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Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to draw up regulations to disregard the value of ISA funds backing a mortgage, where someone with an ISA mortgage has to claim (a) Income Support and (b) income-based Jobseeker's Allowance in the same way the value of an endowment policy backing a mortgage is exempted. 
Ms Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what statistics are collected by his Department on evidence of domestic violence in reports prepared by social workers for courts considering issuing child contact orders. 
Reports on evidence of domestic violence would be prepared by court welfare officers, social workers and other relevant staff at the direction of the judge considering applications for child contact orders. As such, the reports would be documents of the court, and therefore not routinely available (unless at the judge's discretion) for wider circulation or statistical analysis.
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Mr. Denham: Trust Chief Executives are responsible for ensuring that there are high standards of cleanliness and hygiene in hospitals. The infection Control Nurses Association and the Association of Domestic Mangers have recently produced new "Standards for Environmental Cleanliness in Hospitals", which National Health Service Estates will be publishing shortly and sending to all NHS trusts. The controls assurance framework, published on 22 November 1999 has a section relating to infection control, including special reference to cleanliness.
Mr. Denham: The Commission will provide independent scrutiny of local National Health Service systems to assure and improve clinical quality; provide an expert resource to ensure rapid action is taken to address serious or persistent problems that have not responded to local efforts, and monitor NHS progress in tackling variations in standards of services.
Mr. Denham: In his recent Budget statement, the Chancellor announced the largest ever increase in funding for the National Health Service in England. Over this year and the next three, NHS Expenditure will grow on average by 6.3 per cent. a year over and above inflation. This is nearly twice the historic rate of growth.
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Mr. Hutton: Information about assertive outreach teams was first collected in 1998-99. Sixty-six teams were in existence by March 1999. Data for the year ending March 2000 have not yet been finalised but health authority plans indicated that a further 57 teams were to be established in 1999-2000.
Mr. Hutton: We have already put in place the Quality Protects programme to transform the performance of local authority children's services. This includes investing in improved adoption services, in support of our aim of making maximum use of adoption with minimum delay. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is, with ministerial colleagues, conducting a review of adoption policy, looking at how to improve all aspects of the service.
Mr. Denham: At the end of February 2000, the total number of patients on hospital waiting lists in Northamptonshire (inpatient and day case admissions) was 13,503--a 20 per cent. reduction from the total in April 1998.
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Yvette Cooper: The important issue for the health service in Worcestershire is the number of patients who need to be treated and the appropriateness of their care. In line with this, the current estimate is that following hospital reorganisation there will be approximately 1,400 acute and community based beds available across Worcestershire. In addition, there will be more High Dependency Unit and Intensive Care Unit beds in the new acute hospital for Worcester owing to the investment the Government has made to modernise services in Worcestershire.
The report of the Government's National Beds Inquiry, set up to review assumptions about the demand for inpatient care and the implications for hospital bed numbers, was published for consultation on 10 February 2000. Consultation will focus on how health services, and specifically hospital beds, should be developed over the next 10- 20 years.
Mr. Hutton: We have already introduced primary care groups and primary care trusts to provide more integrated services and to ensure local decisions about community healthcare services are led by local clinicians. We have introduced new flexibilities through the Health Act 1999 to enable better partnership working between the National Health Service and local councils. And we are developing a new tier of intermediate care services to build effective bridges between home and hospital.
Mr. Denham: Our aim is that, in time, all patients will be able to access expanded primary care services. Primary care groups and, particularly, primary care trusts have a key role in developing such services and making them more convenient, faster and responsive. The additional health resources, which the Chancellor announced in the Budget Statement, offer the opportunity to begin to deliver this aim sooner. We intend to work with the professions and others to grasp that opportunity. Accordingly, improved access to services is one of the
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main themes of the work of the modernisation action Teams, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State launched on 12 April.
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