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7 Jan 2003 : Column 205Wcontinued
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prisoners with mental health problems there were awaiting transfer to secure hospitals in each prison in each year since 1997. 
Jacqui Smith: The table shows data from prisons on numbers of prisoners who were waiting for mental health transfer in each prison on the last day of each calendar year since 2000. Earlier figures collected are either incomplete or cannot be verified, and so are not included here.
|As at December|
|East Sutton Park||0||0|
|North Sea Camp||0||0|
(32) Indicates data not availablenew prison
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Jacqui Smith: . Mental health services are provided in prisons by both National Health Service providersmental health in-reach and secondary careand by healthcare staff employed by prisons. In addition, many prisons employ health professionals with mental health speciality on a contractual or sessional basis to support the work of permanent staff or to provide secondary care advice.
Jacqui Smith: In my capacity as Minister responsible for Prison Health matters, I last met with the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Martin Narey, on 11 September 2001. We discussed a number of issues,
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including mental health provision for prisoners. Nigel Crisp, chief executive of the National Health Service and permanent secretary of the Department of Health last met with Mr. Narey on 18 September 2002. Again, a variety of issues, including mental health, were discussed.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what input his Department has had into the proposed committee of senior officials on public health; and what his policy is on the proposed committee. 
Ms Blears: The senior officers group on health inequalities is a cross-Government Group chaired by officials from Her Majesty's Treasury and includes in its membership officials of my Department. This Group has the Department's full support.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 17 December 2002, Official Report, column 783W, for what reason accurate information is not currently available for letters from members of the public. 
Mr. Lammy: Letters from the public arrive at several different points in the Department of Health and we do not collate the information routinely. We have established a new Customer Services Centre to improve the timeliness of responses to correspondence.
Jacqui Smith: Projects are well under way to deliver beds for the dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD) programme at both Broadmoor and Rampton High Security Hospitals. This programme will deliver an additional 70 in-patient beds at both hospitals, to be completed by late 2004. Work is due to commence in January 2003 on an initial 10 bed pilot ward for DSPD patients at Broadmoor, which is expected to open in April 2003.
Jacqui Smith: The Government are aware from the social exclusion unit's XYoung Runaways" (2002) report that it is estimated that 77,000 children and young people run away every year, including nearly 20,000 who are under 11. However, the information
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Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what definition he uses of (a) high secure beds, (b) medium secure beds, (c) low secure beds and (d) long-term secure beds in relation to hospitals. 
Jacqui Smith: High secure beds are intended for those who pose a grave and immediate danger to others. The perimeter security of these hospitals has recently been upgraded to be equivalent of that of a category B prison. There are three such hospitals: Rampton, Broadmoor and Ashworth.
Medium secure beds are designed for those who pose a lesser risk and, although there is significant perimeter security, the emphasis is on security derived from the close attention of the staff of the units.
Low secure beds are those for people who present a minimal risk, often to themselves. They are not designed to prevent a determined escape, and may consist of no more than a locked door to an otherwise conventional ward.
Jacqui Smith: The Government's policy on long-term care for older people is to promote quality, choice and independence by the increased use of alternative forms of care provision, such as intensive home care and extra care or sheltered housing.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, together with colleagues from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, is considering commissioning information which will help to evaluate comprehensively the state of the potential and future development of the extra care home sector.
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