|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
31 Oct 2002 : Column 956Wcontinued
37. Dr. Harris : What progress has been made in increasing the proportion of women appointed to non-departmental public bodies since 1997. 
Ms Hewitt: At 31 March 2001, as set out in Public Bodies 2001, 34 per cent of appointments were held by women, this is 2 per cent. up since 1997.
We are determined to deliver on our aim that women should hold 4550 per cent. of public appointments made by the majority of Government departments by the end of 2005 and to address any constraints on diversity and equal representation.
Throughout 2002, we have led a national outreach campaign on women and public appointments, we have reached over 2000 women across the country and the vast majority have said they are now more likely to apply for public appointments.
38. Mr. Graham Allen : What assistance she offers to political parties who wish to reduce the imbalance between the sexes among their candidates. 
Ms Hewitt: The Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act received Royal Assent in February this year. It enables political parties, if they wish, to use positive measures to reduce inequality in the numbers of men and women elected.
We are also reforming government to make it a more attractive option to women, through improving the hours and working environments at all levels of government. However, it is for political parties themselves to decide arrangements for selecting parliamentary candidates. The Government has provided the framework and I am encouraged by the level of cross party support we received for the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act. It has galvanised debates within all parties and I very much hope that as a result we shall see more women being selected to stand.
39. Dr. Gibson : When she will release the Greenfield Report. 
Ms Hewitt: I am looking forward to receiving the final version of the noble Baroness Greenfield's report on women in Science, Engineering and Technology. I
31 Oct 2002 : Column 957W
expect to receive the final version of Baroness Greenfield's report on how we can better promote women in Science, Engineering and Technology by the end of next month. The Department will publish the report as soon as we receive it.
40. Mr. Crausby: What action she is taking to enable working women to balance work and family life. 
Ms Hewitt: From next April, working women will benefit from the enhanced maternity pay and leave; and mothers, as well as fathers with children under the age of 6, or disabled children under 18, will have the right to apply for flexible working arrangements. Their employers will have a statutory duty to consider their requests seriously. The Government's Work-Life Balance Campaign also encourages all employers to follow best practice and offer flexible working arrangements to the benefit of all working women.
By 20034, annual investment in the Government's National Childcare Strategy will have increased to over #200 million, a three-fold increase on the #66 million in 20001, to benefit 1.6 million children in England.
Two new tax credits will be introduced next April, the Child Tax Credit, income related and paid directly to the main carer in the family; and the Working Tax Credit paid to low income working people with or without children. These will replace the existing tax credits, and simplify the system to ensure that people get financial support when they most need it.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on progress made in appointing the new Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice. 
Mr. Browne: Work is ongoing on a revised Implementation Plan for the Criminal Justice Review, which will include details of progress made on the establishment of a Criminal Justice Inspectorate and the appointment of a new Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland. The appointment will be made through open competition. We hope to publish the revised Implementation Plan by early 2003.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the additional organisations to come within the remit of the new Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice. 
Mr. Browne: The Lord Privy Seal (The Lord Williams of Mostyn) will shortly be writing to Members, following an undertaking at Lords Third Reading stage of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act, to update them on progress made on the consultation process on which additional organisations might be added to the list of organisations which will come under the remit of the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice. We hope to bring forward a draft order, using the order-making power at section 46(6) of the Act, before the Christmas recess.
31 Oct 2002 : Column 958W
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the Business Manifesto issued by the Confederation of British Industry for Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Pearson: I welcome this Business Manifesto, which sets out how the CBI sees the important interaction between the public and private sectors to achieve a better economic future. The Manifesto addresses many of the issues which are of critical importance to the development of the Northern Ireland economy and which relate closely to the strategic priorities developed by the Economic Development Forum. I look forward, with my ministerial colleagues, to exploring the proposals contained in the Manifesto.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps will be taken to improve levels of funding to the Down Lisburn Trust by the Eastern Health and Social Services Board. 
Mr. Browne: The Eastern Health and Social Services Board is currently reviewing the equitable distribution of resources to its sub-board populations in light of the recently published results of the 2001 Census of population. Based on the results of this review, the Board will develop a strategy to address the locality equity issue. Following public consultation the implementation of the resultant strategy should commence from April 2003.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will announce a new hospital for Downpatrick in December. 
Mr. Browne: Decisions on the way forward on the redevelopment of the Downe Hospital will be taken following analysis and consideration of the responses to the consultation paper "Developing Better ServicesModernising Hospitals and Reforming Structures". While I would like to be in a position to announce the way forward before the end of this year, it is not possible, at this stage, to be definitive about when decisions will be taken.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reason a post-mortem report was not made available to the bereaved parents of Lee James Booth until 22 July; and whether it is the normal practice for fluids to be administered by mouth so soon after major surgery. 
Mr. Browne: I understand that in seeking to respond to the high volume of calls from distressed relatives, pathologists were not able to make the report available to the parents of Lee James Booth until that date. The Royal Victoria Hospital has apologised to the family for the distress that this delay in conveying the report caused all those concerned.
31 Oct 2002 : Column 959W
The Royal Victoria Hospital has advised that it is unable to comment on the reasons for any actions taken in respect of Lee James Booth as these would have been contained in the patient's medical record which is no longer available, having been destroyed after 25 years.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland where post-mortem forms (a) signed and (b) unsigned by relatives are stored; and for how many years they are kept in storage. 
Mr. Browne: Normal practice is to keep post mortem consent forms with the patient's medical record. In the case of adults these are kept for eight years. Children's charts are kept for 25 years
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland during what period Dr. Molloy was the resident heart surgeon/consultant at the Royal Victoria Hospital; and during this time, what his heart surgery (a) death and (b) success rate was. 
Mr. Browne: The information requested is not available.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the names of the clergy who have officiated at the dignified disposal of retained organs at the Royal Victoria Hosptial since 1972. 
Mr. Browne: It was not normal practice for clergy to be present at the disposal of retained organs. The Hospital has advised that none were present under the auspices of the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will initiate an inquiry into (a) the loss of 10 years' records at the Royal Victoria Hospital and (b) the numbers of organs disposed of in clear-outs at the hospital's organ and tissue store. 
Mr. Browne: As the Human Organs Inquiry observed, it was never anticipated that the records of post mortems would come under such scrutiny so many years after being written. They are not generally computerised and some of them have been lost over time. The inquiry report drew attention to the inadequacy of record-keeping systems, including difficulties in identifying and tracking organs once they were removed. An inquiry into the loss of these particular records is not considered necessary, and my Department has established a steering group to see that improvements in record keeping will be identified and implemented. The method of record keeping previously used within the Royal does not allow for information on the numbers of organs disposed of in clear-outs at the hospitals organ and tissue store to be collated.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when an organ was last retained following a post-mortem performed at the Royal Victoria Hospital; and what access relatives have to information as to what happened to retained organs. 
31 Oct 2002 : Column 960W
Mr. Browne: The Royal Victoria Hospital has informed me that on occasion it is still necessary to retain organs for examination. This is only done with the fully informed consent of relatives who agree in advance on what will happen to the retained organs.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|