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Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many written submissions the Special Advisers Remuneration Committee has received from Cabinet ministers asking for a special adviser to be appointed on a point scale above the lowest point scale of each of the special adviser pay bands since 2 May 1997;  (2) how many times the Special Advisers Remuneration Committee has met since 2 May 1997. 
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: Information relating to internal meetings and advice is not provided under exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: My noble Friend, Lord Williams, the Leader of the House of Lords chairs the Special Advisers Remuneration Committee. The other members of the Committee are the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Economic Secretary. The Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office attends meetings of the Committee as an observer to offer an Accounting Officer perspective.
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(2) what the equivalent Civil Service grade is of a special adviser on (a) Band A, (b) Band B and (c) Band C of the special advisers' pay system. 
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: As the Government has already announced, the previous Special Adviser Pay Bands of A, B and C were superseded from June 2001 by a new pay system, based on individual job evaluation. A description of this pay system is in the House Library. The process of individual job evaluation is still under way. Information on the outcome of this process will be provided once it is completed. There is no direct comparison between Civil Service grades and Special Adviser posts as roles and responsibilities are different.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) which hon. Members have been appointed as sponsors to his Department since 7 June 2001; and when each of them were appointed;  (2) what the duties are of hon. Members appointed as sponsors to his Department; and what assistance is given by officials in his Department to them in carrying out these duties. 
Pete Wishart: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many press releases were issued by his Department in each month between May and December 1997;  (2) how many press releases have been issued by his Department in each month of 2002. 
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The number of press releases issued each month between May and December 1997 inclusive are listed follows:
The figures provided above for both 1997 and 2002 do not include operational notes/invitations, but do include Privy Council Office press releases which are issued on its behalf by the Cabinet Office press office.
Lists and copies of Cabinet Office press releases are available on its public Internet website.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent by each acute trust on agency staff excluding doctors and nurses (a) in cash terms, (b) as a proportion of the annual expenditure on doctors salaries and (c) as a proportion of the total operating expenses, in each of the last five years for which records are available. 
An increase in day surgery, often to improve the patient's experience, has required changes in the design of services along the patients care pathway. Immediate post-operative care is often now being provided within the patient's home.
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Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the level of salaries that are being paid to overseas doctors and nurses who are recruited through agencies; if he will make a statement on his Department's review of the health funding system; if the new funding system will target funds in areas of poor health; and if it will take into account (a) the number of people in each area who have access to private medical care and (b) the early death rates in areas with high levels of deprivation. 
We allocate funding to health authorities and primary care trusts on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. A wide-ranging review of the weighted capitation formula used to allocate resources is currently taking place. A key criterion of the new formula will be to contribute to the reduction of avoidable health inequalities.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what impact he expects the budget announcement on health and social services spending to have on waiting time for disability facilities grants. 
Jacqui Smith: The extra cash will help to bring on line the extra capacity that the National Health Service needs to make care better and faster for patients. We would not expect a direct impact on disabled facilities grants because these are mandatory grants provided by housing departments with part funding by the Department for Transport, Local Government, and the Regions.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 2 May 2002, Official Report, column 994W, on disability facilities, if the provision of walk-in showers is included in the national project; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: The provision of walk-in showers requires building work of a permanent and substantial nature, and these are usually arranged by councils' housing departments. Such major adaptations are often
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facilitated through disabled facilities grants. They are usually beyond the scope of equipment services, and so housing departments are outside the remit of the project to integrate community equipment services. When statutory services decide what to provide, the guiding principle should be to meet individually assessed needs.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 11 March, Official Report, column 806W, on information for health strategy, what assessment he has made of the report by Professor Protti on the Information for Health Strategy; and if he will place a copy of the report in the Library. 
Mr. Hutton: The report from Professor Protti is still under consideration. It is informing the preparation of the delivery plan for information and information technology that the Department is preparing as part of taking forward "Delivering the NHS Plan", published in April 2002. Professor Protti's report will be put in the public domain after our delivery plan for information and IT has been announced later in the year.
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