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Prisons (North-west)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the prisons in the North West which are to be re-categorised in the next few years; and if he will make a statement. [50969]

Ms Quin: The only planned re-categorisation of prisons in the North West is for the removal of females from Risley prison, to allow it to become a dedicated male establishment.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisons in the North West contain detoxification units. [50967]

Mr. George Howarth: There are no specialist drug detoxification units in prisons in the north west as yet. However, the Prison Service has now provided funding for the establishment of a drug detoxification and rehabilitation centre at Risley prison, to be set up in October.

Where a drug detoxification unit is not available, all establishments should be able to provide prisoners with detoxification where needed. Many can be treated on normal location or in the prison health care centre. Where necessary prisoners can be transferred to establishments with specialist detoxification units.

Wymott Prison

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on relations between the Governor and prison staff at HMP Wymott. [50968]

Ms Quin: The governor at Wymott prison considers that relations between him and his staff are satisfactory, after some difficulties over the introduction of new working practices on 21 June. He is working closely with the local branch of the Prison Officers' Association to resolve outstanding areas of concern.

Firearms

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many claims for compensation under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 remain outstanding in respect of the Thames Valley Police Force area. [50936]

Mr. Michael: There are currently 1,066 claims from the Thames Valley Police Force area where payment has not yet been made under Option C of the compensation scheme, the great majority of which have already received a payment under Options A or B. In 28 of these cases, a payment offer has been made and is awaiting acceptance

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by the claimant. There are also a few claims with an Option A or B element outstanding, pending the completion of inquiries from the claimant or the police.

Lord-Lieutenants

Mr. Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Lord-Lieutenants currently serve England. [50262]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The number of Lord-Lieutenants currently serving England is 45. (The position of Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Devon is at present vacant).

Prisons (Suicides)

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the ratio of the number of suicides to inmates in prisons in England and Wales, in each of the last three years, (a) by gender and (b) in total; what discussions he has had with the Scottish Office concerning the prevention of suicides in prisons; and if he will make a statement. [50599]

Ms Quin: The information requested is given in the tables. Officials in the Prison Service for Scotland have with their counterparts in England and Wales discussed strategies on caring for the suicidal in custody. My hon. Friend the Minister for Home Affairs and Devolution, Scottish Office, recently announced a package of strategic measures, which add to and complement the recently introduced Scottish Prison Service Suicide Risk Management Strategy. The measures include the setting up of a task force to examine in detail all the circumstances surrounding the deaths in prison custody in Scotland this year to identify any common factors and lessons to be learned. A member of the Prison Service for England and Wales Suicide Awareness Support Group will form part of the task force, which I understand will report to Ministers later this year.

Self-inflicted deaths among male and female prisoners held in prison establishments in England and Wales 1995-1997 and the rate of self-inflicted deaths per 100,000 annual average population

YearNumber of self-inflicted deathsRate per 100,000 annual average population
Male prisoners
199557116
199662117
199767115
Female prisoners
19952101
1996288
19973112

YearTotal self-inflicted deaths Rate per 100,000 annual average population
All prisoners
199559116
199664116
1997 70115

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HEALTH

NHS Trusts (Administration Charges)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the (a) highest, average and lowest lump sum administration charges and (b) highest, average and lowest photocopying charges per sheet charged by NHS trusts administering general hospitals for access to medical records; and if he will make a statement. [43288]

Mr. Milburn: The information requested is not held centrally and could be collected only at a disproportionate cost. However, the Access to Health Records Act 1990 requires that charges should not exceed the cost of making a copy and posting it, and guidance to National Health Service organisations has made it quite clear that the actual cost is the maximum that should be charged. The actual cost will differ from case to case and can only be determined by the specific organisation involved. Recommending a charge greater than the actual cost in any particular case would contravene the requirements of the Act, and recommending charges consistently lower than actual costs would increase NHS costs. Therefore, the responsibility for determining reasonable charges must remain with individual organisations.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has approved the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's Fourth Code of Practice. [51617]

Ms Jowell: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's revised Code of Practice has been approved and was laid before the House today. Copies of the Code have been placed in the Library.

Haemophiliacs

Mr. Canavan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to respond to the request for financial assistance for people with haemophilia who are infected with hepatitis C as a result of their NHS treatment. [50477]

Ms Jowell: We will be responding as soon as we are in a position to do so.

EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Millennium Volunteers

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he will launch the Millennium Volunteers Scheme. [51051]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Millennium Volunteers demonstration projects are being set up currently with local delivery bodies in eight locations in England, and we will be publishing a guide which invites organisations to apply for funding after the summer.

Tuition Fees

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if the NUS Scotland will be represented on the independent review body to be set up to examine how the Government's proposals for the Scottish fourth year exemption are working. [51045]

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Dr. Howells: We shall announce as soon as possible details of the independent body that is to review the arrangements for fee support for students in the final honours year of first-degree courses at higher education institutions in Scotland. The bodies invited to make representations will include the full range of interests, including students. It will also be open to other bodies and individuals to make representations.

Mathematics Teachers

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he will take to increase the number of available mathematics teachers. [51041]

Ms Estelle Morris: We are determined to raise standards in schools, and good quality teachers--in both phases and all subjects--have an essential role to play in helping us achieve our plans. Maintaining teacher supply is a key challenge facing the Government and the education system. We are working with our partners--the Teacher Training Agency, higher education institutions, schools and others--to meet that challenge. Our response of 29 January to the Education and Employment Select Committee set out the measures we have taken to date.

We have already announced that all students studying to achieve a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education will not have to contribute to tuition fees; and 83 per cent. of mathematics training places are on PGCE courses. In addition, the Teacher Training Agency will provide, through the Secondary Shortage Subject Scheme some £12 million in the coming year to support those in need who wish to train to teach in such subjects, including mathematics. The new employment-based routes to qualified teacher status, aimed at enabling more mature candidates to enter teaching, also will help to boost recruitment.


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