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9 Jun 2003 : Column 693W—continued

Public Service Agreement

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what grades of officials are responsible for the monitoring of progress towards the public service agreement targets of his Department. [109477]

Mr. Lammy: Monitoring progress towards the Department's public service agreement targets is undertaken by a wide variety of staff at all levels of the organisation.

Retinal Cameras

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding he is making available for retinal cameras in the NHS; and how many cameras this sum will fund. [116901]

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Mr. Lammy: Funding totalling £27 million for the national health service to purchase state of the art digital cameras and related equipment for screening people with diabetes for the signs of diabetic retinopathy was announced on 22 April. We anticipate this will provide one camera per 100,000 population.

Unused Drugs

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if his Department has made an assessment of whether anti-tamper containers would be of use for reducing expenditure on unused drugs; [117012]

Mr. Lammy: It is estimated that unused medicines returned to pharmacies are probably worth £100 million per year. Although information is collected on which primary care trusts have schemes in place for the collection and disposal of waste medicines, we do not collect information on the kinds of drugs that are returned to pharmacies unused.

Anti tamper containers would not be of use for reducing expenditure on unused drugs since, once medicines have been dispensed, they cannot be reused. The reasons for this include hygiene and safety. It is also not possible to guarantee that any returned medicines have been stored appropriately in patients' homes.

Voluntary Organisations

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding programmes are operated by his Department to support voluntary organisations working with young people; and what the level of support has been over the last three years. [116496]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 3 June 2003]: The Department gives grants to voluntary organisations working with young people.

The main support, given through grants to national voluntary organisations working in the health and social care fields, is under the Section 64 General Scheme of grants (Section 64 of the Health and Public Services Act 1968). Grants for those organisations working with young people are shown in the table.


Policy Area2000–01 2001–02 2002–03
Child care/child abuse3,866,1092,688,7702,739,973
Child health632,013958,1021,775,797

Waiting Times (Hull)

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what methods are used to calculate patient waiting times at the Acute Assessment Unit at Hull Royal Infirmary. [116736]

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Jacqui Smith: Waiting times for admission to the acute assessment unit (AAU) at the Hull Royal Infirmary are included as part of the data collected by Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust showing the length of time patients spend in accident and emergency before being admitted, discharged or transferred. Once a patient has been admitted to the AAU, they are no longer classed as being in A&E.

The AAU at Hull Royal is not a part of the A&E department. It is a medical assessment area where patients are managed according to the individual patient's clinical needs.

These figures are collected using the patient administration system.


Administration Running Costs

David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the monthly running costs of (a) the Northern Ireland Assembly, (b) Members of the Assembly and (c) the Assembly administration have been since the Assembly was dissolved. [117204]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Assembly was dissolved on 28 April. The monthly running costs based on financial transactions for May 2003 are as follows:

Assembly Secretariat—staffing785
Assembly Secretariat—running costs408
Former MLAs—salary costs217
Former MLAs—staffing588
All other Member/Party costs172
Total monthly costs2,170

Belfast Regeneration Office

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many applications have been received by the Belfast Regeneration Office; how long it takes to process each application on average; and how many applications have taken six months or more to process. [116834]

Mr. Browne: The following table relates to applications received by Belfast Regeneration Office during the period 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003.

Total number of applications received by BRO522
Average length of time it takes to process an application (months)3.8
Number of applications which have taken six months to process52

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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what training prospective childminders must complete before becoming registered with health trusts in Northern Ireland. [116968]

Mr. Browne: Article 125 of the Children (NI) Order 1995 sets out the requirements which an HSS Trust must impose on a person's registration and with which the registered person must comply.

While some HSS Trusts make available to prospective childminding applicants pre-registration training, there is no mandatory requirement that prospective childminders must have completed any specified training before becoming registered with a Health and Social Services Trust.

Disabled People

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what events are planned to mark the European Year of Disabled People in Northern Ireland. [115984]

Mr. Browne: An on-going rolling programme of events and initiatives is being taken forward to mark the European Year of People with Disabilities (EYPD) in Northern Ireland. This started with the widely publicised official launch of EYPD in Grosvenor House Belfast on 22 January 2003. Since then, Government have made available £100,000 to support 22 small, local projects in Northern Ireland. This adds to the £222,000 awarded to 12 Northern Ireland projects from the UK fund for the Year. These projects will make a significant contribution to the objectives of the Year, which are to increase awareness of rights and increase participation of people with disability in Northern Ireland.

Examples of projects being undertaken include the Compass Advocacy Group Regional Development Project, which received funding to establish a comprehensive network of user-led self-advocacy groups in each Health Board area for people with learning disabilities; and the Circles Network, a Northern Ireland Partnership in Policy Making Programme, which received funding to work in partnership with the four Health Boards to facilitate a range of leadership/empowerment courses for disabled people and for the parents and carers of disabled people.

These and other regional and local activities are being co-ordinated in partnership with the Equality Commission, local government, the voluntary and business sectors and trade unions.

A list of events and activities has been placed in the Library of the House and this will be updated throughout the Year as plans are finalised. Information will also be published on the website

European Year of People with Disabilities

Schedule of planned activities and events in Northern Ireland (as at 2 June 2003)

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Planned events

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