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Freedom of Information Act

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the likely costs to his Department in the first quarter of 2005 of compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. [199079]

Mr. Pearson: No such estimate of the cost of compliance in advance of the legislation coming into effect has been made. The net cost will depend on the volume and complexity of requests for information, and on the arrangements for charging which will apply. The Department for Constitutional Affairs is developing these arrangements. However, measures have been taken to minimise costs, and to ensure preparedness, including the establishment of networks of practitioners, the implementation of extensive training and awareness programmes, and the development of appropriate systems and procedures, which are being tested for readiness.

Government Buildings (Accessibility)

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether all Government buildings in Northern Ireland are fully accessible to disabled people. [191974]

Mr. Pearson: I can advise that 109 government buildings are fully accessible with work underway on a further 234 and another 34 are being assessed.

984 have been identified as not requiring work at this time either because there is no public interface or disabled member of staff present; or for operational reasons e.g. agricultural buildings. These sites will be kept under review and necessary adjustments made, subject to available funding, if their circumstances change.


Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent on (a) haemophilia and (b) haematology drugs in the Province in each of the last five years; and what the expected spending is over the next 12 months. [198137]

Angela Smith: We estimate that the total spend on treating persons with haemophilia in a hospital in-patient or day case environment in Northern Ireland was approximately £197,000 in 2002–03 and £79,000 in 2001–02. The bulk of services to haemophiliacs are, however, provided in an out-patient primary care or community environment.

Blood products used by haemophiliacs are provided by the NI Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) and cost as follows:
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Total expenditure on haemophilia blood products

£ million
2004–05 (predicted)8.25

The total spend on chemotherapy drugs in the haematology specialty was approximately in £1.341million 2002–03 and £1.64 million in 2003–04. 2004–05 has experienced expansion in demand to approximately £3.7million.

Further information is not available.

Health Spending

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what account of regional service provision is taken in the Capitation Review of the Province's health spending. [198099]

Angela Smith: The purpose of the Capitation Formula is to allocate fairly the available resources for hospital, community health and personal social services to Health and Social Services Boards in Northern Ireland. From their total allocation, Boards are responsible for commissioning all types of services for the populations living in their areas. This includes regional services that may be provided by a facility in another Board's area. The Formula itself does not identify regional services separately but includes these within the total need for services experienced by a Board's population.

Hospital Deaths

Mr. Hume: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the procedures are for (a) notification and (b) investigation of deaths in hospital which may have resulted from medical treatment; and at what stage the chief medical officer should be informed. [198612]

Angela Smith: All deaths that are not due to natural disease must be referred to the coroner. The coroner will investigate all such deaths, which will include circumstances such as:

The coroner will decide on the need for a post mortem examination and subsequently if an inquest is required. The coroner's investigation is supported by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
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A Safety in Health and Social Care Steering Group was established by my Department following the publication of the consultation document entitled "Best Practice, Best Care" in April 2001. In July it issued interim guidance (HSS (PPM) 06/04) to the HPSS and special agencies on the reporting and management of serious adverse incidents. This includes a requirement for all HPSS organisations and special agencies to have nominated a senior manager at board level who will have overall responsibility for the reporting and management of serious adverse incidents within the organisation. In addition, if the senior manager considers that the incident is likely to:

Furthermore, my Department has also established a multi-agency group comprising departmental officials and representatives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and the coroner service to develop a memorandum of understanding for the investigation of death and serious incidents in hospitals. This will take account of a recent memorandum of understanding issued for consultation in England and Wales: "Investigating patient safety incidents (unexpected death or serious untoward harm): a protocol for liaison and effective communications between the NHS, Association of Chief Police Officers and HSE".
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Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many new housing starts there have been in (a) North Belfast and (b) Northern Ireland in each year since 1997. [199260]

Mr. Spellar: The information is as follows:
Number of houses

Northern IrelandNorth Belfast

Iatrogenic Deaths

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of iatrogenic deaths in the Province in each of the last five years. [197851]

Angela Smith: Information is not collected in a form that would enable such an estimate to be made.

Illegal Drugs

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what quantity of illegal drugs has been seized during 2004 in Northern Ireland, broken down by police region; and what the approximate street value was. [198636]

Mr. Pearson: The amounts and estimated street values of illicit drugs seized by the Police Service of Northern Ireland from 1 January 2004 to 31 October 2004 in urban and rural region are detailed in the following table.
Amounts and estimated street values of illicit drugs seized by PSNI—1 January to 31 October 2004

Drugs seizedRegion
Value (£)Total street value (£)
CocainePowder (gms)16,211.83472.6580/gm1,334,758.40
Crack cocaine(gms)5.000150/gm750.00
Powder (gms)55.11.0037.50/gm2,103.75
OpiatesPowder (gms)0.013.63100/gm364.00
AmphetaminePowder (gms)22,742.0314,296.6710/gm370,387.00
CannabisResin (gms)676,404.22435,985.545/gm5,561,948.50
Herbal (gms)3,544.421,428.6210/gm49,730.40
Street value of drugs seized 1 January to 31 October 20048,559,731.95

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