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Electro-physiological Technologists

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what review he is undertaking of the pay of electro- physiological technologists within the NHS; and to which pay review body he intends to allocate these workers for future pay reviews. [85515]

Mr. Denham: On February 15 1999, the Health Department published proposals for modernising the National Health Service pay system in "Agenda for Change". This included the possibility of moving some highly qualified health professionals into the remit of the Nurses, Midwives, Health Visitors and Professions Allied to Medicine Review Body.

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Discussions have recently opened between representatives of NHS trade unions and management representatives from NHS employers and the four Health Departments on the basis of our proposals for modernising the NHS pay system. We will develop the proposed changes in a spirit of partnership.

It is too early to comment on proposals for specific staff groups.

Staffordshire Ambulance Service

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received from (a) organisations, (b) hon. Members and (c) others about the response rate times achieved by Staffordshire Ambulance Service. [85535]

Mr. Hutton: We have received no representations in the last six months about Staffordshire Ambulance Service's response times.

Child Migrant Trust

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the first payment from the travel fund for the Child Migrant Trust will be made; and if he will make a statement. [85654]

Mr. Hutton: The travel Support Fund for former child migrants is administered by the International Social Service, who will purchase travel tickets on a child migrant's behalf. A daily allowance is then paid to the child migrant for up to 14 days spent in this country. The first assisted child migrant arrived in the United Kingdom in the week beginning 31 May.

The Child Migrants Trust receive a central grant towards the tracing and counselling services which they provide for former child migrants. This is paid quarterly, the first payment having been made at the beginning of May.

NICE (Work Programme)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 19 May 1999, Official Report, column 376, on cancer, which new and existing technologies are being considered for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence's work programme; and if he will make a statement. [85660]

Mr. Denham: Ministers will be announcing shortly a number of new and existing technologies which will be referred to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence as part of its first year's work programme. Cancer treatments are amongst those under consideration.

Strokes

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what actions his Department intends to take in order to assist people suffering from the after effects of strokes. [85512]

Mr. Hutton: The National Service Framework for Older People was launched in November 1998, and will focus on those parts of the National Health Service that are particularly important to older people. Stroke care is one of the key issues it will consider. This work will set national standards and define service models, put in place

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strategies to support implementation, and establish performance measures against which progress within an agreed time scale can be measured.

In addition, the Department is funding other initiatives on stroke, including a sentinel audit of stroke services, the development of Clinical Guidelines on stroke rehabilitation and the revision of the Effective Health Care Bulletin on stroke rehabilitation.

Children's Rights

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's progress in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. [86123]

Mr. Hutton: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides comprehensive coverage of a wide range of children's rights for implementation by States Parties. The Convention requires that a comprehensive report on the progress of implementation is prepared at regular intervals. The second United Kingdom report covering the period 1993-1998 will be published soon.

Residential Nursing Homes

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many council-managed residential and nursing homes have been closed in the Leeds, Central constituency in the last two years; how many people were affected; and what the cost was of the closures including the relocation of the occupants. [85707]

Mr. Hutton: Details of home closures and the attached costs are not collected centrally. We understand, however, that Leeds City Council manages 25 residential care homes for older people and that over the last two years four homes were closed. These homes accommodated 163 people. For further details on location, costs and any alternative arrangements made, the hon. Member may wish to contact the local authority direct.

Trade Unions

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the dates since 1 January on which he has had official meetings with representatives of (a) UNISON, (b) MSF, (c) RCN, (d) BMA, (e) RCM, (f) professions allied to medicine and (g) other trade unions; and if he will make a statement on his policy on when (i) to meet trade unions and (ii) to speak at their annual conferences. [86022]

Mr. Denham: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met with the Royal College of Nursing on 28 January 1999, the Royal College of Midwives on 4 February 1999 and the British Medical Association on 11 May 1999. He also met with the Trades Union Congress health service unions on 16 March 1999 and attended UNISON's conference in Brighton on 28 April 1999.

Ministers regularly meet representatives from trade unions and other professional bodies in a variety of forums to discuss matters of mutual interest.

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NHS Budgets

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the budgeted surplus or deficit for each (i) National Health Service authority and (ii) National Health Trust in England for the financial year 1999-2000. [86033]

Mr. Denham: The information requested will be available shortly and will be placed in the Library.

Medical Laboratory Scientific Officers

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to review the salary structure of state-registered medical laboratory scientific officers; and if he will make a statement. [85646]

Mr. Denham: The salary structure for medical laboratory scientific officers is negotiated in the Professional and Technical Staffs Whitley Council. The Council has been discussing MLSO pay in the light of reported recruitment and retention problems and will meet on 10 June to consider the National Health Service management side's offer to substantially improve the pay of Trainee MLSOs, MLSO1s and the starting pay of MLSO2s.

For the longer term, on 15 February 1999 the Health Departments published proposals for modernising the NHS pay system in "Agenda for Change". Discussions have opened between representatives from NHS employers, trades unions and the four Health Departments. We will develop the proposed changes in a spirit of partnership. Our aim is a pay system which gives employers effective ways of rewarding people for taking on more responsibility and developing new skills.

Royal Hospital, Haslar

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many letters he has received concerning the future of the Royal Hospital, Haslar; and of these, how many supported its closure and how many opposed it. [85552]

Mr. Denham: Since 14 December 1998, the Department has received around 1,500 letters from members of the public, councillors and local hon. Members on the future of the Royal Hospital, Haslar. All letters received have opposed the closure.

Drugs and Procedures (Rationing)

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the drugs or procedures which are currently rationed in the National Health Service. [86064]

Mr. Denham: No drugs or procedures are rationed in the National Health Service. Some procedures, such as drugs on the selected list scheme introduced by the Conservative Government, are restricted through central direction.

National Institute for Clinical Excellence

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact

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which the National Institute for Clinical Excellence will have on regional variations in the delivery of health services. [85027]

Mr. Denham: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) will issue clear and robust guidance that will seek to address regional variations in the provision of clinical and cost-effective treatments.

We are working with the professions to produce National Service Frameworks and clinical guidelines which will give us maximum national efficiency whilst still allowing for appropriate local and individual responsiveness.

We are determined to tackle "post-code prescribing" caused by the market approach to health care. NICE will provide a single source of reliable guidance about effectiveness, which will provide a sound basis for decision-making for the whole country.


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