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David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the source was of the asbestos which was recently discovered in soil and water tests at Crosshill Quarry, Crumlin, County Antrim. 
Angela Smith: In the recent soil survey of the Crossbill Quarry site no asbestos fibres were detected in 38 out of 40 samples. Of the other two, only chrysotile (white asbestos) fibres were detected. These fibres are of a type used in insulation materials such as heating pipes, calorifers, hot water tanks and cavity walls.
The analysis of water samples collected by my Department's staff recently from, and in the vicinity of, the Crossbill Quarry site were analysed for the presence of asbestos by Brunel University, Uxbridge. The analysis determined that there were amphibole asbestos fibres present. Amphibole is the generic term used to describe five different types of asbestos fibres (excluding chrysotile) and would not be uncommon in landfill sites used for the disposal of builders' rubble. The levels of asbestos fibres in the water were considerably less than the limit set by the USA Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to introduce measures to allow the owners of commercial property to claim compensation from the Northern Ireland Office in the case of damage caused by three or more people or by a proscribed organisation. 
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the (a) implementation of and (b) operational plans for emotional and psychological support for diabetes sufferers within each health board area. 
Angela Smith: Each of the Health and Social Services Boards have recognised the need to increase the level of emotional and psychological support for diabetes sufferers in their local implementation plans and are taking steps to address gaps in service provision. While such support may be provided by various professionals, it is recognised that clinical psychologists have a key role. However, there is currently a limited availability of trained psychologists and the Regional Diabetes Steering Group will consider how this issue can be addressed.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the policies within each health board area for engaging with local diabetes services advisory groups; and what plans there are to enhance these relationships. 
Angela Smith: Each of the Health and Social Services Boards has local diabetes advisory groups in place. The groups are multi-disciplinary, with representation from a range of health professionals who provide services for people with diabetes, representatives from voluntary and community groups, local service users and parents of children with diabetes.
All of these advisory groups are closely linked to the commissioning team that is responsible for the development of services for people with diabetes in each board. Continued engagement between the boards and their advisory groups will be an essential element in the process of improving the services available for diabetes sufferers in Northern Ireland.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on (a) implementation of and (b) operational plans for user participation for diabetes sufferers within each health board area. 
Angela Smith: Each of the health and social services boards has local diabetes advisory groups in place. These groups are closely involved in the development of services for people with diabetes. Service users and the parents of children with diabetes are represented on all of the groups.
Mrs. Iris Robinson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what (a) consultation and (b) equality impact assessment was conducted before
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the directive was issued to community pharmacies that enhanced prescribing would no longer be paid for from October 2004. 
Angela Smith: The Pharmaceutical Contractors' Committee and the General Practice Committee of the BMA (NI) were consulted about the clarification, effective from 1 October 2004, of the rules in the NI Drug Tariff under which it is appropriate for pharmacists to be paid Multiple Dispensing fees.
As this was a clarification of existing policy, and not a change in policy, a formal equality impact assessment was not considered necessary. No action has been taken to limit instalment prescribing of medications to patientsthat remains a clinical decision for the GP (or other qualified prescriber) based upon the patient's condition.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans there are to institute a tendering process for the provision of NHS fertility treatment within the private sector in the Province. 
Angela Smith: The commissioning of specific health and social care services in Northern Ireland, including publicly funded fertility services, is a matter for the Health and Social Services Boards. In their capacity as commissioners, Boards may decide to test the provision of services against private sector providers, although they are not compelled to do so. It is only when a decision is made to test the market that procurement requirements apply and the tendering process is initiated.
In the case of fertility services boards have not decided to test the market, but to jointly commission publicly funded fertility treatments from the Regional Fertility Centre at the Royal Group of hospitals.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) NHS and (b) private treatment cycles have been provided at the Regional Fertility Centre in each of the last three years. 
|Financial year||(a) Number of NHS cycles provided|
|Financial year||(b) Number of private cycles provided|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to publish its response to the public consultation, From People to Parents, on fertility services in the Province. 
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what compensation has been offered to date to fishermen in Northern Ireland who have been required to tie up in accordance with recent restrictions imposed on days at sea. 
Mr. Pearson: A second Transitional Aid Scheme was launched on 24 February 2005. A total of 16 vessels have submitted application forms for entry to the Scheme. These are currently being assessed and it is envisaged that Fisheries Division will be making payments for the first claim period during week commencing 14 March 2005.
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