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31 Oct 2002 : Column 938Wcontinued
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out the (a) Health Professional Council registration fees for radiographers for each of the last three years and (b) proposed registration fees for the next two years. 
Mr. Hutton: Radiographers and other health professions regulated by the Health Professions Council (HPC) are subject to independent self-regulation, which is self-financing. Since 1990 the registration fee has only increased by #10. For the last three years it has remained at the level of #22.
The HPC's role has expanded substantially since it succeeded the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM) and the HPC has recently consulted on proposals for the new register. This included the level of fees, which it proposes to set at between #65-#85 per year, payable on a two yearly basis, commencing April 2003.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) radiographers and (b) vacant posts for radiographers there were in each of the last five years, broken down by (i) health authority and (ii) region. 
Mr. Hutton The information requested has been placed in the Library.between September 1997 and September 2001, the number of diagnostic radiographers has increased by 800 from 10,360 to 11,160 and the number of therapeutic radiographers has increased by 130 from 1,410 to 1,540.
Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how redundancy payments are calculated for executives of NHS trusts made redundant by trust mergers; and what the average such payment has been. 
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Mr. Hutton: The arrangements for the calculation of redundancy payments for National Health Service staff are set out in Section 45 and 46 of the Whitley General Council Handbook. A copy of this document is available in the Library.
Payments to executives of NHS trusts made redundant by trust mergers are not collected centrally.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what timetable he proposes for the changes to social services departments announced recently. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 28 October 2002]:At the Annual Social Services Conference on 16 October my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, set out a number of proposals for changes to the way services are delivered. Our plans for implementation include:
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) by what means the National Institute for Mental Health in England will identify suicide hotspots; and who will have responsiblity to take action in respect of them; 
Jacqui Smith: The National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) will be working with a number of local agencies to develop guidance on identifying and taking appropriate action at suicide hotspots. This will involve close partnership working with a number of local agencies including police and emergency services, local authorities, the national health service and voluntary sector, railway authorities
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and coroners. Specific intervention and prevention measures will depend on the nature and location of each hotspot identified.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who is carrying out the suicide and open verdict on the railways report; and when it is expected to be published. 
Jacqui Smith: The suicide and open verdict on the railway network (SOVRN) project is a three-year study. SOVRN is co-sponsored by railway safety and the national health service, managed through Doncaster and South Humber Healthcare NHS Trust, and in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Community Health Sheffield NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham. The report is due to be published in December 2002.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role the Department of Health and its statutory agencies will play in truancy sweeps. 
Jacqui Smith: Health and social services were involved in truancy sweeps in 82 of the local education authorities, which reported on the May truancy sweep exercise. Health professionals, such as community psychiatric nurses and social workers, focus on follow-up work with individual children and/or families.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of people waiting more than (a) three months, (b) six months, (c) nine months and (d) 12 months for (i) speech and language therapy, (ii) treatment for depression, (iii) occupational therapy and (iv) chiropody services; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 24 October 2002]: Waiting times data are collected on in-patient elective admissions and first outpatient appointments following general practitioner referral and are specifically consultant led services with data attributed to the consultant's main specialty function. Data on patients' waiting times are not collected by the categories in the question.
Dr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to set national standards for waiting times in audiology services from time of referral to fitting. 
Jacqui Smith: There are no plans, at this time, to set national standards for waiting times for audiology services. The modernising hearing aid services project is being extended so that by the end of this financial year there will be 50 sites involved, with at least a further 15 equipped to supply digital hearing aids from next April. A new, more streamlined patient process will be introduced at these second wave sites from the outset
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and at first wave sites over the next few months. In addition we are in the middle of a pilot which is looking at the role the private sector can play in reducing waiting times for supply of digital hearing aids. We will continue to look at ways of reducing the waiting times for hearing aid services as the project moves on.
Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the findings of the investigation into the Criminal Records Bureau; and what changes he proposes to implement. 
Hilary Benn: In early September the Home Secretary appointed an independent team to review the situation at the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). The review is continuing. The main focus of the team's work centres on what needs to be done to ensure the medium and long-term success of the service. They are taking a fundamental look at all aspects of the CRB's operation and will report to the Home Secretary in due course.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what his latest estimate is of the time for each Criminal Records Bureau check on (a) teachers and (b) classroom assistants in England and Wales; 
Hilary Benn [holding answer 15 October 2002]: The estimated average turnaround of checks processed by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) remains at approximately six weeks. This is measured from the point at which a correctly completed form is received by CRB, accompanied by all relevant supporting details. No distinction is made in relation to the profession of an applicant. They are all subject to the same level of service.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalties have been incurred by Capita on the Criminal Records Bureau contract; and if he will make a statement. 
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Hilary Benn: There is provision for penalties for delay or poor performance. Liquidated damages have been incurred by Capita for delay although the details remain commercial in confidence and cannot be divulged. The main priority is for the Criminal Records Bureau and Capita to collaborate in order to achieve further improvement in the quality of service.
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