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(2) how much the Department expects to spend in severance payments when the Strategic Rail Authority is abolished. 
Mr. Darling: Work is in progress, following publication of the rail White Paper in July, to determine which of the SRA's functions will continue and which body will exercise them. Until decisions have been taken, it is too soon to know how many SRA staff will transfer elsewhere and how many might become eligible for severance payments.
It is important to draw upon the high degree of commitment among the Northern Ireland parties to bring about resumed devolution at an early stage. Recent meetings with all parties have made me confident of support from all sides and good prospects for restoring stable devolved government to Northern Ireland.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) police officers, (b) rioters, (c) army personnel and (d) ordinary civilians were injured in disturbances in Northern Ireland on 12 and 13 July. 
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2004, Official Report, column 530W, on the Andersonstown Newspaper Group, whether the monies were allocated for projects (a) outside the UK and (b) in the Republic of Ireland. 
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to ensure all patients requiring anti-TNF drugs for rheumatoid arthritis will receive this medication within three months. 
Angela Smith: The degree to which the health and social care system can respond to presenting needs is limited by the level of resources available. Although there are no plans to ensure that all patients requiring anti-TNF drugs for rheumatoid arthritis will receive this medication within three months, my Department remains committed to extending the availability of these specialist drugs where they will clearly result in a significant improvement in patient care.
Substantial extra funding has been allocated to the Health and Social Services Boards to allow 100 additional patients to receive anti-TNF drugs during this financial year. The Department of Health, Social Services will continue to seek additional resources to further improve access to these and other specialist medicines.
7 Sept 2004 : Column 1135W
Mr. Pearson: I have no plans to introduce special programmes to support and encourage apple growing in Northern Ireland. Producer organisations in the sector can avail of financial assistance through the structural support arrangements under the EC Fruit and Vegetable Regime. Further, the Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Countryside Management Schemes include options whereby scheme participants may receive payment towards the restoration or re-creation of traditional orchards.
Aid is available to the apple processing sector through the EU Agricultural Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme and the EU Marketing of Quality Agricultural Products Grant Scheme. Invest NI also provides assistance to companies in the sector.
David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to his oral statement of 21 July 2004, Official Report, columns 34370, what Royal Naval presence he plans around the coast of Northern Ireland to secure the Province against illegal importation of arms and explosives by sea. 
Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the level of delayed hospital discharges in the Homefirst Health and Social Services Trust area; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Smith: The most recent figures show that, at the end of April 2004, there were 111 patients in the Homefirst Health and Social Services Trust area whose discharge was delayed, amounting to 29 per cent. of the Northern Ireland total of 387. The total number of delayed days amounted to 6,124 with a patient average of 55 delayed days. Thirty-three Homefirst residents had remained in hospital for more than three weeks and another 47 were still in hospital at the end of eight weeks.
It is unacceptable that some people have to remain in hospital long after they are medically fit for discharge. A target has been set for all Health and Social Services Boards to ensure that, by 31 March 2005, 85 per cent. of all people who are medically fit for discharge should wait no more than eight weeks for community services to be provided and that the number of delayed discharge days is reduced by 10 per cent. compared to 200304 levels. Considerable additional resources have been allocated to ensure that these targets are met.
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Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action is being taken to reduce delayed hospital discharges within the Homefirst Health and Social Services Trust area. 
Angela Smith: The Northern Health and Social Services Board has developed a strategy for older people to reflect the needs of its growing and ageing population. Over the past 18 months the board has been working to implement a comprehensive range of services to address the high levels of delayed discharges in its area, and is planning to invest over £4 million in the Elderly Programme of Care during 200405.
A number of measures have been put in place aimed at reducing hospital admissions and speeding up the discharge process. Additional nursing home places have been funded, Home from Hospital and community rehabilitation services have been expanded across the whole Homefirst Trust area, and Rapid Response Nursing services have been established to provide acute care in the Homefirst community.
Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effect of delayed hospital discharges in the Homefirst Health and Social Services Trust on hospital waiting lists at (a) Antrim and (b) Whiteabbey hospitals. 
Angela Smith: Delayed discharges have some impact on waiting lists at Antrim, Whiteabbey and other hospitals, although the scale of this is difficult to quantify. Delayed discharges increase the pressure on medical beds and when medical beds are full, new medical patients may be admitted to surgical wards and this can sometimes impact on the level of surgical activity.
Work is currently under way to re-design and reform the emergency care service in Northern Ireland. Health and Social Services Boards and Trusts are required to develop plans to streamline processes relating to emergency patient flows at all hospitals so that, by 31 March 2005, the number of delayed discharge days is reduced by 10 per cent. compared to 200304 levels. This work, coupled with planned increases in capacity, such as the 24-bed ward at Antrim hospital due to open in 2005, will reduce the need for medical patients to be cared for in surgical wards.
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