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9 Feb 2005 : Column 1600W—continued

Eating Disorders

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will estimate the cost of treating Northern Ireland eating disorders sufferers outside the Province in each of the last five years; [212183]

(2) if he will estimate the cost of treating eating disorders sufferers from Northern Ireland outside the Province in each of the last five years. [215370]


 
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Angela Smith: The information requested is shown in the table.
Estimated costs of treating Northern Ireland eating disorders sufferers outside the Province

Year ending 31 MarchEstimated expenditure (£000)
20041,001
2003754
2002608
2001(49)220
2000(49)129


(49) Information on the numbers treated for these financial years is not available from the Northern Health and Social Services Board and therefore it is not possible to estimate their expenditure to include in the total.
Source:
Health and Social Services Boards




Health Care Staff

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what actions are taken to inform health service employers of potential employees who have been forced to leave other posts within the health sector and the reasons surrounding their departure. [215362]

Angela Smith: I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave on 3 February 2005, Official Report, column 1069W.

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under what circumstances police checks are conducted on applicants for (a) permanent and (b) agency health care staff posts. [215363]

Angela Smith: I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave on 1 February 2005, Official Report, column 876W.

Health Service (Fraud)

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement regarding losses from fraud affecting the health service in the Province. [215373]

Angela Smith: I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave on 1 February 2005, Official Report, column 875W.

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what reports of counterfeit medications being discovered in the Province within the legitimate wholesale medicines supply chain he has received in the last three years. [215374]

Angela Smith: I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave on 3 February 2005, Official Report, column 1068W.

Housing Executive

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which posts, not including Housing Executive staff, are funded by the Housing Executive to assist local communities and residents' groups in North Belfast. [211965]

Mr. Spellar: The Housing Executive encourages the development of local groups to assist in the furthering of its housing responsibilities and has funded the following posts either fully or in part in the North Belfast area:


 
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Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the policy of the Housing Executive is in respect of the letting of properties to commercial lessees. [211966]

Mr. Spellar: The Housing Executive's policy is generally to retain ownership of its Purpose Built Commercial Property Portfolio with the exception of those shop units or centres where it makes good economic sense to sell.

In considering the sale of any of its purpose-built commercial properties the Housing Executive must be satisfied that:

Units are sometimes let to local community-based organisations, charities and government agencies to provide locally based services.

Vacant properties are advertised for leasing on an open market basis and are generally let on a five-year lease with a provision to review rents every five years.

Mental Health

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many individuals in the Province provide cognitive behavioural therapy within the NHS for those suffering depression and anxiety. [212165]

Angela Smith: There are 90 clinical psychologists in Northern Ireland working in the national health service and trained in cognitive behavioural therapy. Also it is one of the therapeutic approaches used by other disciplines such as psychiatric nurses. However, cognitive behavioural therapy is effective and used for a wide range of mental health problems and therefore it would be difficult to quantify how many are providing therapy specifically for depression and anxiety.

Speech Defects (Social Security)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what allowance is made for claimants in Northern Ireland who have speech defects, when such defects result in errors regarding social security payments for which repayment is demanded, when determining the level and extent of repayment. [213974]

Mr. Spellar: The Social Security Agency is committed to providing the highest standard of customer care to all clients groups which includes customers with a disability.
 
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If it is apparent that a customer has a speech defect, all possible assistance (including the use of private interview facilities) is given to meet the customer's specific needs and to minimise the risk of gathering inaccurate information.

If a customer is dissatisfied with the outcome of a decision he or she can exercise his or her right of appeal.

Staff Surveys

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of staff surveys in the Department was in each year since 1997. [213668]

Mr. Paul Murphy: A number of internal staff surveys were completed by staff within the Department. These were conducted as part of normal duties and no records were held of staff time expended separately on these surveys. It is not possible therefore to provide details of the cost of staff surveys in the Department for each year since 1997.

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was paid to consultants carrying out staff surveys in the Department in each year since 1997. [213669]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Two staff surveys were conducted as part of a wider project. The cost of these surveys were not detailed separately but were included in the overall cost of the consultancy. Individual survey costs could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Trauma Counsellors

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many specialist trauma counsellors are working in the Province. [212184]

Angela Smith: There are 28 specialist trauma counsellors directly employed by Northern Ireland trusts although the majority of these will not be providing a full-time dedicated trauma service. In addition, a range of practitioners including medical staff, psychologists, cognitive therapists, community psychiatric nurses, social workers and sessional counsellors also provide trauma counselling. A range of statutory and voluntary organisations, from which services are commissioned, also employ specialist trauma counsellors but there are no figures available on the number.


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