening programmes. Decisions are yet to be made on which conditions it will consider.

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NHS Leaflets

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines are in place for translation of NHS leaflets into languages other than English. [37025]

Mr. Horam: The Department of Health produces a substantial quantity of health information translated into languages other than English. Material is targeted at ethnic minority groups either if it is specific to them or where it is every citizen's right to have access to the information. The patients charter and "The Health of the Nation and You" are examples of publications translated into ethnic minority languages.

Health Advocates

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health advocates have been employed in primary care in each of the last five years. [37135]

Mr. Malone: This information is not available centrally.

Immunisation

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what have been the immunisation rates for children (a) nationally and (b) from ethnic minorities for each of the past five years. [37037]

Mr. Horam: Information can be found in the summary information booklet titled "Vaccination and Immunisation Summary Information for 1994-95 England", copies of which are available in the Library.

Information for immunisation rates for ethnic minorities is not available centrally.

AIDS

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the level of spending on AIDS research in each of the last five years. [37043]

Mr. Horam: The amount spent on HIV/AIDS research are as follows:


NATIONAL HERITAGE

Millennium Exhibition

Mr. Purchase: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will list the companies which have guaranteed a donation to the millennium exhibition, together with the sum guaranteed. [34435]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 25 June 1996]: This is a matter for the Millennium Commission. I shall reply to the hon. Member in my capacity as chairman of the commission and place copies of my reply in the Libraries of the House.

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SOCIAL SECURITY

Contributions Agency

Mr. Alan Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the results of the feasibility study for market testing personal details and customer services work for the Contributions Agency. [35684]

Mr. Heald: Operational responsibility for the Contributions Agency lies with Mrs. Faith Boardman, the chief executive. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from George Bertram to Mr. Alan Howarth, dated 12 July 1996:

As the Chief Executive of the Contributions Agency is away from the office, I have responsibility for answering questions about operational matters relating to the Agency in her absence.


War Pensions Agency

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what plans he has to review the procedures of the War Pensions Agency; [35704]

Mr. Heald: These are matters for Mr. Kevin Caldwell, chief executive of the War Pensions Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from K. C. Caldwell to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 11 July 1996:

The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about compensation appeals, review of procedures and correspondence concerning the operations of the War Pensions Agency (WPA).


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    If the appellant's medical history contains relevant information which in the opinion of the Secretary of State would be harmful to the appellant, it is handled under Rule 22 of the PAT Acts and excluded from the appellant's copy of the statement of case. The appellant's representative, the Tribunal and ourselves have copies of the full statement of case with the evidence excluded from the appellant's copy under Rule 22 underlined. Our Medical Advisers provide guidance in this matter to the Secretary of State. Ultimately it is for the Tribunal to decide whether, in the interests of the appellant, the evidence excluded from his/her statement of case should or should not be disclosed. In addition, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 makes it an offence to disclose details of convictions for certain offences and the conduct constituting the offence which led to the conviction. Evidence to which the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act applies would normally be excluded from the statement of case. However, if our Medical Advisers consider that this evidence forms a necessary part of the total evidence, the agreement of the President of the PAT can be sought for inclusion of this in the statement of case.
    You ask about the number of appeals dealt with by WPA in 1995. You will appreciate that appeals processed by WPA during 1995 would not have been heard and decided by the PAT within the same 12 months due to the time involved in preparing and hearing an appeal. During 1995 we prepared and cleared 3,650 entitlement and 4,800 assessment appeals to the PAT. In 1995 the PAT heard 2,762 appeals against entitlement decisions involving 5,326 medical conditions. Of these our decision was upheld on 1,581 appeals (57 per cent.), involving 3,920 medical conditions (74 per cent.) and overturned on 1,181 appeals (43 per cent.), involving 1,406 medical conditions (26 per cent.). The PAT also heard 2,504 assessment appeals and our assessment was upheld on 1,826 (73 per cent.) and overturned on 678 (27 per cent.).
    Information about the number of letters received by the Secretary of State on War Pensions Agency operations is not available. However, the table below shows the number of letters to which Ministers and myself (and my predecessors) replied from April 1994, the date WPA took on Agency status.

12 Jul 1996 : Column: 340

    Number

    April 1994 to March 1995909
    April 1995 to March 19961,015
    April 1996 to June 1996272

    Finally, you also ask about plans we have to review our procedures. We are continually reviewing our processes and procedures in order to meet the high standard of service expected by War Pensioners and War Widows. The operating organisation and procedures in the War Pensions Agency were changed fundamentally during 1995 and for 1996/97 we have set ourselves some major priorities which include continuing the processes of restructuring our business and delivering the benefits of the Departmental Change Programme.

    I hope you find my reply helpful.



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