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Research Councils (Grants)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the level of Government grant to each research council was in each of the last three years. [188401]


 
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Ms Hewitt: The specific allocation made to each of the seven UK Research Councils, from the Office of Science and Technology 's Science Budget, for the last three years, is fully outlined in the DTI's publication, entitled the Science Budget, 2001–02 to 2003–04. Copies of the document were placed in the Libraries of the House.

Science and Innovation Investment Framework

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what qualitative analysis was undertaken in the preparation of the paper Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004–2014, published in July, to determine the likely consequences of the proposed investment strategy on the types of research projects undertaken in the United Kingdom. [188078]

Ms Hewitt: A range of analysis was used in the preparation of the Science and Investment Framework 2004–2014 including a public consultation to which around 200 responses were received from individuals and organisations including businesses, charities, higher education institutes and representative organisations. The framework builds on the substantial work of the DTI Innovation report and the Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration, both published in 2003. The proposed investment strategy does not attempt to determine the types of research projects that should be undertaken. Allocation of funding to specific projects will continue to be governed by excellence and relevance to the needs of potential users and the nation. The framework identifies the strategy to underpin the Government's ambition, shared with its partners in the private and not-for-profit sectors, is for the UK to be a key knowledge hub in the global economy, with a reputation for outstanding scientific and technological discovery as well as turning the knowledge into new products and services.

Science Expenditure

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will estimate the proportion of the United Kingdom total science spending which is fully independent of commercial interests; and what trends the Government have identified relating to past and future variations in this proportion of science spending in the UK. [188076]

Ms Hewitt: The Government's commitment to the continuing excellence of UK science was reinforced by the outcome of the 2004 Spending Review, in which it announced annual real growth in the public science base of 5.8 per cent., through the DTI and DfES, which will see it climb to over £5 billion by 2007. That is more than a billion pounds more than this year and nearly double the expenditure in 1997. The Government fully recognise the role that public and private organisations including businesses and charities play in the investment of the science base. As, outlined in the Science and Innovation Framework 2004–14, we aim to further encourage collaboration between the various
 
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organisations. No estimate has been made of the proportion of the total spend which is fully independent of such interests.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Abortions

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of terminations performed in the Province in each of the last 10 years. [187453]

Angela Smith: The following table provides figures for the number of medical abortions recorded in Northern Ireland hospitals for each year from 1995 (the earliest year available) to 2003 (the latest year available).
Number
199572
199664
199780
199871
199976
200082
200175
200276
2003 (Provisional)73

Altnagelvin Hospital

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he to increase the number of critical care beds at Altnagelvin Hospital. [188677]

Angela Smith: The number of critical care beds at Altnagelvin Hospital has increased significantly in recent years. The hospital currently has nine critical care beds—five intensive care beds and four high dependency beds.

Critical care capacity at Altnagelvin and other hospitals is kept under regular review and we would expect continued expansion in bed numbers in future years in response to continued increases in demand.

Ambulances

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of the total ambulance accidents in the last two years in Northern Ireland were attributed to (a) driver error and (b) mechanical failure; and if he will make a statement. [188373]

Angela Smith: Of the 121 road traffic accidents involving Northern Ireland Ambulance Service ambulances in the last two years for which information is available (15 April 2002–14 April 2004), 16 have been attributed to driver error and none to mechanical failure. The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety does not hold information about accidents involving other ambulance service providers in Northern Ireland.
 
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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many road traffic accidents involving Mercedes Sprinter ambulances in the last two years in Northern Ireland were attributed to (a) driver error and (b) mechanical failure; and if he will make a statement. [188374]

Angela Smith: Of the 64 road traffic accidents involving Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Mercedes Sprinter A and E ambulances in the last two years (15 April 2002–14 April 2004), 12 have been attributed to driver error and none to mechanical failure. My Department does not hold information about accidents involving other ambulance service providers in Northern Ireland.

Births

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) recorded births and (b) birth defects there were in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years. [187770]

Angela Smith: (a) The number of recorded births in Northern Ireland each year from 1994 to 2003 (the latest year for which the data are available) is given in the following table.
Number of recorded births (live and still) in Northern Ireland, 1994 to 2003

Births
199424,251
199523,838
199624,535
199724,218
199823,790
199923,089
200021,605
200122,074
200221,507
200321,756

(b) Information on all birth defects is not available. However, information is collected by the Chief Medical Officer on the number of children born each year suffering from a number of selected congenital malformations in Northern Ireland. This information is provided in the following table for the years 1994 to 2003.
Number of selected congenital malformations, 1994 to 2003

AnencephalusHydrocephalusSpina BifidaDowns Syndrome
1994361929
19953101225
199665638
199739945
19987101142
1999513827
2000013932
20015111336
200269912
2003(13)361232


(13) Figures not yet published by CMO.



 
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Cancer

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what (a) conclusions he has drawn and (b) actions he has taken following the publication of the second cancer statistics report of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry. [188676]

Angela Smith: The "All-Ireland Cancer Statistics Second Report 1998–2000" is a comprehensive and constructive outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding between Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the National Cancer Institute in America. The report's data harmonisation, analysis and research will undoubtedly help to enhance our understanding of cancer. The report highlights areas of success and makes recommendations for action to improve cancer outcomes.

Detailed consideration of the report's findings and recommendations is being undertaken as part of the work of the Northern Ireland Regional Cancer Services Framework Steering Group, which is chaired by the Chief Medical Officer. The Framework Steering Group was set up in January 2004 to consider the future development of cancer services, including prevention, early detection, screening and treatment. The Framework Steering Group, which aims to build on existing health promotion initiatives such as the Tobacco Action Plan, is expected to complete its recommendations by December 2004.


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