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Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the (a) operation and (b) effectiveness of the Beef Assurance Scheme in the prevention of BSE infected cattle entering the food chain; and what proportion of the cattle slaughtered for human consumption in the last year for which figures are available were produced under the Beef Assurance Scheme. 
Yvette Cooper: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that while normally animals over 30 months are not permitted to enter the food chain under the Beef Assurance Scheme (BAS) certain cattle exceptionally may do so up to the age of 42 months. Under the scheme, a number of stringent conditions apply, for example that cattle must be drawn entirely from specialist grass reared beef herds known not to have consumed mammalian meat and bone meal. In addition, in common with other cattle, certain specified risk material where any BSE infectivity is thought likely to reside, must also be removed. There have been no clinical cases of BSE in bona fide BAS herds.
From 1 January 2001, EU rules were introduced to require all cattle over 30 months of ageincluding those registered under the BASto be tested for BSE and only enter the food chain if found negative. The agency has advised that 20 BAS cattle entered the human food chain last year without having been tested in this way. Prior to 2001, these animals were regarded as sufficiently low-risk to enter the human food chain without testing.
There are currently 66 BAS herds in Great Britain. The total number of BAS cattle is 4,000, out of a total UK herd of 5.3 million. Last year 181 cattle were slaughtered for human consumption under the scheme.
Ms Blears: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Mr. Milburn) gave the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Mr. Miller) on 25 March 2002, Official Report, columns 756W-59W).
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if the PSA target to improve continuity of care given to children looked after by local authorities by reducing to no more than 18 per cent. in all authorities the proportion of such children who leave three or more placements in one year by 2001 was achieved; 
(3) if the PSA target to increase to at least 75 per cent. by 2003 the proportion of children leaving care aged 16 or above with a GCSE or GNVQ qualification will be met. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of whether the PSA target to reduce the national average emergency psychiatric re-admission rate by two percentage points by 2002 will be met. 
Jacqui Smith: The most recent assessment made on whether the PSA target to reduce the national average emergency psychiatric re-admission rate by two percentage points by 2002 will be met is shown in the table. This indicates that the target was achieved for the third quarter of 200102 but that the current forecast is for the average for the whole year to be 0.4 percentage points above the target reduction.
|Number of re-admissions within 90 days||Total number of discharges||Re-admission rate (percentage)|
(123) Actual position for Q3 200102 (relates to quarter 3 only).
(124) Forecast outturn position for 200102 taken at Q3 (relates to whole year).
Common Information Core, (now known as Service and Financial Framework ReturnSaFFR).
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(3) if the PSA target of a national average annual increase of 1 per cent. whole-time equivalent GPs by 2002 will be met on time. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the estimated average cost of preparing and submitting tenders for PFI projects in his Department; and how much he expects to spend reimbursing such costs under the PFI hospital building programme to be completed by 2010. 
Mr. Hutton: Information on the costs to the private sector of preparing and submitting tenders is not collected. There has been no change in policy regarding the reimbursement of bid costs. At present, the winning contractor recovers their bid costs as part of the overall tender price. Losing bidders are not reimbursed.
Following a review of the PFI process, with the objective of speeding up and simplifying the PFI process, two changes were announced on 18 March. Firstly, if Trusts require further clarification after Best and Final Offers (BAFOs) have been submitted, and Trusts want these clarifications to be undertaken by both bidders in a competitive environment, then the additional bid costs of both bidders will have to be refunded. Trusts will need to agree how these additional costs will be calculated. The reimbursement only applies to the additional cost of the clarification work done in a competitive situation. The second change is that a budget for bid costs will be set at BAFO stage, within which the winning bidder will have to keep. If their costs to financial close are less, then they keep the difference. If they are greater, the cost must be met by them. The losing bidder will not be entitled to receive anything as by definition they cannot reach financial close.
These changes have been made to incentivise both Trusts and the private sector to reach financial close. As overall costs will be less as a result of these changes, no estimates of cost have been prepared.
Ms Blears: Guidance on maintaining privacy and dignity was first issued to the service in 1997 and since then the national health service has been working towards a clear target to eliminate mixed sex accommodation in 95 per cent. of NHS trusts by December 2002.
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Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement as to what measures are being taken to raise awareness of testicular cancer and the importance of self-checking, with specific reference to men aged under 35 years. 
Yvette Cooper: The consensus among health professionals is that promoting testicular awareness is the most effective way to tackle this disease. The Department contributed to the recent production of Cancer Research UK's leaflet "Testicular Cancerspot the symptoms". Copies are available in the Library and will soon be available on both Cancer Research UK's and the Department's websites.
Ms Blears: We are currently in the process of considering reforms to the NHS complaints procedure, including the need to ensure that complaints are resolved as quickly as possible. We are also reviewing the current guidance on suspensions to ensure that cases where the clinical performance of a doctor or dentist gives concern will be dealt with quickly in a fair and effective manner.
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