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7 Feb 2005 : Column 1341W—continued

Secure Units

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the medium secure units for peoplewith dangerous and severe personality disorders operating in England; and how many inmates have escaped or absconded from each in each of the last fiveyears. [210784]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Arnold Lodge in Leicester is the only medium secure unit that currently takes patients with a dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD). The unit has a personality disorder unit (PDU) that has 12 beds. Of these, five are available for patients with a diagnosis of DSPD.

From the DSPD beds, no patients have absconded. From the personality disorder beds, two patients have failed to return from leave.

When a decision is taken to send a patient on leave, a detailed risk assessment is carried out beforehand. This details the potential risks involved should a patient abscond and a plan is in place to deal with these risks should it happen.

Once a patient is known to have absconded, the local police are informed and any people who from the risk assessment have been identified as being vulnerable. On call arrangements are put in place and local, regional and national briefing if required takes place.
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In both the cases of absconcion from the PD unit at Arnold Lodge, both patients were returned to the unit within five to six hours. In the first case, the patient returned to the unit himself, in the second case, the patient missed a train back and presented to a police station and asked to be returned to Arnold Lodge.

Specialist Nurses

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what budget is allocated for training and development for a specialist nurse post. [208855]

Mr. Hutton: The training and development of nurses to fit them to hold specialist posts is a matter for employers locally. The cost of training may vary according to specialism and the type of training or development involved and will be identified by employers in conjunction with educational commissioners and higher education institutions. There is no separate central budget.

Stem Cells

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment has been made of the safety of the medium used to preserve embryonic stem cells. [213450]

Ms Rosie Winterton: To date, most human embryonic stem cell lines have been cultured for laboratory research using nutritional support from animal cells. It is therefore not surprising that a recent United States study has demonstrated that many of the human embryonic stem cell lines, which can be used in federally-funded research in the US, are contaminated with a molecule from animal cells. As with any contaminated therapeutic product, these cells could never be used for clinical applications.

Unlike the situation in the US, United Kingdom legislation permits the generation of new embryonic stem cell lines. UK researchers are well aware of the problem of animal contamination and are actively working on developing new embryonic stem cell lines, which have been grown without using animal products.

Welsh Language Scheme

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department's Welsh language scheme was approved by the Welsh Language Board; and on what date the scheme was implemented. [211338]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not have a Welsh language scheme.


Adviser Discretion Fund

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of Jobcentre Plus clients have received grants from the Adviser Discretion Fund, broken down by benefit received. [214631]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not available as Adviser Discretion Fund data are collected on an award, not customer, basis.
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It is not possible to equate the number of awards made with the number of customers who have received one as a Jobcentre Plus customer may access the Adviser Discretion Fund on more than one occasion.

Benefit Payments

Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Workand Pensions what his Department's policy is regarding the payment of benefits to claimants of working age who fail to supply account details to his Department. [207791]

Mr. Pond: Direct Payment into an account is the normal method of payment for benefits and pensions and will be the best option for the overwhelming majority of our customers, giving them a more modern and reliable method of payment, with greater choice about where and when they collect their money. Using a bank account also helps jobseekers show employers that they are job ready.

The Department has always recognised that some customers will be unable to be paid in this way and the cheque payment was developed for the small minority of customers who cannot manage Direct Payment.

We are continuing to contact existing customers to invite them to provide account details. However at the end of this process customers, including those of working age, who have not provided account details, will be paid by cheque if possible after we have verified their address and confirmed there is no doubt about ongoing entitlement.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed unemployment benefit in each constituency in Wales for the latest period in which figures are available. [213538]

Mr. Pond: The information is in the table.
JSA caseloads in each parliamentary constituency in Wales: August 2004

Parliamentary constituencyAllContribution-based onlyIncome-basedCredits only
Alyn and Deeside1,000(30)100700(30)100
Blaenau Gwent1,400(30)3001,000(30)100
Brecon and Radnorshire600(30)100(30)400(30)100
Cardiff Central1,200(30)200900(30)100
Cardiff North600(30)200(30)300(30)100
Cardiff South and Penarth1,600(30)2001,300(30)100
Cardiff West1,400(30)1001,100(30)200
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr600(30)100(30)400(30)100
Carmarthen West and South
Clwyd South800(30)100600(30)100
Clwyd West(30)400(30)100(30)300(31)
Cynon Valley1,000(30)200800(31)
Meirionnydd Nant Conwy(30)300(30)100(30)100(30)100
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney1,300(30)1001,100(30)100
Newport East1,100(30)200800(30)100
Newport West1,400(30)2001,100(30)100
Preseli Pembrokeshire1,200(30)100800(30)200
Swansea East1,600(30)2001,200(30)200
Swansea West1,400(30)1001,200(30)100
Vale of Clwyd900(30)100700(30)100
Vale of Glamorgan1,400(30)200900(30)200
Ynys Mon1,300(30)2001,000(30)100

(30)Numbers are based on very few sample cases and are subject to a high degree of sampling variation. These figures should be used as a guide to the current situation only.
(31)Nil or negligible.
1.Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.
2.Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3.The data refers to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
4.Income-based JSA figures include claimants who would also be entitled to the contributory element.
Information Directorate, 5 per cent. samples

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Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State forWork and Pensions what evidence his Department has relied upon to conclude that over 90 per cent. of pension and benefit claimants in the UK are satisfied with direct payment; and what customer feedback was sought in Scotland to determine preferences on payment methods. [211995]

Mr. Pond: DWP published independent research on customers' experience of Direct Payment on 24 September 2004 . Among the findings was that 93 per cent. of those surveyed were happy with the process of having payments made into an account. A copy of the research report is in the Library.

The research covered the views and experiences of a representative group of customers across the whole of Great Britain, including Scotland.

DWP published independent research on customers' experience of Direct Payment on 24 September 2004 refers to: In-house Report 150—Customer experience of Direct Payment".

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimated saving will result from the switch of payments of pensions from payment books to direct payments; and what estimated reduction in the level of fraud will result from the phasing out of payment books. [207307]

Mr. Pond: Paying people by order book costs the taxpayer a significant amount of money. The move to Direct Payment provides a modern, secure and efficient system and will reduce administrative costs. Cutting unnecessary expenditure on administrative costs releases money for other priorities.

Overall, significant savings to DWP are expected to accrue from both a reduction in administration costs of around £440 million per annum and a reduction in fraud of around £50 million per annum—against this there will be some additional costs for the Post Office card
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account; the precise costs will depend on customer choice and how many Post Office card accounts are opened.

With regard to the level of fraud, about 100 pensioners a week had their order books stolen. This risk has been steadily reducing as pensioners and other customers move to Direct Payment.

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