Previous Section Index Home Page

3 Feb 2003 : Column 98W—continued

Vocational Training

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure that pupils participating in vocational training schemes are guaranteed work placements with commercial employers. [94316]

Mr. Miliband: The Department is undertaking a number of initiatives to boost the range and volume of high quality vocational opportunities available to 14 to 19 year olds. These already include a £10 million programme to ensure that two weeks of work experience with employers or other organisations is available for all pupils in Key Stage 4; vocational courses under the £120 million Increased Flexibility for 14 to 16 year olds programme; and the first round of 25 Pathfinders to test local delivery of innovative 14 to 19 provision in a range of settings, which are jointly funded by the Department and the Learning and Skills Council.

We have recently announced our proposals for further developments and have made it clear that we want to see access for all young people to short or longer-term employer placements with a wide variety of organisations, which are challenging, innovative and responsive to a range of individual needs.

Where schools offer pupils the opportunity to study NVQs as an alternative to the traditional academic route, whether at Key Stage 4 or post-16, the NVQ must be as rigorous as those offered elsewhere. The main characteristic of an NVQ is that it is work-based and pupils are trained and assessed in a relevant real-life work situation.


Alcohol Strategy

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy in the alcohol strategy to ensure that young people with underlying emotional or mental health problems are fully assessed and where necessary referred to tier 3 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. [93724]

Ms Blears: The Government is committed to implementing the national alcohol harm reduction strategy by 2004. The strategy will be prepared by the Cabinet Office strategy unit, who will consider a wide range of issues including health service needs and the needs of vulnerable young people. The strategy will be published in Summer 2003.

The capacity of the child and adolescent mental health services to respond to a range of needs, including those of young people whose alcohol problems have underlying emotional or mental health causes, is steadily improving. However, appropriate assessment and referral arrangements are for local services to determine.

3 Feb 2003 : Column 99W

Child Care

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the practice of placing grandchildren with their grandparents rather than in care in the event of a family crisis; and whether it is his policy that this practice is the first option looked at when examining the needs of a child. [93551]

Jacqui Smith: The Children Act 1989 places a duty on local authorities to promote the upbringing of children within their families. If a child cannot remain with birth parents then arrangements should be made for that child to live with a member of his wider family unless to do so would be impractical or inconsistent with the child's welfare. If the child is already in care there is the same duty to seek first to place the child within the wider family network.


Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many abortions have been performed on girls aged 12 and under in each of the last five years; at what age each girl having the abortion was; in which local

3 Feb 2003 : Column 100W

area health authority each abortion was performed; in which NHS hospital or private clinic each abortion was performed; and at what stage of gestation each abortion was performed; [93214]

Ms Blears: The information requested has been placed in the Library. In order to preserve the individuals' privacy, the data have been provided in three separate tables. For the same reason, the Department of Health does not publish data on place of termination; Open Government Code of Practice exemptions 11b, 12, 14a and 14c apply.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 13 January 2003 to the hon. Member for Romsey (Sandra Gidley), Official Report, column 480W, on abortions, if he will disaggregate the figures for the Isle of Wight. [93833]

Ms Blears: The information requested is shown in the table.

NHS Funded abortions for Isle of Wight residents, 1997–2001

Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire1,5841,6201,5321,5261,566
Isle of Wight only181194166195227


1. Data for 1997 to 2000 are for the Health Authority of the Isle of Wight (equivalent to Isle of Wight Local Authority).

2. Data for 2001 are for the Local Authority of the Isle of Wight.


Prepared by Statistics Division 3G, Department of Health.

Accidents and Emergencies (Waiting Times)

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the target for a four-hour maximum accident and emergency waiting time by 2004 was set; what the baseline was for this target; and what figures he has collected on progress made towards meeting the target in each quarter since the target was set. [93697]

Mr. Lammy: The NHS Plan includes the target that no patient should spend more than four hours in accident and emergency (A&E) from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge by December 2004. When this target was set, the Department of Health did not collect data on total time in accident and emergency.

The Department of Health measures total waiting time in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge. This has been collected from August 2001.

The first full and validated data was published in Quarter 2, 2002–03. This showed that 77 per cent. of patients spend four hours or less in A&E.


David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions an ambulance has been despatched to a 999 call at the request of a first responder vehicle in each of the last 12 months. [93782]

Mr. Lammy: This information is not collected centrally. Every time a first responder is tasked, the ambulance control room will despatch an ambulance.

Ambulances (Oswestry)

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost was of running ambulances for (a) elective and (b) non-elective cases from the Oswestry area to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in 2002. [93515]

Mr. Lammy: The information requested is not collected by the Department.

Care Homes

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on progress on the consultation exercise on National Minimum Standards for Care Homes for Older People and National Minimum Standards for Care Homes for Younger Adults (18–65) Proposed Amended Environmental Standards; and when he expects to announce his decisions arising out of this consultation. [94568]

Jacqui Smith: The consultation exercise ended on 8 November 2002. We have carefully considered all the comments we received. We will be making a formal announcement of our conclusions shortly and we will publish revised standards as soon as possible.

3 Feb 2003 : Column 101W

Child Deaths

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which agency has responsibility for overseeing the conduct of a Part 8 Review following the death of a child. [94090]

Jacqui Smith: In accordance with "Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999)", the area child protection committee (ACPC) for the area in which the child was normally resident should take lead responsibility for conducting any review.

The initial scoping of the review should identify those who should contribute, although it may emerge as information becomes available that the involvement of others would be useful. Each relevant service should undertake a separate management review of its involvement with the child and family. Each local authority with social services responsibility should take lead responsibility for the establishment and effective working of ACPCs.

The ACPC should commission an overview report which brings together and analyses the findings of the various reports from agencies and others who were involved with the child and family, and which makes recommendations for future action.

Fertility Rates

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 21 November 2002, Official Report, column 241W, on fertility rates, when the two studies into male fertility will be published. [94152]

Ms Blears: Work has been completed on two studies into male fertility and the data are currently being analysed. Project reports are due to be submitted to the Department at the end of March 2003. These will then be peer-reviewed before wider publication of the findings.

Next Section Index Home Page