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New Variant CJD

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have died of new variant CJD in each month since 1 May 1997. [99467]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is given in the table:

Year and monthNumber of deaths

30 Nov 1999 : Column: 102W

Barnet General Hospital

Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when phase 1B of the redevelopment of Barnet General Hospital will be open. [100217]

Mr. Denham: Work on Phase 1B development at Barnet Hospital is progressing well. The private finance initiative agreement states that construction work should be completed within 38 months of its signing, that is, by April 2002.

Health Trusts (Fundraising)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the advice he gave to health trusts on fundraising activities, indicating what controls he has put in place. [100138]

Mr. Denham: The Charity Commission, as the regulator of charities, is responsible for issuing guidance to trustees, including National Health Service trustees. It has issued specific guidance to NHS bodies in the form of a manual, "NHS Charities a Guide" which provides advice on fundraising.

Electro-convulsive Treatment

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish his Department's latest advice on electro-convulsive treatment. [100797]

Mr. Hutton: The Royal College of Psychiatrists has issued guidance on the use of electro-convulsive therapy. A joint letter from the Chief Medical Officer and the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in September 1998 was sent to all consultant psychiatrists, health authorities and NHS trusts indicating that it was expected that clinical governance arrangements would ensure compliance with this guidance in ECT clinics.

ECT is an effective treatment particularly for patients with very severe generally psychotic depression which is life threatening if left untreated. People who are this severely depressed may refuse or be unable to eat and drink, with a consequent high mortality, as well as being at very high risk of suicide. ECT produces a faster onset of therapeutic action in such cases than is the case with drug treatment.

ECT also has a more limited place in the treatment of other disorders such as mania and schizophrenia. Its role in these latter conditions is generally when drug treatments have proved ineffective or for some reason inadvisable.

30 Nov 1999 : Column: 103W

Non-moulded Hearing Aids

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what rules cover the sale of non-moulded hearing aids in retail outlets. [98619]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 19 November 1999]: I have been asked to reply as the Minister responsible for the Hearing Aid Council Act 1968, which regulates the supply of hearing aids, whether moulded or non-moulded. The Act requires that the dispensers of hearing aids must be registered as such with the Hearing Aid Council in order to supply hearing aids. The standard of competence for registration of dispensers is contained in the Hearing Aid Council's Code of Practice, copies of which will be placed shortly in the Library of the House.



Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who has awarded the contract to conduct the research into stipendiary and lay magistrates by the Lord Chancellor's Department. [101120]

Mr. Straw: A contract was signed on 22 November on behalf of Professor Rod Morgan of the University of Bristol, who will lead a team consisting of colleagues in the Faculty of Law at the University of Bristol, researchers from Taylor Nelson Sofres (covering the fieldwork), and CRG Consultants (for the cost-benefit analysis).

The team will undertake research commissioned jointly by the Hone Office and the Lord Chancellor's Department, to assess the relative costs, effectiveness and other benefits or disadvantages of stipendiary and lay magistrates, taking into account all related costs including those of other agencies. It will be used to assess whether the current balance between the use of lay magistrates and stipendiaries is satisfactory; whether each set of magistrates is deployed in the most effective way; and the weight of arguments that are heard for and against the use of lay and stipendiary magistrates in particular circumstances.

The research is due to be completed in September 2000. The report will be published.

Policing Objectives

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what objectives he will be determining for policing in 2000-01. [101121]

Mr. Straw: The Police Act 1996 allows me to set objectives, or ministerial priorities, for policing. The objectives for 2000-01 are:

    to increase trust and confidence in policing among minority ethnic communities.

I have reduced the number of priorities from four to two as I believe this helps focus attention on two key areas of policing--reducing crime and rising to the challenges of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report.

30 Nov 1999 : Column: 104W

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the achievements of staff in the immigration and nationality directorate over the past year. [101122]

Mrs. Roche: Staff in the immigration and nationality directorate (IND)--both at the ports and at headquarters--have faced greatly increased workloads during 1999 as a result of the large increase in the number of asylum applicants. Much has been achieved, but much more remains to be done and staff will face a continuing challenge next year. In addition, staff are now taking on new responsibilities to make asylum procedures operate more effectively.

