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Special Advisers

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the special advisers in his Department and indicate the subjects on which they advise. [12330]

The Prime Minister: The special advisers in No. 10 Downing street and their responsibilities are as follows:

Jonathan PowellChief of Staff
Kate GarveyDiary
Anji HunterPlanning and Visits
Fiona Miller (part time)Assistants to Mrs. Blair
Roz Preston (part time)
No. 10 Policy Unit
David MillibandDirector of Policy, Education
Derek ScottEconomy
James PurnellCulture, Media and Sport and Office of Public Service
Robert HillHealth and Local Government
Liz LloydAgriculture, Environment and Home Affairs
Pat McFaddenConstitutional Reform
Geoffrey NorrisTrade and Industry, Transport and Regional Policy
Roger LiddleEurope, Defence
Peter HymanCommunications
Geoff MulganSocial Exclusion
No. 10 Press Office
Alastair CampbellPress Secretary
Tim AllanNo. 10 Press Office
Hillary CoffmanNo. 10 Press Office

Security Service

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister what files on individuals held by the Security Service were brought into the public domain as a result of the statement made by Mr. Shayler; and if he will make a statement. [13356]

The Prime Minister: No files have been released into the public domain as a result of Mr. Shayler's statements to the press.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the prime Minister if Mr. Shayler is to be allowed to give evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee. [13425]

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The Prime Minister: This is a matter for the Committee itself to decide.

Telephone Tapping

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister if it is Govnerment policy that interception of telephones of hon. Members by the Security Service requires his authorisation; and if he will make a statement. [13358]

The Prime Minister: This Government's policy on the interception of telephones of Members of Parliament remains as stated in 1966 by the then Prime Minister, the Lord Wilson of Rievaulx, and as applied by successive Governments since. In answer to questions on 17 November 1966, Lord Wilson said that he had given instructions that there was to be no tapping of the telephones of Members of Parliament and that, if there were a development which required such a change of policy, he would at such moment as seemed compatible with the security of the country, on his own initiative, make a statement in the House about it.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Edinburgh. [13003]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the Statement I made in the House, Official Report, columns 707-709.


Grace and Favour Residences

Mr. Ernie Ross: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, which Officers of the House enjoy grace and favour residences; and what is (a) their rateable value, (b) their market rent, (c) the rent actually paid and (d) the total amount of public funds spent on renovation of each property over the past 10 years. [12457]

Mr. Kirkwood [holding answer 31 July 1997]: There are no grace and favour residences in the parliamentary precincts. However, certain Officers of the House are required to reside in the precincts when the House is in session. It is not the practice to give details of the conditions of service of individual staff.

Expenditure on the refurbishment of the residences since 1 April 1993 has totalled £169,000. Figures for earlier years are not available.


Childbirth Costs

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the average cost of childbirth in the NHS in England and Wales including ante-natal and post-natal care for each of the last five years. [12956]

Mr. Boateng: The average cost of childbirth in the national health service in England, including ante-natal and post-natal care provided both in hospitals and the

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community, is shown in the attached table. Questions relating to Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Total expenditure on maternity services (hospital and community)--in £000s1,011,8571,007,0651,006,5461,012,530(2)1,048,651
Total numbers of births (livebirths and stillbirths)654,561640,094632,539616,663617,529
Average cost per birth£1,546£1,573£1,591£1,642£1,698


(2) Provisional.


Office of National Statistics, Key Population and Vital Statistics 1992, 1993, 1994, VS5 Tables 1995, 1996.

Annual financial returns of health authority directly managed units and NHS trusts.

Hospital Appointment Cancellations

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to issue guidance to health authorities and NHS trusts on methods to reduce cancellations by hospital outpatients, with specific reference to the use of post and phone reminder systems. [12810]

Mr. Boateng: Best practice guidance, including the issuing of reminder letters and the use of freephones and answer-phones, to reduce non-attendance in outpatients clinics was issued by the NHS executive's north-west office and has been widely distributed throughout the NHS. Copies are available in the Library.

The Government are developing a new NHS charter which, among other things, will be looking for a proper balance between patients' rights and their responsibilities towards the NHS. This includes keeping appointments or informing the NHS if they are unable to do so.


Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the average cost of a first trimester NHS abortion in England and Wales for each of the last five years. [12957]

Ms Jowell: Information on the costs of specific operations is not held centrally because of a number of factors including the many different types of operations, the variation in cost from hospital to hospital and the logistics of administering such a diverse range of data.

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Charging Policy (Disabled People)

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of current charging policies on disabled people and carers; and if he will introduce national guidelines on charging. [13308]

Mr. Boateng: Under the current system whereby local authorities have complete discretion, there are considerable variations in local authority charging practices. We are looking at how this may be addressed both in the short-term and as part of a fundamental review of long-term care.

Hospitals (Cornwall)

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if the statements made by the Minister of State in Torbay on 23 October 1997 in response to questions about the threatened closures and cuts in Cornwall's community hospitals represent Government policy; [13180]

Mr. Boateng: During media interviews on 23 October, my noble Friend the Minister of State made general points about the need to see improved community services to enable patients to be treated in their own homes, rather than in hospital. My noble Friend did not comment upon, or pass judgment on, the service review of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly health authority.

Dental Health (Children)

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies his Department has evaluated relating to the level of plutonium in the teeth of children (a) in the Sellafield area and (b) elsewhere in the Untied Kingdom; what were the results of these surveys; and if he will make a statement. [13210]

Ms. Jowell: A study, jointly funded by the Department of Health, the Department of Trade and Industry and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Agency entitled "Variations in the concentration of plutonium, strontium-90 and total alpha-emitters in human teeth collected within the British Isles" was published in "The Science of the Total Environment 201 (1997) 235-243". Copies of the study have been placed in the Library.

The results of the study suggest that the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant may contribute to the plutonium found in teeth in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. However the levels of plutonium measured were 1,000 times less than other radioactive substances also present in teeth from natural sources. The authors have acknowledged that the levels of plutonium were so low that they present an insignificant risk to health.

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