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Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much funding was and will be (a) provided and (b) planned by his Department as revenue support to local education authorities in England to meet private sector annual charges for private finance initiative projects in each financial year from 1997-98 to 2001-02; what percentage of the total cost to local education authorities of these projects this represents; and which of these amounts were counted as part of the additional money announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (Cm. 4011). [99423]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 23 November 1999]: We will be providing PFI credits to local education authorities totalling £130 million in 1998-99, £350 million in 1999-2000, £350 million in 2000-01 and £450 million in 2001-02. The amount of PFI credits allocated to an individual project determines the revenue support grant which will begin to be paid to the authority once payments to the contractor commence. The percentage of the total cost to the authority represented by the grant will vary from one project to another and no figures are available.

Within these total allocations, £660 million, £220 million in each of the years 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02, was announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review. That addition to previous provision was not part of the overall increase of £19 billion in UK education spending announced in the Review.

A further £100 million of PFI credits for 2001-02 was announced by the Chancellor in the pre-Budget statement on 9 November--again this is within the total figures above.

Gifted Children

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on his initiatives to develop the potential of above-average ability children, with particular reference to Sefton. [98602]

Ms Estelle Morris: The Government are encouraging all schools to meet the needs of able pupils by adopting strategies such as setting, target-grouping, fast-tracking and accelerated learning. The initial phase of our national strategy to improve the education of gifted and talented children is concentrated mainly in areas targeted by the Excellence in Cities initiative. Some aspects of the gifted and talented strand of Excellence in Cities, notably world class tests and guidance on the literacy and numeracy strategies, have a national focus. We expect all areas to benefit eventually from the innovation and good practice emerging from the target cities. All local education authorities, including Sefton, can use Standards Fund grants to address the needs of able pupils where the definitions of eligible expenditure allow. We will announce further national initiatives shortly.

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HEALTH

Xenotransplantation

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has in place to contain a potential outbreak of a lethal infectious disease as a result of pig-to-human transplants; [99324]

Mr. Denham: The Government are advised on all issues relating to animal-to-human transplants by the United Kingdom Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory Authority (UKXIRA). Evidence about the safety of xenotransplantation is kept under constant review by the UKXIRA. Safety remains of paramount importance. Any clinical trial in xenotransplantation involving humans will be allowed to take place only when we are fully satisfied that the risk associated with the particular procedure involved is acceptable.

The precautions to be adopted by applicants for minimising the risk of infectious disease transmission will be a key factor in deciding whether or not to approve clinical trials. In this respect, the UKXIRA has issued two draft documents for widespread consultation. "Guidance notes on Biosecurity considerations in relation to xenotransplantation" sets out best practice for the processes and procedures to be employed in facilities where source animals are raised and kept. The "Report of the Infection Surveillance Steering Group" describes a framework for monitoring the health of xenotransplant recipients and in particular surveilling them for any signs of zoonotic infection that might be the direct result of the xenotransplant. This includes a possible mechanism for responding to suspected infection incidents. The UKXIRA would expect any applicant seeking permission to undertake a clinical trial involving a xenotransplantation procedure to have due regard to the recommendations of these documents.

Both documents are available on the UKXIRA website, www.doh.gov.uk/ukxira.htm.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the annual report of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. [99983]

Yvette Cooper: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has published its eighth Annual Report today. The Report has been laid before the House in accordance with the requirements of section 7(3) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. Copies have been placed in the Library.

ME/CFS

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department provides to social service departments on parental consent to the removal of young people from their home for treatment for ME/CFS. [99454]

Mr. Hutton: The Department provides no guidance to social service departments on the issue of parental consent to the removal of children and young people from their

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homes for treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis. However, guidance: "Working Together under the Children Act 1989--a guide to inter-agency co-operation for the protection of children from abuse" (1991) is expected to be followed by social service departments in considering whether their powers to remove children under the Act (Section 44 Emergency Protection Orders) should be exercised.

Secure Accommodation (Children)

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what is the role of local authority social services departments in inspecting the conditions under which children are kept on remand in secure accommodation; [98676]

Mr. Hutton: The role of the local authority in inspecting children's homes, including those providing secure accommodation, is set out in the Children Act 1989 and the Children's Homes Regulations 1991. These provide the framework for standards used in the inspections. Children's homes, including those providing secure accommodation, are subject to two inspections a year, one of which will be an unannounced visit. The inspections are carried out by the local authority inspection unit.

The Local Authority in the child's own home area has responsibility for producing and monitoring care plans for each child in secure accommodation.

Foreign Patients

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many citizens from countries outside the EU received treatment from the NHS in the most recent year for which the information is available; how much that treatment cost the NHS; and how much foreign patients' Governments reimbursed the UK for their treatment; [98501]

Ms Stuart: There is no central record either of the numbers of patients not ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom who receive treatment from the National Health Service or of the costs involved.

Patients not normally resident in the UK can be asked to pay for any non-emergency treatment given by a general practitioner or dentist. Patients requiring hospital treatment other than in an Accident and Emergency department are liable to be charged unless they are exempt from charges by virtue of the National Health Service (Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989.

Patients from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are personally liable for charges unless the UK has a reciprocal health agreement with their home state. All the UK's reciprocal agreements with non-EEA

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countries are on a cost-waiver basis with each of the parties bearing the cost of treating each other's people; no money changes hands between governments.

Within the EEA, Regulation (EEC) 1408-71 co-ordinates the healthcare schemes of the member states. In principle, each country is responsible for paying for treatment given to its own insured persons in other member states. The UK has bilateral cost reimbursement arrangements with most other EEA states, the terms of which vary from country to country. The table sets out an estimate of the amounts which the UK expects to receive from other EEA countries in respect of treatment provided during 1998-99:

£000

Estimated UK claims for inpatient/outpatient treatmentEstimated UK claims for treating patients referred to the UK for treatmentTotal
Austria2138222
Belgium1,056261,082
Denmark(9)------
Finland(9)------
France1,994--1,994
Germany(10)2,0781112,189
Greece(10)208630839
Iceland(10)442569
Ireland3,5462,9586,504
Italy5113,0943,606
Liechtenstein------
Luxembourg(9)------
Netherlands52411535
Norway(9)------
Portugal(10)176123298
Spain83068898
Sweden56855623
All EEA Countries11,7487,109(11)18,859

(9) Countries which operate waiver agreement with the United Kingdom

(10) Estimates are based on proposed agreement and subject to final agreement by both parties

(11) Minor differences due to rounding



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