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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on fraudulent attempts in Northern Ireland by persons claiming to seek donations destined for victims of the recent tsunami; what his assessment is of (a) the nature of this fraud and (b) how widespread it is; and what advice his Department has given to members of the public about making secure donations. 
Mr. Pearson: As of 17 January, the police service of Northern Ireland noted one minor incident of fraudulent charity collection in connection with the tsunami disaster in Asia. The amount of money involved amounted to no more than £5.
General advice about giving only to registered charities and persons who hold collection permits was circulated by the police last week, via the media. This represented sensible precautions to be taken when contributing to charity appeals, and was not released in connection with any specific incident of fraudulent fund raising.
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Angela Smith: The average length of wait (in days) for people who had surgery at the Ulster hospital in each of the last four years for which information is available is detailed in the following table.
|Average number of days waiting prior to admission|
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time for treatment in the accident and emergency department at the Ulster Hospital was in each of the last (a) three months, (b) six months and (c) 12 months for which statistics are available. 
Angela Smith: The Ulster hospital is unable to calculate the average time waited by patients who received treatment in the Accident and Emergency department. However, the Trust has supplied the number of patients treated within the standard set for their priority categories (see the following).
|(a) October-December 2004|
|Treated within standard||35||272||3,500||4,149||175|
|Not treated within standard||30||546||2,682||1,266||7|
|Total treated October- December 2004||65||818||6,182||5,415||182|
|(b) July-December 2004|
|Treated within standard||66||550||7,036||9,638||386|
|Not treated within standard||46||1,059||5,305||2,849||12|
|Total treated July- December 2004||112||1,609||12,341||11,487||398|
|(c) January-December 2004|
|Treated within standard||134||1,119||12,728||15,651||742|
|Not treated within standard||87||2,350||11,548||6,769||36|
|Total treated January- December 2004||221||3,469||24,276||22,420||778|
Miss Melanie Johnson: A recent amendment of European Union Directive 2000/13/EC on ingredient listing will require the declaration of all ingredients including allergens on pre-packed food from November 2005. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) consulted on the new requirements and the representations received indicated wide support for the new rules from allergy support groups and food manufacturers. In addition, a number of respondents identified the need for better control of the use of may contain" allergen labelling, and the need for the provision of more allergen information for foods sold loose and in catering establishments. The FSA is actively considering with key stakeholders how best to encourage the provision of clearer, more helpful allergen information in these cases.
The Department will work with a wide range of key players to ensure future developments in allergy care are credible and command respect and ownership of those people they are designed to help and the practitioners who care for them. The first key stage of this work will be to carry out a review of the available data and research on the epidemiology of allergic conditions, the demand for and provision of treatment and the effectiveness of relevant interventions. Developing a sound evidence base will be essential to determining the correct future direction of allergy services.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms local authorities and other partners use to work together to provide accommodation with culturally appropriate services and extra care provision to Chinese older people under the National Service Framework. 
Dr. Ladyman: It is the responsibility of local commissioners and providers to work together to ensure that the provision of all health and care services are receptive to the needs of people from different ethnic communities and respect cultural differences, as promoted in the national service framework for older people. The provision of Extra Care" housing does not preclude any ethnic group.
Miss Melanie Johnson: In accordance with a methodology determined by the Healthcare Commission, they received information based on patient environment action team scores, aggregated to trust level, on 28 May 2004.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total external spending by his Department was on public private partnership (PPP) consultants in each of the last two years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PPP consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by his Department over this period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr.Burstow) on 20 July 2004, Official Report, column 162W, in which I listed expenditure by the Department and the national health service on external consultancy services in each year from 199697 to 200304. It is not possible to identify separately the figures for consultancy spend on public private partnership consultants.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total external spend by his Department was on private finance initiative (PFI) consultants in each of the last two years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PFI consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by his Department over this period; and if he will make a statement. 
|Cost (£)||Number of firms|
|April 2002 to March 2003||207,171||6|
|April 2003 to March 2004||892,859||12|
The fee charged in the majority of cases was for specific work at an agreed cost with the company. It is, therefore, not possible to calculate how many consultants were employed, nor how many consultancy days there were per year.
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