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EU Funding

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the United Kingdom's contribution to the EU was calculated to come from Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. [3397]

Ruth Kelly: Contributions are made for the United Kingdom as a whole and no such estimates are therefore available.

Hidden Economy

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the loss in tax revenue to his Department in the last year from people operating in the hidden economy for each of the regions in the United Kingdom. [3715]

Mr. Andrew Smith: No such estimates have been made.

Equitable Life

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the review of the events leading up to Equitable Life's decision to close to new business and the role of the Financial Services Authority will be published; and if he will make a statement. [4584]

Ruth Kelly: I understand from the Financial Services Authority that the review team is not yet in a position to complete its report. I can confirm that it remains our intention to publish the report as soon as it is practicable.


NHS (West Sussex)

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on NHS structures in west Sussex. [2095]

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Ms Blears: West Sussex health authority is committed to working in an integrated way with the whole of the national health service, stakeholders and local social services. The introduction of primary care trusts will further enable the health authority to work towards improved quality of services along with better value for money. Any substantive changes to NHS structures in west Sussex will be subject to full statutory consultation.

"Information for Health"

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the cost of implementing "Information for Health"; from which budgets that cost will be funded; and if he will make a statement. [1968]

Mr. Hutton: "Information for Health" is an ambitious and far-reaching strategy for information technology investment in the national health service and investment in IT for the national health service is expected to grow by around £1.6 billion over the lifetime of the strategy up to 31 March 2004.

This figure reflects national estimates of the sum of investment needed to deliver "Information for Health" and the IT components of the NHS plan. The majority of this investment will be made available to local health communities through health authority allocations. The allocations are intended as a guide for local health communities in ensuring that their own plans will meet the targets and milestones for implementing the NHS plan.


Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many beds in hospices are available to the national health service; and what the figures were for each of the last 10 years; [1057]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 2 July 2001]: The total number of beds separated into national health service specialist palliative care units and voluntary hospices for each of the past 10 years for the United Kingdom is shown in the table. All hospice beds are available to NHS patients.

DateNHS unitsBedsVoluntary hospicesBedsTotal unitsBeds
January 1991415251102,0371512,562
January 1992435221272,2361702,758
January 1993505731342,2861842,859
January 1994505731432,3991932,972
January 1995465331492,4851953,018
January 1996505571502,4682003,025
January 1997565951472,4582033,053
January 1998596051462,4742053,079
January 1999616221452,4452063,067
January 2000566001462,4692023,069
January 2001576071522,4802093,087


Hospice Information Service

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In addition, the NHS collects information on the number of beds also provided by NHS trusts in wards classified as being for patients who are terminally ill or in need of palliative care in the annual publication 'Bed availability and occupancy—England', copies of which are available in the Library.

It is for the NHS locally to make arrangements for financial support for hospices, given the extent of local diversity both of the services provided and of alternative sources of local support. Accordingly we have issued no guidance specifying a set percentage of revenue costs that individual health authorities and primary care organisations should meet. Successive guidance to health authorities has made clear their responsibilities for developing palliative care strategies based on the assessed health needs of the resident population.

The National Council for Hospices and Specialist Palliative Care Services has estimated that total expenditure on hospice and specialist palliative care for adults is £300 million. Of this, £170 million is provided by the voluntary sector and £130 million through the NHS. Information on the NHS contribution to hospices over the past 10 years is not available.

The NHS cancer plan set out our commitment to increase NHS investment in specialist palliative care by £50 million by 2004. This will mean that for the first time ever NHS investment in specialist palliative care services will match that of the voluntary sector. Health authority allocations in 2001–02 included a total of £255 million to support the first year of local implementation of the NHS cancer plan. Priorities for this year include the development of costed strategic plans for palliative care.

Cancer networks are currently developing detailed service delivery plans, which will identify current position and set out action plans for further development across all services including palliative care. These will be completed by the autumn.

Electricity Pylons and

Telecommunications Masts

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the possible health effects on people who live near (i) electricity pylons and (ii) telecommunications masts; and if he will make a statement. [1858]

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Yvette Cooper [holding answer 3 July 2001]: The Department obtains advice on potential health effects risks associated with electromagnetic fields (EMF), such as those from power lines or mobile phone masts, from the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB).

Power line EMF has been reviewed in a report published on 6 March by the NRPB's Advisory Group on non-ionising radiation and provides an assessment of the potential risks of cancer. (Documents of the NRPB Vol. 12, No 1, 2001). Copies have been placed in the Library. The board of the NRPB also published a response statement which can be found on the NRPB website The report states that any possible risk of childhood leukaemia relates to those exposed at relatively high levels of domestic magnetic field exposure but that these are not necessarily associated with proximity to pylons or overhead power transmission lines. The conclusions indicate that the question of whether exposure to electromagnetic fields can influence the development of cancer cannot at present be completely resolved.

Mobile phone base stations (transmission masts) emit radio waves at very different frequencies to those fields generated by power lines. They are therefore being dealt with as a separate issue. The possible public health implications of mobile phone technology has been investigated by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (the Stewart group). Its report, published in May 2000 concluded that:

It also included a recommendation for a substantial research programme to be set up to investigate the possible effects of mobile phone technology more generally. A three year programme, jointly funded by Government and industry, has now been launched and has invited proposals relating to all aspects of mobile phone technology including telecommunications masts and handsets. The research is being undertaken under the direction of an independent programme management committee. Details can be found on the Department website

The Department is also continuing to provide financial support for the World Health Organisation International Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Project which is comprehensively reviewing EMF effects, including those of power frequency fields and radio waves.

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