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In accordance with "Working Together to Safeguard Children" (1999), the Government's child protection guidance, the area child protection committee (ACPC) should make appropriate arrangements to involve youth offending teams in its work as needed.
Mrs. Browning : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the Government's response to the Audit Commission proposals that audiology waiting times should be collected and targeted. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 6 February 2003]: The Department collects data on waits for first outpatient appointments and inpatient admissions. This provides a broad overview of waiting times for a range of services provided by consultants. These services cover consultation, diagnosis and treatment and the information has proven itself to be valuable for managing the national health service.
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We are in the process of modernising the hearing aid service and demand for hearing aids tends to rise as soon as sites are modernised and digital hearing aids are available free on the NHS. The modernisation project team at the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and the Modernisation Agency are working with sites to help them reduce waiting times and we are currently testing ways of boosting NHS capacity by involving private sector partners.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) carers and (b) young carers of school age there are in (i) the Leeds, West constituency and (ii) the city of Leeds; what support is given to (A) carers and (B) young carers of school age; and if he will make a statement. 
Carers are entitled to an assessment to determine their needs as carers and eligibility for support. The carers grant, worth £100 million next year, provides money for local councils to provide short breaks for carers to enable them to continue in their caring role. Following my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's announcement in July 2002, the grant will continue until 2006, during which time it will more than double to £185 million to provide extended care and 130,000 further breaks to carers.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance based on the conclusions of the Victoria Climbié inquiry has been issued to social services departments about the criteria which must be satisfied before a case involving a vulnerable child is closed. 
Jacqui Smith: No guidance has yet been issued based on the conclusions of the Victoria Climbié inquiry. We have announced that we will be issuing new guidance, to reach all professional staff dealing with the safeguarding of children, within three months of 28 January 2003, the date of publication of the inquiry's report.
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The Joint Chief Inspectors' report, "Safeguarding Children", published on 14 October 2002, contains a recommendation that the Home Office should ensure that the relationship between MAPPPs and ACPCs is clarified.
Jacqui Smith: On 30 October 2002, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced that we will be publishing a Green Paper on Children at Risk. We are examining a range of options, including those relating to child protection and youth offending, as part of the work on the Green Paper.
Jacqui Smith: On 30 October 2002, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced that we will be publishing a Green Paper on Children at Risk. We are examining a range of options relating to possible reforms of child protection, and its related legislation, as part of the work to develop the Green Paper.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements are in place for social services departments responsible for looked after children to alert other agencies by electronic means about children who go missing from their usual place of residence. 
Jacqui Smith: "Children Missing from Care and Homea guide to good practice", was issued to every English local authority in November 2002, under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, which means that, expect in exceptional circumstances, councils must follow its advice.
The guidance requires that, where a child in care is assessed to be missing, the authority responsible for their care must ensure that all is being done to locate them and return them to a place of safety. In order to do this the authority will have to inform the police and other relevant agencies and should also usually inform the child's parents. In individual cases, local authorities will be responsible for deciding on the most effective method for alerting the police and other agencies.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 27 January 2003, Official Report, column 670W, on the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, how many days per month the (a) chairman, (b) chief executive
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and (c) each commission are contracted to work in their duties for the new Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health. 
Mr. Lammy: The Chair of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health is appointed to work around 1012 days a month. Commissioners have a time commitment of around 2.5 days a month. The Chief Executive is contracted on a full-time basis.
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National Care Standards Commission, the possibilities for introducing regulation of day services which provide personal or nursing care. We are currently considering how to conduct the review and will publish our conclusions later in the year.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total drugs bill was for the (a) hospital and community health service and (b) family health service for the most recent year for which figures are available. 
|Outturn (£ million)
|Family Health Service Drug Expenditure
|Hospital Community and Health ServicesDrug Expenditure
|Total Drug Expenditure