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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the merits of (a) introducing legislative targets for eradicating fuel poverty in the Province, (b) establishing a ministerial task force to tackle fuel poverty and winter deaths and (c) extending the warm homes scheme to benefit a greater number of pensioners. 
Mr. Spellar: The document Ending Fuel Poverty: A Strategy for Northern Ireland sets out a target of eradicating fuel poverty in Northern Ireland in all vulnerable households and the social rented sector by 2010 and in non-vulnerable households by 2016. The commitment to achieving these targets is no less simply because they are not set in legislation, and this commitment is evidenced by their inclusion in public service agreements which are, and will continue to be, publicly monitored.
The strategy provides for a ministerial group on fuel poverty but I believe that such an arrangement is better suited to a devolved administration. In the interim period of direct rule, I will draw together and chair an inter-departmental group of senior officials to take forward, monitor and review the implementation of the strategy.
Government are determined to eradicate fuel poverty but recognise that budgets are finite and there are many competing priorities. It is vital, therefore, that the most
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vulnerable in our society are tackled first. To widen the eligibility criteria under the warm homes scheme would divert resources from those in greatest need. However, the qualifying criterion for the warm homes scheme has been revised to include the new tax credits and pension credit to ensure that as many vulnerable people as possible can benefit from the scheme.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will estimate the number of patients waiting for genito-urinary assessment in the Province; and what the average waiting time from referral is. 
Angela Smith: Currently there are Genito-urinary Medicine (GUM) Clinics at four sites in Northern Ireland, the Royal Victoria, Causeway, Daisy Hill and Altnagelvin hospitals. Information obtained from each of the hospitals is shown in the following table:
|Hospital name||Number of patients awaiting assessment at 30 September 2004||Average waiting time for assessment (weeks)|
|Royal Victoria hospital||(47)600 to 700||(48)3|
|Daisy Hill hospital||0||3|
|Altnagelvin Area hospital(50)||(51)||6|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will estimate the number of GP attendances per capita in Northern Ireland (a) in the most recent year for which figures are available and (b) (i) five, (ii) 10, (iii) 15 and (iv) 20 years previously. 
Angela Smith: The information as requested is given in the table.
|Financial year||Consultations per Capita|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will estimate the proportion of the population in the Province who did not attend their general practitioner in the last 12 months. 
Angela Smith: No information is available centrally from GP systems on the aggregate number of persons who consulted their GP within a given period of time. However, using a public attitude survey commissioned by my Department, it has been possible to estimate that 24 per cent. of the Northern Ireland population did not have direct experience of using a GP in the last 12 months.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of health and personal social services spending in the Province staff salaries accounted for in each of the last five years; and if he will estimate the corresponding percentage for 200506. 
Angela Smith: The information requested is detailed in the following table:
Year ended 31 March
|Salaries and wages as a percentage of HPSS Spending(54)|
The corresponding percentage for 200506 has been estimated at 6065 per cent.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the PPP/PFI health service building programmes in the Province. 
Angela Smith: The following building programmes within Health and Public Social Services are funded by the Private Finance Initiative:
|Commissioning body||Project title|
|Royal Group of Hospitals and Dental Hospital HSS Trust||Car Parking|
|Belfast City Hospital HSS Trust||Renal Unit|
|United Hospitals HSS Trust||Antrim Hospital Renal Unit|
|Altnagelvin Hospital HSS Trust||Service Centre (New Pathology pharmacy and changing rooms)|
The following building programmes are being considered for funding by the Private Finance Initiative:
|Commissioning body||Project title|
|Western Health and Social Services Board||New build hospital|
|United Hospitals HSS Trust||Antrim Hospital Project|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many complaints were received by each health trust in the Province during the year ended September 2004. 
Angela Smith: The following table presents information on the total number of complaints received by each Health and Social Services Trust in the year ending September 2004. The Trusts are categorised according to whether they are hospital Trusts, community Trusts, mixed (hospital and community) Trusts, or other Trusts.
Health and Social Services Trust
|Total number of complaints|
|Belfast City hospital||181|
|Royal Group of hospitals||519|
|Craigavon Area Group||227|
|Hospital Trusts (Total)||1,726|
|North and West Belfast||108|
|South and East Belfast||267|
|Craigavon and Banbridge||116|
|Community Trusts (Total)||894|
|Ulster Community and hospitals||362|
|Armagh and Dungannon||72|
|Newry and Mourne||144|
|Mixed Trusts (Total)||1,428|
|Northern Ireland Ambulance Service||133|
|Other Trusts (Total)||133|
|Northern Ireland Total||4,181|
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