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15 Dec 2003 : Column 755Wcontinued
Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the targets for service improvements for adults with learning disabilities set out in the White Paper, Valuing People, to be achieved. 
Dr. Ladyman: The White Paper, "Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century" (Cm 5086), published in March 2001, sets out our proposals for improving services for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers. The White Paper said that it would take a minimum of five years to make the changes it described.
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Learning Disability Partnership Boards at local council level
The National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities
The Valuing People Support Team, headed by the National Director for Valuing People
A range of guidance, and plans developed by partnership boards to deliver change locally in areas such as person-centred planning, employment, and housing and support.
Our annual report on learning disability, "Making Change Happen" (HC 514), published in April 2003, described the progress made in implementing the "Valuing People" proposals; a copy was sent to all English hon. and right hon. Members. Our next annual report will describe developments since April.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average life span of (a) ambulances and (b) defibrillator batteries is; and what measures ambulance trusts are required to put in place to ensure that there is an orderly process by which to replace obsolescent equipment. 
Defibrillators are supplied with rechargeable batteries. Different battery technologies are used by different suppliers. The majority of suppliers suggest that the battery, if used and maintained correctly, will last between two to three years. This equates to an 'in use time' of in excess of 100 full power shocks (the full power rating differs between machines).
Community defibrillatorsautomatic external defibrillators (AEDs) which are currently in use in public places during this phase of the National Defibrillator Programme contain lithium batteries. The average life expectancy for this type of battery is five years, depending on the type of AED, the site it serves and the number of deployments.
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The figures presently available refer to reported violent incidents in ambulance trusts as opposed to actual assaults on staff and include incidents of verbal abuse. These figures are shown in the table.
The Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (CFSMS) was launched in April 2003, with a remit encompassing policy and operational responsibility for the management of security in the NHS. The CFSMS has introduced a national reporting system for recording physical assaults on staff and professionals working in the NHS with the ability to track cases and give accurate information on the level of assaults.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been convicted of assaulting ambulance staff in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what action is being taken to tackle violent crime against paramedics and other ambulance staff. 
Mr. Hutton: Information on the number of successful prosecutions of individuals who assault staff and professionals in the national health service, including ambulance staff, has not been routinely collected through any central mechanism.
The CFSMS has introduced a national reporting system for recording incidents of physical assault. The system uses a legally based definition of assault, with the ability to track cases from start to finish, thus allowing for intervention where appropriate and necessary, in order to ensure the best possible outcome for the person assaulted. This system will be able to produce hard and accurate data about physical assaults as well as number of prosecutions.
The CFSMS has set up a Legal Protection Unit (LPU) to work with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to increase the number of prosecutions of persons who assault staff and professionals. The LPU will be providing health bodies with cost-effective advice on a wide range of sanctions, both civil and criminal, that can be taken against offenders.
Mr. Hutton: The proposed new pay system for all non-medical national health service employees, including ambulance staff, "Agenda for Change", has been negotiated over the past four years by NHS staff and employer representatives working in partnership. This includes a three-year pay deal that will give a 10 per cent., pay increase to all staff for the period 200304 to 200506.
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From 1 April 2004, ambulance staff on national contracts will receive an uplift of 3.225 per cent., as part of this deal. From October 2004, when the new pay system is rolled out across the NHS, most ambulance staff are likely to receive further increases in pay on top of 3.225 per cent., but the impact on particular staff will vary depending on a range of factors, including the basic pay band to which their job matches and the amount of out-of-hours work they undertake.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the health implications for (a) ramblers and (b) their children of frequenting country areas in which infective material has been deposited by TB-infected badgers. 
The threat to public health from bovine TB is low and the disease is treatable. Of the 40 or so cases now seen each year in Britain the majority are in people over 55 years of age. These are thought to have been infected before the introduction of widespread pasteurisation of milk. This figure has remained stable despite the increasing incidence of TB in cattle. The geographical distribution of human cases does not reflect the spread of bovine TB in the cattle population. Arrangements are in place with the Department of Health to investigate the potential links to human health, and monitor human cases of M. bovis.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what visits (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department (i) have made and (ii) plan to make using public funds in connection with the Big Conversation; how many civil servants accompanied each Minister in respect of such visits; what the cost to public funds was of visits by (A) each Minister and (B) civil servants in connection with the Big Conversation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether virally inactivated fresh frozen plasma is available to the NHS for transfusions in respect of babies and young children born since 1 January 1996. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The decision taken to import fresh frozen plasma (FFP) from the United States for young babies and children born after 1 January 1996 will provide additional protection to the most vulnerable group who will not have been exposed to BSE through the food chain. The National Blood Authority (NBA) is currently involved in negotiating for supplies of FFP for this group of patients. This FFP will be virally inactivated, and its planned availability
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will be in the New Year. In addition, the NBA also implemented viral inactivation for UK FFP for this patient group in August 2002. Viral inactivation is designed to remove certain viruses that may be transmitted by transfusion.
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