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13 Mar 2003 : Column 413W—continued

Race Hate Crimes

22. Mr. Dismore: To ask the Solicitor-General what her policy is on prosecution of race hate crimes. [102724]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service reviews all allegations of inciting racial hatred in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

All such allegations are considered individually, on their own merits. However when considering the public interest of such prosecutions the Code for Crown Prosecutors specifically states that

All such prosecutions are dealt with by the Casework Directorate where they are reviewed by a team of specialist lawyers and no prosecution takes place without the consent of the Attorney-General.

Serious Fraud Office

23. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Solicitor-General what the priorities of the Serious Fraud Office are. [102725]

The Solicitor-General: The main priority of the Serious Fraud Office is the investigation and prosecution of serious and complex fraud.

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Other priorities include raising public awareness of the dangers of fraud and maintaining confidence in the UK's business and financial institutions.

The Attorney-General and I are keen to support the SFO in their work which is why I met the Federation of Small Businesses the CPS and the SFO on 5 March to share their views on ways of combating fraud perpetrated against businesses.


Construction Industry (Accidents)

Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment the Health and Safety Executive has made of the risk to members of the public from activities of construction companies who are involved in accidents. [102323]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The risk from construction work to the public can be significant. Those who create the risks are therefore legally required to control them. The Health and Safety Executive has issued practical guidance "Protecting the public—your next move" to help those in the construction industry to understand their legal responsibilities to the public and to explain how to eliminate hazards and control risks which could affect the public. The Health and Safety Executive also runs regular publicity campaigns to discourage children from playing on construction sites.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the number of persons claiming Jobseeker's Allowance while working in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [102776]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The information requested is in the table.

Jobseeker's Allowance claimants declaring part-time earnings
(under 16 hours per week)

As at AugustThousand


1. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation.

2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands.


Jobseeker's Allowance Quarterly Statistical Enquiries, August 1997 to August 2002.


Accident and Emergency Admissions

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS patients were admitted to wards from

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accident and emergency departments within (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) more than four hours, after being first seen by a doctor or consultant in (i) February 1997 and (ii) the latest month for which figures are available. [97838]

Mr. Lammy: The Department collects quarterly data regarding waiting times in accident and emergency, post decision to admit.

The latest month for which figures are available is Quarter 2, July to September 2002–03—388,247 patients were placed in a bed in a ward within two hours of a decision to admit. 120,915 patients were placed in a bed in a ward within two to four hours of a decision to admit and 509,229 of patients were placed in a ward within four hours of a decision to admit.

In Quarter 4, January to March 1996–97, 360,246 patients were placed in a bed in a ward within two hours of a decision to admit. 58,540 patients were placed in a bed in a ward within two to four hours of a decision to admit and 293,145 patients were placed in a ward within four hours of a decision to admit.

Care Homes

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many elderly residents of each London borough have been placed in care homes outside London in the last 12 months; and how many people from outside London have been placed in care homes inside London in the last 12 months, broken down by social services department. [101309]

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


Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter to him dated 27 January 2003 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Gorton Constituency Labour Party. [100684]

Mr. Milburn: A reply was sent to my right hon. Friend on 12 March.


Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he will take to provide people with dementia requiring long-term care with specialist, trained care staff; and what provision has been made under the free nursing care policy for such provision; [102040]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 12 March 2003]: In response to comments from the Alzheimer's Society, draft supplementary guidance on national health service funded nursing care, that was issued for consultation on 20 December 2002, highlighted the importance of nurses assessing people's mental health as well as physical health needs, particularly in cases of dementia. This will be reflected in forthcoming guidance.

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As far as NHS-funded nursing care is concerned, people with dementia should be treated no differently from people with other conditions. The level of input from a registered nurse is determined at the appropriate level of funding. Care homes that specialise in dementia care may provide more appropriate care for some people with dementia than a care home providing nursing care.

The older people's national service framework (NSF) sets out to ensure that people with dementia have access to integrated mental health services, provided by the NHS and councils, to ensure effective diagnosis, treatment and support for them and for their carers. Work to support implementation of the NSF includes a strand on work force development. There is a dementia subgroup of the older people's care group work force team, and this is looking at the steps that need to be taken to ensure that there are the right skills and numbers of staff in place to care for people with dementia.


John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when retrograde amalgam fillings for teeth were first introduced in England and Wales. [98352]

Mr. Lammy: As far as records indicate, the treatment has been used since at least the inception of the national health service in 1948.

Mental Health

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of people who would be subject to compulsory treatment, whether resident or non-resident, under the proposals contained in the draft Mental Health Bill, who are currently exempt under the Mental Health Act 1983. [100820]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 4 March 2003]: The 1983 Mental Act liberalised the law to incorporate more tolerant public attitudes in relation to sexual preference so that this could no longer be viewed as a condition of mental disorder. Also excluded were people who are substance or alcohol misusers.

However, people with psychosis exacerbated or caused by substance misuse, including alcohol, can be treated under the 1983 Act. A misunderstanding of section 1(3) of the Act has resulted in many instances in substance abusers being denied the treatment they need.

Proposals under the Bill will remove all exclusions to ensure that those who fulfil all the conditions for compulsion receive the help that they need.

The draft Mental Health Bill proposes a single broad definition of mental disorder, coupled with tightly drawn conditions that must be satisfied for compulsory powers to be used. It is the intention that the strict conditions will ensure that the powers are only used where the patient is suffering from a mental disorder which is serious enough to require treatment under the care of a mental health consultant; the risk to self or others warrants it and appropriate treatment is available for the individual patient. This approach would remove exclusions and the "treatability"

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requirement so that there are no arbitrary obstacles to the treatment of anyone who satisfies the conditions for compulsion.

While the new legislation will lead to some change in the group of people treated, overall it is not the intention that more people will be subject to compulsion under the Bill. Investment under the NHS Plan and service improvements under the national service framework for mental health, such as assertive outreach, crisis resolution and early intervention, will help to provide more effective care and ensure that fewer people become so ill that they need compulsory treatment.

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