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Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether locum doctors in Northern Ireland are able to join the Health and Personal Social Services superannuation scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Smith: The National Health Service (NHS) Pension regulations were amended in England, Wales and Scotland in 2002 and 2003 respectively to permit access to the NHS Pension Schemes in England, Wales and Scotland to freelance locums on a new supplementary list. Those regulations had to be further amended to permit access to GP locums. The regulations in England and Wales are now being amended again to take account of the new medical performers list, which incorporates the supplementary list.
In Northern Ireland, the prior approval of the Department of Finance and Personnel will be required before the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety can proceed to amend the HPSS Superannuation Regulations to cover both backdated and future scheme membership for freelance and GP locums who are registered on the performers list. This approval is currently being sought.
17 Mar 2005 : Column 440W
Mr. Spellar: The Old Comber railway line has been identified as a proposed cycle route in the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan 2015. This cycle route will form part of the National Cycle Network, which has been promoted by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity as part of approximately 155 miles of cycle route proposed in the County Down area.
The Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan has also proposed the use of part of the former railway line for a pilot Rapid Transit scheme (known as Eway) on the portion of the line between Holywood Arches and Graham's Bridge Dundonald subject to economic appraisal, budgetary processes and the completion of statutory processes. It is proposed that cycle route facilities are provided in conjunction with the rapid transit scheme.
DRD Roads Service has already provided lengths of cycle route along stretches of the old Comber railway line between King's Road and Holy wood Arches and has drawn up proposals to extend this route towards Dundonald during 200506.
Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans the Government have to improve (a) the Portaferry Road between Newtownards and Portaferry over the next two years and (b) traffic management in Newtownards to alleviate traffic congestion at peak times. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question asking what plans the Government has to improve (a) the Portaferry Road between Newtownards and Portaferry over the next two years and (b) traffic management in Newtownards to alleviate traffic congestion at peak times (222123). I have been asked to reply as the issue raised falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.
I am pleased to be able to advise you that we are planning an improvement scheme during the 2005/6 financial year, costing approximately £30,000 along the A20 Portaferry to Newtownards road at the Rowreagh Road/Gransha Road junction, subject to agreement on land acquisition. We are also starting work shortly on the reconstruction of Main Street, Kircubbin, from the junction with Blackhall Street to the junction with Roden Street, at an estimated cost of £300,000. Unfortunately, a scheme to resurface approximately one kilometre of the stretch of Rowreagh Road south of Loughdoo Road to Abbacy Road at a cost of approximately £120,000 has been postponed due to an impending major works scheme by Water Service.
With regard to traffic management schemes planned for Newtownards, you will be aware a number of road improvement schemes have been identified in the Draft Ards/Down Area Plan. I understand the Public Inquiry for the Plan is due to commence in early May. The schemes identified in the Area Plan include the:
In addition, the construction of the Bowtown Road link extension to the Donaghadee Road via the Movilla Road, to the east of Newtownards, has been identified to be undertaken with the proposed development to the east of the town. All of these schemes will contribute significantly to the improvement of traffic movements in the town of Newtownards, although no definite timescale can be given for the delivery of most of these schemes at this time.
It is likely that the proposed Southern Relief Road, which will greatly benefit traffic movement in the area, may well be provided over the next two years. Planning permission has already been granted for a section of this road and work is currently ongoing to progress the Direction Order on the remainder of the scheme.
The Zion Place roundabouts on the Bangor Road have also been identified within the Draft Ards/Down Area Plan as requiring improvements and modelling work is ongoing for this junction. As the provision of the Southern Relief Road will alter the traffic movements at the New Road/Portaferry Road junction, this site is also being examined. Unfortunately, it is not possible at this time to be precise on when these junctions may be improved as any proposed schemes will be dependant on the findings of the Area Plan Public Inquiry.
Data provided by the Trust for 7 March 2005 indicate that there are 126 patients waiting more than 18 months for inpatient or daycase treatment at the Trust, a reduction of 66 per cent. compared to the position in April 2004. Plans are in place to treat as many of these patients as possible by the end of March 2005 and those patients remaining will be provided with a treatment plan containing an anticipated date for treatment.
The Trust has a comprehensive waiting list management plan in place and is working towards additional service improvements that will ultimately improve the timeliness, effectiveness and appropriateness of services provided to patients.
Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to reduce waiting times for category three patients at the accident and emergency unit at the Ulster hospital. 
Mr. Spellar: The Ulster Community and Hospitals Health and Social Services Trust is taking a number of steps to improve the clinical environment in accident and emergency and to shorten waiting times for patients at the Ulster hospital. These steps include:
At a regional level the Department is taking forward a comprehensive Emergency Pressures Programme, requiring the Ulster Community and Hospitals Health and Social Services Trust and other Trusts to implement a number of compulsory actions and good practice measures to improve the flow of emergency admissions and reduce trolley waits.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what he expects the likely outcome of the review of the unsolved killings to be in respect of the prosecution of individuals found to have been responsible for murder since 1969. 
Mr. Pearson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced, on 8 March, the provision of additional funding to enable the Chief Constable to expand the work of the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) in a way that will command the confidence of relatives and the wider community.
The objective of the new unit will be to try and achieve closure where concerns remain from families and to allow the PSNI as an organisation to close inquiries with confidence in the integrity of the investigative process and satisfied that no further investigative opportunities exist.
Where evidential opportunities exist these cases will be reinvestigated with the possibility of evidence being provided to the DPP. Of course, those convicted may be eligible to apply to the Independent Sentence Review Commissioners for early release under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998.
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