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Foreign National Patients

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking (a) to discover the extent and (b) to diminish misuse of the National Health Service by unauthorised foreign national patients. [134291]

Ms Stuart: Access to National Health Service hospital treatment is based on residence in the United Kingdom, not nationality. All patients should be asked as part of

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routine admission procedures about their normal place of residence and patients who are identified as not ordinarily resident in the UK should be further interviewed to establish if charges are appropriate. The relevant legislation is The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989.

Work is currently under way to review the charging regulations and guidance. This will include consideration of potential abuse of the system.

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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the research by the University of Southampton into the clinical effectiveness of Aricept. [134674]

Mr. Denham: Evidence relating to the clinical and cost effectiveness of Aricept is being considered by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. They are currently consulting on their provisional conclusions ("Provisional Appraisal Determination") which are confidential to the parties involved. Their final conclusions ("Final Appraisal Determination") are expected in December 2000.


Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what targets he sets for the speed of ministerial replies to correspondence from hon. Members; and to what extent his Department has met those targets. [134589]

Ms Stuart: The Department has a Service First target set by the Cabinet Office of replying to all correspondence within 20 working days. There is no provision for fast tracking replies to correspondence to hon. Members.

Social Services (Worcestershire)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if supplementary credit approvals granted to the Social Services Department of Worcestershire County Council in earlier financial years which remain unused can be applied to reduce the projected overspend of this department. [134477]

Mr. Hutton: The supplementary credit approvals issued to Worcestershire County Council by the Department have been for capital projects related to mental health services and cannot be used to reduce projected overspends by its social services department.


Gift Shops Rulers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, for what reason the House of Commons gift shops sell rulers that are not marked in imperial measurements; and if he will ensure that such rulers are stocked. [134201]

Mr. Kirkwood: This is a matter for the Director of Catering Services. I shall ask her to write to the hon. Member.



Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 17 July 2000, Official Report, column 58W, on lord-lieutenants, what expenditure was incurred by his Department in support of each lord- lieutenant in the financial year 1999-2000. [134857]

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Dr. Reid: Legislative responsibility for lieutenancy matters is reserved. However, lord-lieutenants may claim reimbursement of expenses from the Secretary of Commissions for Scotland. I understand from the Scottish Executive that the expenditure incurred on each lord- lieutenant's expenses in the financial year 1999-2000 was as follows:

LieutenancyExpenses (£)
Argyll and Bute1,153
Ayrshire and Arran2,545
East Lothian347
Perth and Kinross--
Ross and Cromarty--
Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale407
Stewartry of Kirkcudbright775
Stirling and Falkirk310
Western Isles2,186
West Lothian--

The ex-officio lord-lieutenants (Lord Provosts) of the four cities do not claim expenses.


Stakeholder Pensions

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to offer stakeholder pensions to (a) new and (b) existing local government staff. [134371]

Ms Beverley Hughes: There are no plans at present to offer stakeholder pensions for new or existing local government staff who are subject to the Local Government Pension Scheme. The scheme contains no restrictions on access and will not have to provide a stakeholder pension arrangement for its employees. The legal obligation of local authority employers to provide stakeholder pensions for employees not subject to the Local Government Pension Scheme will be a matter for them to consider under the provisions of the Stakeholder Pensions Regulations, which came into force earlier this month.

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Local Authority Housing

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to enable local authorities to improve the regulation of houses in multiple occupation. [134729]

Mr. Mullin: We consulted last year on proposals for compulsory licensing of houses in multiple occupation in England, and there was a parallel consultation in Wales. We will introduce primary legislation for England and Wales when parliamentary time allows. In Wales, secondary legislation and detailed arrangements are matters for the National Assembly.

Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what advice he has received concerning the value of the Dome site (a) with the Dome in place and (b) with the Dome removed. [134486]

Ms Armstrong: A pre-sale valuation of the Dome site has been undertaken in the context of the competition to identify a use for the Dome when the Millennium Experience finishes. The Government estimate of the financial value of the site is commercially confidential while the process to secure a buyer continues.

World Athletics Championships

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the transport improvements necessary to enable Picketts Lock to host the World Athletic Championships in 2005. [134834]

Mr. Hill: None. It is for the project partners to commission the appropriate assessment.


Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what data he collates on the numbers of air passengers developing thrombosis on long distance and short distance flights. [134421]

Mr. Mullin: The data are not collated centrally. Such data would be difficult to obtain as any passenger developing thrombosis is usually likely to do so a number of days or weeks after the flight has taken place.


Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment Transport and the Regions how much sewage was discharged into the sea in coastal areas in the last two years for which figures are available; and what percentage of this was treated. [134215]

Mr. Mullin: Information is not available in the format requested. Data collated by the water industry shows that sewage discharges to English and Welsh coastal waters in 1998 were approximately 6 million population equivalent. ("Population equivalent" is a way of combining household and industrial discharges to sewers into a single figure, where industrial discharges are given an equivalence in their polluting potential to domestic sewage). The percentage receiving "secondary-level" or better treatment

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was 76 per cent. We have put in place the investment programmes to ensure that all discharges from sewage treatment works with a load of above 2,000 population equivalent will receive secondary treatment by 2005.

China Visit

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the purpose was of his recent visit to China; which staff accompanied him on the visit; what the cost was to the public purse of the visit; and what discussions he held with representatives of the Government of China on environmental or transport matters during his visit. [134631]

Mr. Prescott: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) on 25 October 2000, Official Report, column 128W. I was accompanied by four officials from my Department, one Special Adviser and one official from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. My costs for the trip were approximately £6,550.

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