I have, therefore, authorised a special payment of £150 for all staff, except members of the IND board. This recognises the extra duties and responsibilities of IND staff in this period of change.

Road Rage

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many attacks by motorists against other motorists have been reported during 1999; how many people have been charged as a result of such reports; and how many such people have been (a) sent to prison, (b) fined and (c) acquitted. [99527]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Incapacitant Sprays

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions incapacitant sprays have been used in each month in each Metropolitan Police division in the past 12 months; and what records are maintained of each use of the spray. [99601]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has provided the following information on the use of CS spray by borough operational command units (OCUs) for each quarter of the last 12 months.

Borough OCU4th Qtr 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr3rd Qtr
City of Westminster4813
Hammersmith and Fulham8051
Kensington and Chelsea0321
Barking and Dagenham5053
Tower Hamlets3341
Waltham Forest2551
Kingston upon Thames6435
Richmond upon Thames0113

30 Nov 1999 : Column: 105W

The Commissioner tells me that a monthly breakdown for each borough OCU is not readily available.

Reasons for, and the circumstances of, each use of CS spray are recorded in the arresting officer's notes; if no arrest is made, a local record is kept. Each time CS spray is used, details are copied to the relevant Metropolitan Police policy branch and, in many cases, to OCU and area senior management.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what rules, guidelines or other instructions are given to officers of the Metropolitan Police concerning the circumstances in which they may use incapacitant sprays; and what precautions officers must take to avoid danger to (a) members of the public, (b) the person being targeted and (c) fellow officers. [99602]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Metropolitan Police Commissioner tells me that training in the use of CS spray for his officers is based on principles contained in the Association of Chief Police Officers guidelines on police use of incapacitant spray.

Metropolitan Police officers are taught that CS spray is a tactical option when the use of force is justified, but it must be used lawfully. Where any use of force is contemplated, officers are trained to take full account of the circumstances and any likely dangers before deciding which tactical option to use. Their training explains the effects of CS spray on the person being sprayed and on others; they are also trained in aftercare procedures for persons sprayed. Custody officers have specific guidance on how to deal with those arrested following the use of CS spray.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints have been received in the last year concerning the use of incapacitant sprays by the Metropolitan Police; on how many occasions disciplinary action has been taken against officers for misuse or other incidents involving an incapacitant spray; how many officers charged with such an offence were disciplined; and what sanctions were applied. [99603]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Metropolitan Police Commissioner tells me that between 1 November 1998 and 31 October 1999 there were 38 public complaints by members of the public concerning the use of incapacitant sprays. These complaints involved 41 specific allegations. Of these, 16 have been investigated and found to be unsubstantiated. The remaining 25 allegations are still being investigated.

No disciplinary action relating to the use of CS spray has been taken against any Metropolitan Police officer during the same 12-month period.

30 Nov 1999 : Column: 106W

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date divisions of the Metropolitan police were issued with incapacitant spray; what type of spray is available to them; how many canisters have been purchased and at what cost; how many officers have been trained in the use of spray; how many hours of such training are set as the minimum training for an officer; and how many officers routinely carry canisters. [99604]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Metropolitan police Commissioner tells me that the date of issue of CS spray varies between divisions because of the lead-in time necessary to train officers. All officers receive four hours initial training before being issued with CS spray; competence in its use is checked at least once a year thereafter. By March 1998, most divisional officers had been issued with CS spray.

The Metropolitan police do not record centrally the number of officers trained in the use of CS spray, nor the number who routinely carry it, but the Commissioner tells me that the majority of operational officers would routinely carry it.

The CS incapacitant spray issued by the Metropolitan police is manufactured by SAE Alsetex in France and supplied in the United Kingdom by Primetake Ltd. This spray contains a 5 per cent. solution of CS in the solvent MIBK (Methyl iso butyl ketone) and the propellant used is nitrogen. Since September 1997, the Metropolitan police has purchased 30,200 canisters at the cost of £196,000.

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