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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Jane Kennedy):
For the NHS Appointments Commission and the NHS Litigation Authority, their annual accounts and any accompanying Comptroller and Auditor General report have today been laid before Parliament pursuant to section 98(1C) of the National Health Service Act 1977. Copies have been placed in the Library.
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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Jane Kennedy): The Government's response to the Second Report of the House of Commons Health Committee on the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Hospitalised Patients, Cm 6635, has been published today.
Patient safety is a priority for this Government. Whilst a great deal of progress has been made towards improving patient safety, we recognise that much more needs to be done to prevent deaths from venous thromboembolism (VTE) in hospitalised patients. The Committee's estimation of 25,000 deaths a year due to VTE is a serious issue which requires rapid and comprehensive action and we welcome the advice and information the Committee has provided to help the Government tackle this issue.
Overall, the challenge is to make sure that good practice is spread within the whole National Health Service. We will therefore set up an independent expert working group which will make recommendations on developing a national strategy on the prevention and treatment of VTE.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Byrne): The Government's response to the Health Select Committee's report on NHS continuing care is published today. Copies have been placed in the Library.
The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. McNulty): I have today placed in the Library of the House the action plan in respect of the report into the fire and disturbance at Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre. Mr. Stephen Shaw was asked to conduct a report into this incident and the findings of the investigation was completed and published on 16 November 2004. The report contained a number of recommendations designed to minimise the risk of future disturbances.
My right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for the Home Department also announced in a written statement that he accepted Stephen Shaw's recommendation (number 60) that a forum comprising officials, contractors and relevant interest groups be set up to consider the provision of purposeful activity in removal centres. The purpose of the forum is to examine the seven relevant recommendations contained in the report and identify how they can be taken forward in order to enhance removal centre regimes. A number of meetings have already taken place and have involved consultation with both the chief inspector of prisons and the prison and probation ombudsman.
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The action plan identifies the recommendations have already been acted on and what considerations and progress has been made on the others. A completion date for implementation has been set for the end of 2005.
The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. McNulty): My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has today laid before Parliament the third annual report produced under section 19E of the Race Relations Act 1976 by Mary Coussey, the Independent Race Monitor, and placed copies of the report and his response in the Libraries of both Houses. The Race Monitor has a statutory duty to report to Parliament via the Home Secretary on ministerial authorisations made under section 19D of the Race Relations Act enabling immigration staff to discriminate on the basis of nationality or ethnic or national origin in the exercise of their functions.
The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. McNulty): I am pleased to announce Suzanne McCarthy's appointment as Immigration Services Commissioner. This is a five-year appointment and she will take up the post on 5 September 2005. Mrs McCarthy is a qualified solicitor with a background in the Senior Civil Service. She was Chief Executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme from 20002004 and Chief Executive of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority from 19962000. She will be taking unpaid leave from the Civil Service for the duration of this appointment.
The Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety (Hazel Blears): I am pleased to announce that the final annual report and accounts of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) will be laid before Parliament today. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) replaced the PCA on 1 April 2004.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Andy Burnham): I have today laid before Parliament copies of the Forensic Science Service's (FSS) Annual Report and Accounts for 200405.
The FSS met 18 of its 20 targets and put in a strong financial performance. Of the two targets not achieved, one was related to timeliness, the other to the Investors in People (IiP) Standard. Although the FSS made further improvements in service delivery times against the previous year, performance fell short of target. A better performance is expected this year. The Service was very disappointed to lose its IiP status but has been encouraged by the assessor's view that strong foundations are in place to begin the work to regain the standard.
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The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. McNulty): My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has today placed in the Libraries of both Houses the 1st annual report of the Independent Monitor of Certification of Claims as Clearly Unfounded under Section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration And Asylum (NIA) Act 2002, and the Government response to the report and its recommendations.
The Certification Monitor has a statutory duty to report to Parliament via the Home Secretary under Section 111 of the NIA Act 2002. Sarah Woodhouse was appointed as Monitor in January 2004 for two years. Her role is to monitor the operation of the use of the power to certify an asylum claim or human right claim (or both) as unfounded under Section 94 of the NIA Act 2002, and in particular the quality and effectiveness of decisions made under this procedure.
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