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Children in Care (Kent)

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children were placed for foster care in Kent by each London borough in the last year for which figures are available; and what the equivalent figures were for the last three years. [101720]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not available centrally. The Department is aware, however, that Kent county council is reporting difficulties with the availability of sufficient foster placements, and one possible factor is the number of looked-after children being placed in Kent by London boroughs. The social services inspectorate is currently discussing this issue with directors of social services in London.

The Department has introduced a range of initiatives to improve the recruitment and retention of foster carers nationally. Through the Quality Protects programme a key objective is to increase the choice of adoption, foster and residential placements for children in care. Significant additional moneys have been made available to local authorities to increase the level of training for foster carers, and we have also recently announced the development of a national advertising campaign to recruit more foster carers.

Mental Health Act Detainees (Deaths)

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Mental Health Act Commission will publish data on the deaths of detained patients; and if he will make a statement. [101065]

Mr. Hutton: Validation of the data for the first two years of systematic collection--February 1997 to January 1999--has taken longer than expected and is still ongoing. The numbers involved in this study are very small for statistical purposes. A preliminary review of the data has indicated that adding a third year's data--February 1999 to January 2000--will increase the strength of the data considerably and increase the possibility that general conclusions may be drawn from the overall study. The Mental Health Act Commission aims to publish a report on the deaths of detained patients by May 2000.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many individuals were treated by each specialist stroke unit in each of the last five years; and what is the average cost for treating an individual in a specialist unit; [100868]

Mr. Denham: The information is not available in the format requested.

The Effective Health Care Bulletin of March 1992 on stroke rehabilitation shows that 100,000 first strokes occur in Britain each year. We do not collect figures for the numbers of strokes which cause disability but not death; however, in broad terms there are around 120,000 people

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in the United Kingdom each year who have a stroke, there are about 56,000 deaths, and of those who survive beyond four weeks about half are left with a significant disability.

NHS Dentistry (Bolton)

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will pilot the phone and go National Health Service dental access centres in Bolton. [101318]

Mr. Hutton: Expressions of interest for the third wave of phone and go dental access centres are currently being considered. There are no plans at present to pilot a centre in Bolton.

Care Homes

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to ensure that registration authorities for care homes will be required to (a) list staff registered with the General Social Care Council and (b) list staff not registered with the General Social Care Council, in annual inspection reports published by registration authorities; [101899]

Mr. Hutton: The Care Standards Bill, which includes legislative proposals for the General Social Care Council, was introduced into another place on 2 December 1999. We intend to establish the General Social Care Council on 1 April 2001.

We intend that the General Social Care Council will have the power to open a register for social care staff. In order to register with the Council an individual worker will need to have completed satisfactorily a period of training approved by the Council and to have satisfied the Council as to his or her being otherwise competent and safe to practice in social care.

When the Government believe that it will be a further safeguard to the public to restrict certain jobs to workers who are registered with the Council my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will seek to make regulations for that purpose. Meanwhile there are no plans to offer a logo that can be displayed by care homes to indicate that staff are registered with the Council. The Care Standards Bill also contains proposals to create the National Care Standards Commission to register and regulate care homes. Registration with the Commission will be an appropriate indication that standards of quality are being monitored in a care home by a Government-sponsored body.

There are no plans to include information about staff registered with the General Social Care Council in inspection reports by the National Care Standards Commission.

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Agency Nurses

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS paid for agency nurses in 1998-99, broken down by NHS region. [101968]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not available centrally.


GM Food

Mr. David Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the research funded by his Department into genetically modified food and crops giving (a) the research project title, (b) the project reference number, (c) the research contractors, (d) the date on which the research was completed or is due to be completed and (e) the date on which the results will be published. [101754]

Dr. Reid: The specific matters raised are devolved and are now for the Scottish Parliament.


Primary Education

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she plans to meet Government leaders of developing countries to discuss their commitment to improving primary education. [100872]

Clare Short: We are committed to the International Development Targets of achieving universal primary education by 2015 and gender equality in primary and secondary schooling by 2005. In my meetings with representatives of developing country governments, I take every opportunity to discuss their commitment to, and progress in, achieving these targets.

I will participate in the World Forum on Education in Dakar next April and will try to ensure that we make the most of this opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to the world community to the educational vision and principles of Jomtien. At Dakar we will assess the progress that has been made since Jomtien and will pay particular attention to analysing why some countries, including some of the poorest, have managed to achieve considerably more than others. We hope to achieve a strong commitment from the North and the South to the implementation of strategies for achieving effective education for all by 2015.

EC Reconstruction Programmes

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what is her policy on the establishment of an agency charged with the implementation of European Community reconstruction programmes, as set out in the Cologne Presidency Conclusions. [101106]

Clare Short: My Department's policy is to encourage the EC to devolve more authority from Brussels to its overseas delegations. This should improve the EC's

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responsiveness to beneficiary countries and its co-ordination with other donors. I therefore fully support the establishment of an EC agency responsible for the delivery of long-term reconstruction assistance to Kosovo. This agency will have its operational centre in Pristina and administrative headquarters in Thessaloniki. We will monitor the agency to ensure that it is effective and based on sound economic principles.

Southern Africa

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding her Department has provided to the regional action programme on small arms in southern Africa. [101928]

Clare Short: Last year we funded a seminar which drafted the regional action programme on small arms, subsequently endorsed by US/SADC Ministers in Vienna.

We have also made a grant of up to £80,000 available to Saferworld and the South African Institute for Security Studies to enable them to help all interested parties in taking this programme forward.

We will continue to support the effort to reduce the number of small arms in Southern Africa.

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