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26 Nov 2002 : Column 213W—continued


Female Genital Mutilation

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that female genital mutilation is not carried out in the UK. [82207]

Ms Blears: To support our continuing work to educate the practising communities to abandon female genital mutilation (FGM), we increased funding for Forward, the leading organisation working in this field, from April 2002 to an annual total of £90,000.

We have also been exploring how we might strengthen the legislation governing FGM.

Agency Fees

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on agency fees in the transfer of temporary agency staff to permanent NHS contracts in each of the last five years, broken down by health authority and primary care trust. [80402]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Alcohol Abuse

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's policy is on seeking to deal with alcohol abuse among young people. [81669]

Ms Blears: The Government are determined to tackle alcohol misuse among young people and measures to tackle misuse will form a key part of the national alcohol harm reduction strategy. The Government are currently conducting a consultation exercise on the strategy, and the consultation period will run until 15 January 2003. Copies of the consultation document have been placed on the Department's website ( and on the Strategy Unit website ( The strategy itself will be published in summer 2003.

British Medical Association

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he last met the Chairman of the BMA; and how many meetings he has had with him in the last 12 months. [83263]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 25 November 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health meets the Chairman of the British Medical Association and other representatives of the medical profession, including the medical Royal Colleges, on a regular and frequent basis.

Clinical Negligence Reform

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish the White Paper on clinical negligence reform. [83282]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 25 November 2002]: Potential reforms to the way clinical negligence claims are handled raise complex issues and need to be considered in tandem with the review of the national

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health service complaints procedure, and my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor's consideration of possible changes in the basis on which compensation is paid. We hope to publish proposals for reform shortly.

Framework Agreement

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when he was informed of the contents of slide 9 of the 'A New Consultant Contract—The Framework Agreement' presentation given by Mr. Andrew Foster Director of Human Resources for the NHS. [81946]

Mr. Hutton: I became aware of this slide following publication of the British Medical Association referendum result on 31 October 2002.

GPs (Wandsworth)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners over the age of 65 are working in medical practices in the London Borough of Wandsworth. [81665]

Mr. Hutton: Figures for the London Borough of Wandsworth are not held centrally. Figures are held for Wandsworth Primary Care Trust and are shown in the table:

General Medical Practitioners aged over 65 in Wandsworth Primary Care Trust as at 31 March 2002 (boundaries as at 1 April 2002)

Wandsworth PCT
All Practitioners(17)209
of which:
Aged 66 and over8

(17) All Practitioners include GMS Unrestricted Principals, PMS Contracted GPs, PMS Salaried GPs, Restricted Principals, Assistants, GP Registrars, Salaried Doctors (Para. 52 SFA), PMS Other and GP Retainers.

Health Action Zones

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated (a) date, (b) cost to his Department and (c) cost to other government bodies is of the mainstreaming of health action zones; and if he will make a statement. [81702]

Ms Blears: Since April 2002, health action zones (HAZs) have been aligning locally with primary care trusts (PCTs) and local strategic partnerships (LSPs), and supporting PCT and LSP development. This process is reflected in the recommendations made by the regional co-ordination unit in their action plan for area based initiatives.

Information is not held centrally about the costs associated with the alignment process.

Licence Fees

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what measures have been put in place to ensure correct billing of licence fees by the HFEA; [80691]

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Ms Blears: From April 2002 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) changed from an annual to a monthly invoicing system for the fees paid by licensed centres. Under this new system the invoices issued each month are based on the number of patient treatment cycles reported to the HFEA in that month, making the reporting and the invoicing easier to reconcile. In addition, the HFEA will visit all licensed centres by the end of 2002–03 to ensure that the centres are recording all the treatments they have undertaken in their monthly returns to the HFEA. The National Audit Office is continuing to monitor developments, working with the HFEA to establish how it will be able to rely on the results of these visits in order to draw conclusions on the accuracy and completeness of income due to the HFEA.

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which hospital trusts provide parking spaces for their employees; and whether they are provided (a) free of charge and (b) subject to a charge. [80804]

Mr. Hutton: No central record is kept of whether national health service trusts provide car parking spaces reserved for employees. Where car parking is provided it is a matter for the NHS trust whether or not to make a charge using their powers to generate additional income to better provide the health service.

LIFT Scheme

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the additional capital expenditure that will be generated by the LIFT scheme. [82283]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 21 November 2002]: The Department estimates that the initial investment from the 'first tranche' of schemes across the 42 local improvement finance trust (LIFT) areas will be in excess of £850 million.

Major Accidents (Fire Strike)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's preparation to deal with major accidents occurring during the industrial action by the FBU. [83307]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 25 November 2002]: All national health service organisations have major incident plans, which are regularly updated and tested. They are also responsible for ensuring that adequate fire precaution measures are taken and that arrangements are put in place to guard against identified risks. In view of the planned strike action by firefighters, the Department reminded Chief Executives and their Boards of their responsibilities, provided good practice guidance, and asked them to review their local procedures in the light of the changed circumstances during the firefighters strike.

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many times he has visited East Lancashire in his official capacity; and what the purpose was of each visit. [82400]

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Mr. Lammy: My right hon. Friend has not yet visited East Lancashire in his official capacity as Secretary of State for Health.

Oncology Nursing

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is allocated to address shortages in oncology nursing within the NHS. [81924]

Ms Blears: By 2003–4 we will be making an additional £570 million available to support the implementation of the NHS Cancer Plan. These increased resources will enable primary care trusts to decide where National Health Service resources are best spent in line with local priorities in providing high clinical standards and good value for money.

The Government is implementing a range of measures to improve recruitment and retention of all staff, including nurses. Since 1997, the nursing workforce has grown by 31,520. Between September 1999 and September 2001 there was a net increase in nurses working in the NHS of 20,740—the NHS Plan target has been reached two years early. The increase in nurse numbers will enable the recruitment of additional cancer-site specific nurse specialists, chemotherapy nurses, district nurses, palliative care nurse specialists and additional nurses on wards caring for cancer patients.

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