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Ministerial Meetings

Mr. David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what arrangements (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have put in place for the taking and keeping of minutes of meetings between Ministers and people outside his Department. [102365]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Notes of meetings are taken and kept in Departmental records.

Theatres (Funding)

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received concerning Arts Council of Wales funding for Gwent Theatre. [100205]

Mr. Hanson: We have received a number of representations. I have written to National Assembly Secretary, Tom Middlehurst, to pass on to him the concerns raised.

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to meet the First Secretary of the National Assembly to discuss the future funding of Gwent Theatre, Theatre Powys and Theatre Clwyd. [100204]

Mr. Hanson: The Secretary of State meets the First Secretary on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues; and they have discussed this issue in detail. Following the Adjournment Debate from my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith) further discussions have been held with the relevant Assembly Secretary.

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Departmental Buildings

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales for each of the buildings under his Department's control how many rooms are set aside for (a) ethnic minority religious use, (b) pregnant and nursing mothers and (c) smokers. [102335]

Mr. Paul Murphy: There is one small building under my Department's control which accommodates 37 staff. There is insufficient accommodation to set aside dedicated rooms for any of these uses. Smoking is restricted to one room by agreement with the non-smokers who must also use it.

Public Bodies

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number of (a) non-departmental public bodies and (b) task forces in Wales (i) on 1 May 1997, (ii) on 1 May 1998 and (iii) at the latest date for which figures are available. [102487]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The number of non-departmental public bodies was 45 at 1 May 1997, 42 at 1 May 1998, and 37 at 30 June 1999. From 1 July 1999, responsibility for those 37 non-departmental public bodies transferred to the National Assembly for Wales.

Information is not held centrally on the number of task forces in Wales, but one new task force was established in the summer of 1997, and a further task force was established in the summer of 1998. Existing task forces became the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales from 1 July 1999.


Nursing and Residential Homes

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that local authorities abide by the requirements of the Competition Act 1998 as it affects their purchasing role in relation to private nursing and residential homes. [99051]

Mr. Hutton: Until there is a body of case law, it is not clear whether, or to what extent, the Competition Act applies to local authorities.

In the White Paper "Modernising Social Services", we made clear that decisions about the provision of care services should be based entirely on judgments about best value and optimum outcomes for individual users. We have a number of measures in place to ensure that the commissioning of services is undertaken in this way. These include best value service reviews and joint reviews by the Audit Commission and the Department's social services inspectorate.

Beta Interferon

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of sufferers of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis live in areas where the relevant health authority will not pay for Beta-Interferon for them. [99993]

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Ms Stuart: Information about health authorities' policies on the treatment of multiple sclerosis is not available centrally. Any such policies should provide for individual cases to be considered on their merits in the light of the evidence available on different forms of treatment.

Dental Services

Mr. Tony Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria he is using for selection of the pilot areas for the NHS Phone and Go dental access areas; and if Northamptonshire Health Authority meets them. [101489]

Mr. Hutton: The key criterion for the selection of Phone and Go dental access centres is that there must be a demonstrated problem of access to National Health Service dentistry in the area. This is assessed from several sources of availability information, including health authority reports, statistical indicators and knowledge of the individual health authority's dental needs and health. The schemes must also offer good value for money, provide a full range of general dental services and have both regional office support and health authority commitment and capability to deliver. Northamptonshire was middle ranking in terms of reported dental availability problems.

Haemophiliacs (Hepatitis C)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will compensate those haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C through contaminated blood products; and if he will make a statement. [102118]

Mr. Denham: It remains our policy that compensation or other financial help to patients is given only when the National Health Service has been at fault. We do not believe we should make an exception to that general rule in the case of people with haemophilia infected with hepatitis C.

Heroin Addicts

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of heroin addicts in Great Britain received rehabilitation treatment in each of the past five years; and what estimate he has made of the numbers who will receive rehabilitation in the next five years. [101977]

Yvette Cooper: Information on the number of heroin addicts in Great Britain is no longer collected centrally. Data for the last five years for which data were collected (1992-96) are in Table 1.

The regional drug misuse databases record drug users presenting to treatment agencies in Great Britain, in six-monthly periods. Table 2 shows the number of those users with heroin as their main drug of misuse for the period 30 September 1993 to 30 September 1998.

A key performance target set in the first annual report and national plan of the United Kingdom anti-drugs co-ordinator is to

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The dataset collected by regional drug misuse databases is currently being reviewed to determine an appropriate baseline for this target.

Table 1: Addicts notified to Home Office during the years
1992 to 1996--United Kingdom

YearNumber of notified addicts


Statistical Bulletin--"Statistics of Drug Addicts Notified to the Home Office, United Kingdom, 1996"

Table 2: Users starting agency episodes in Great Britain with heroin as their main drug of misuse, in the six-month periods ending 30 September 1993 to 30 September 1998--Great Britain

Six-month period endingNumber of users
September 19938,643
March 19949,746
September 199411,191
March 199512,282
September 199513,400
March 199614,488
September 199616,621
March 199718,285
September 199716,981
March 199816,390
September 199818,994


Statistical Bulletin--"Statistics from the Regional Drug Misuse Databases for the six months ending September 1998" and earlier bulletins.

Disablement Services

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received concerning a national service framework for disablement services. [102344]

Mr. Denham: The charity consortium emPOWER have, over an extended period, called for the establishment of a national service framework (NSF) for disablement services. A rolling programme of NSFs, taking forward established frameworks on cancer and paediatric intensive care and developing frameworks for coronary heart disease and mental health, was launched in April 1998. The next two NSFs will be for older people (2000), and diabetes (2001).

Cervical Cancer

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will make a statement on his policy in respect of the application of the HPV test in cervical cancer screening. [101970]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 9 December 1999]: An outline proposal on pilot studies using human papilloma virus testing as triage for mild and borderline smears, as recommended in the report of the National

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Health Service Health Technology Assessment published on 30 September 1999, was discussed at the National Screening Committee's meeting in Belfast on 8 December 1999. The National Screening Committee will advise Ministers in light of these discussions. A statement will be made once we have had time to assess this advice.

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