Previous Section Index Home Page

12 Jul 2005 : Column 991W—continued

Public Engagement Contracts

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the value is of the contract tendered to run the public engagement exercise related to the forthcoming White Paper, health outside hospitals, announced by the Department on 23 June; and whether Opinion Leader Research is being considered for this contract. [9302]

Mr. Byrne: The value of the contract for the forthcoming White Paper on health outside hospitals has not yet been determined. Opinion Leader Research is one of the companies who have been asked to tender for the contract. The tendering process is being carried out on the Department's behalf by the Central Office of Information.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the average age of a radiographer employed in the NHS in each year since 1997, (a) broken down by gender and (b) in total. [3444]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is shown in the table.
NHS hospital and community health services: total qualified radiography staff in England by average age and gender as at 30 September in each specified year

Average age
Radiographers totalMale radiographersFemale radiographers

Age figures are rounded to nearest year
Health and Social Care Information Centre Non-Medical Workforce Census

Sickness Absence

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has commissioned on reasons for levels of sickness absence among nursing staff. [9616]

12 Jul 2005 : Column 992W

Mr. Byrne: The Department's directly funded policy research programme (PRP) has commissioned a number of projects with a bearing on sickness absence in nursing, alongside related factors such as staff satisfaction and turnover. The PRP is also funding research on vaccinating health care workers against influenza. A PRP research study completed in 2001 found there was no simple correlation between ward staffing levels and costs, and levels of stress among nursing staff.

The main part of the Department's expenditure on health research is allocated to and managed by national health service organisations. Details of individual projects supported in the NHS, including a number concerned with aspects of nursing staff absenteeism, can be found on the national research register at

The national back in work campaign, which is aimed at all NHS staff, has commissioned current work from the university of Leeds on understanding musculoskeletally related sickness absence and job loss in nurses and nursing assistants.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make the drug Solpaflex available on NHS prescription; and if she will make a statement. [10614]

Jane Kennedy: Solpaflex is already available on national health service prescription.

Statutory Instrument Sponsorship

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what statutory instruments have been sponsored by her Department since 1997. [10585]

Jane Kennedy: Lists of all statutory instruments (SIs) from 1 January 1998 to 30 June 2005, prepared by the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) have today been placed in the Library. These lists, prepared in alphabetical order by department, detail for each year from 1998 the number and title of each statutory instrument sponsored by the Department. There are separate lists for general and local SIs. SIs which have originated from departments but which were also Orders in Council are only listed under the Privy Council Office (PCO).
12 Jul 2005 : Column 993W

Walk-in Centres

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2005, Official Report, column 1244–45, on walk-in health centres, if she will publish the data on which she drew to establish that the cost per consultation in a walk-in-centre is falling relative to the cost per consultation with a GP. [7523]

Mr. Byrne: The reply drew upon data from the national evaluation of NHS walk-in centres, which were published in July 2002. This shows that consultation costs fall significantly as the walk-in service becomes established and patient as throughput grows. The report can be found on the university of Bristol website at


A47 Soke Parkway

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made with regard to the introduction of whisper-quiet road surfacing on the A47 Soke Parkway in Peterborough. [10714]

Dr. Ladyman: Quieter surfacing, in accordance with the Highways Agency's specification, will be provided on two lanes of the westbound carriageway of the A47 Soke Parkway through the Thomas Cook Interchange in this financial year.

Arms Trafficking

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if the Government will take steps to agree international standards for the administration of aircraft registers for the purposes of control over the transportation of arms; [10833]

(2) if he will seek to tighten rules on international aircraft insurance to deter companies from trafficking arms. [10834]

Ms Buck: International aviation is already subject to a well-developed and closely monitored regulatory regime established by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention). Under the Convention the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) establishes detailed standards and recommended practices for the airworthiness of aircraft, the operational standards of airlines, and many other aspects of aviation. These standards and recommended practices relate primarily to safety and security issues, and cover safety issues relating to the carriage of munitions and other dangerous goods. In addition the Convention itself provides that weapons and munitions of war may only be carried through the airspace of a state with the permission of that state.

To ensure that these standards are properly implemented, ICAO has established the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme under which the regulatory regime of each Contracting State is audited at regular intervals, and the results made available to all other States. Where deficiencies are identified, the State concerned is required to draw up an Action Plan agreed with ICAO, and ICAO subsequently assesses the implementation of the Plan.
12 Jul 2005 : Column 994W

Within Europe there is already a regulatory regime on aviation insurance, with the relevant national authority required to ensure that airlines/carriers have sufficient insurance cover, and in line with EU law and our bilateral agreements with third countries we require foreign aircraft visiting the UK to demonstrate evidence of adequate cover. Further rules on insurance would impose an additional regulatory burden in already well-regulated States but might not be adequately implemented or enforced in countries with less stringent governance.

Aviation Ministers

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 4 July 2005, Official Report, column 16W, on aviation Ministers, if he will list the junior Ministers who have had responsibility for aviation policy since May 1997, indicating the dates between which they held such responsibilities. [10260]

Ms Buck: As I said in my answer of 4 July 2005, Official Report, column 16W to my hon. Friend, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had responsibility for all forms of transport policy including aviation, since the formation of the Department on 29 May 2002. As my answer of 4 July 2005 stated, no post has been designated as aviation Minister", but support has been provided to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State by his ministerial team on all transport matters throughout this period.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to introduce a biofuels sustainability certification scheme. [11224]

Dr. Ladyman: We are currently considering as part of our feasibility study into a possible Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation whether some form of carbon certification, or wider sustainability certification, might form a part of any obligation. The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, an action and advisory group funded by the Department and the Department of Trade and Industry, is also seeking to develop a voluntary accreditation system which will help guarantee the sustainability of biofuel production.

Next Section Index Home Page