|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much (a) property and (b) other assets have been (i) frozen and (ii) recovered in Northern Ireland by the Assets Recovery Agency. 
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) sex and (b) religious breakdown is of the full-time equivalent staff employed in the Big Lottery Fund's Belfast office. 
Mr. Hanson: A total of 55 full-time equivalents are currently employed in the Big Lottery Fund's Belfast office, which equates to 57 staff. Of these 44 are female and 13 are male. The religious breakdown of employees is 26 Protestant, 26 Roman Catholic and five who are neither.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what research has been carried out by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to ascertain the success rate in the Province for the treatment of breast cancer. 
Mr. Woodward: The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety funds the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR), which undertakes a wide range of statistical research into success rates for the treatment of various cancers, including breast cancer. It has recently published a major report on breast cancer which is a further significant step in the evaluation of cancer care hereGavin A, Kinnear H, Fitzpatrick D, Ranaghan L, 2005. Cancer Services Audit 1996 & 2001, Breast. N. Ireland Cancer Registry". In addition, the Research and Development Office (RDO), which is also funded by my Department, established a Cancer Recognised Research Group in 200001. This comprises 15 research programmes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. A number of individual research projects currently funded by the RDO are specifically related to breast cancer treatment.
The success rate for the treatment of breast cancer is dependent on a range of factors including the stage of the disease at diagnosis. Latest published figures from NICR, based on persons diagnosed in the period 199699, show that the one-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is 95.2 per cent. while the five-year relative survival rate is 81.5 per cent. These rates are very good in comparison with other cancers but the fact that survival is already high makes it more difficult to measure improvements over time.
Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety is taking to reduce waiting times for women with breast disease who have been referred to a specialist by their general practitioner; and if he will make a statement. 
In Northern Ireland, patients with suspected breast cancer are expected to be assessed by a specialist within two weeks of urgent referral by their GP. The Department of Health, social services and public safety is working with Health and Social Services Boards and Trusts on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance with this target.
31 Oct 2005 : Column 785W
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer to question 19587, what action was taken between 2001 and 2005 in relation to the five cases of computer theft from his Department where all legal proceedings have been completed. 
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many general practitioner referrals to consultants there were in each Northern Ireland health board area in each of the last five years; and what percentage this was of the total number of general practitioner appointments, excluding those that did not attend. 
Mr. Woodward: Information is collected on the number of written referral requests from a general practitioner (GP) received by hospitals during the time period. The number of written GP referral requests received by hospitals in each Health Board area in each of the past five years is shown in the following table. Note that 200405 data are provisional.
Angela E. Smith: All meetings of the Post-Primary Review Working Group were minuted. The meetings took place on the following dates in 2003; 5, 12, 19/20 June; 2/3 July; 13/14, 28 August; 4/5, 10/11, 18, 29/30 September; 3, 8, 14, 28 October; and 6, 14, 21, 28 November. I have arranged for copies of the published minutes to be placed in the Library.
At its 5th meeting on 13 and 14 August, the Group asked the secretariat to prepare a discussion paper on the various issues identified at that meeting. A paper entitled Strategic Policy Framework", was considered at the meeting on 28 August. The Working Group did not produce discussion papers.
31 Oct 2005 : Column 786W
Mr. Hanson: All new recruits to the general grades in the Northern Ireland Office must satisfy a minimum academic standardtwo GCSEs or equivalent including English for Grade D2, increasing to five for Grade Dl. Other new employees have to meet different requirements or standards relevant to the specialism of the specific post/grade.
If any member of staff should ask for help in developing their literacy and numeracy skills the Department would seek to meet the requirement through the Knowledge Programme which includes literacy, numeracy and computer based skills.
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about what guidelines are in place for the issuing of official disability vehicle stickers. I have been asked to reply as the issue raised falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.
There is also a discretionary criterion, assessed by Roads Service (or local authorities in Great Britain), whereby disabled people can receive a badge if they 'have a permanent and substantial disability which means they are unable to walk or have very considerable difficulty in walking'. In this case applicants are asked to answer a series of questions to help Roads Service determine whether they are eligible for a badge. Roads Service may also seek supporting information from the applicant's General Practitioner.
Organisations caring for disabled people meeting one or more of the above criteria may also be able to get their own institutional badge, but this is entirely at Roads Service's/local authorities' discretion.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to ensure that those using disabled parking bays in car parks open to the general public in Northern Ireland are drivers with a valid disabled blue badge applicable to the vehicle in question. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding, what steps are being taken to ensure that those using disabled parking bays in car parks open to the general public in Northern Ireland are drivers with a valid disabled Blue Badge applicable to the vehicle in question.
Firstly, I should explain that a Blue Badge is issued to a disabled person for their personal use. It does not limit the disabled person to a particular vehicle and can legitimately be used in any vehicle in which the disabled person in question is travelling. When a Blue Badge is displayed on a vehicle, only the serial number and date of expiry are visible to someone making a routine inspection. Other information, such as a photograph of the disabled person and their signature, are not immediately visible.
The purpose of the Disabled Persons Badge Scheme (the Blue Badge Scheme) is to give disabled people the ability to park on-street, close to the facilities and services they need so as to improve their lifestyle, independence and freedom of choice. The scheme only applies to on-street car parking. A Blue Badge does not entitle the holder to free parking within a Roads Service off-street fee paying public car park. Therefore, there is no monetary benefit to be gained from the improper use of a Blue Badge within a fee paying public car park. For other off-street private car parks, such as shopping centres and multi-storey car parks, badge holders must check the concessions offered, as these can vary widely.
Responsibility for the enforcement of off-street disabled parking spaces in public car parks currently rests with Roads Service. Article 6 of the Off-Street Parking (NI) Order 2000 prohibits the driver of a vehicle, other than a disabled person's vehicle, to park in a disabled parking space. Contravention of this Article is an offence, and in such circumstances, Roads Service has the power to remove the vehicle or instigate proceedings to prosecute the individual involved.
However, our experience is that there is not a major difficulty with the misuse of off-street disabled parking spaces. This may be explained by the considerable concessions for Blue Badge holders at on- street parking facilities, including free unlimited parking at on-street 'pay and display' equipment. Other on-street parking concessions also permit a Blue Badge holder to leave their vehicle without time limit in a street where waiting is normally allowed only for limited periods. Blue Badge holders may also, in some areas, leave their vehicle for up to 3 hours on many yellow lines.
It is therefore our policy to discourage potential offenders and where disabled persons' interests can be protected by persuasion, rather that prosecution, so much the better. To this end when car park attendants discover a vehicle parked in a disabled parking space without having a Blue Badge on display, they place a notice on the vehicle advising the driver that he/she is parked in a space reserved for disabled people. The notice also advises that such parking is an offence that may result in a fine or the vehicle being removed.
I should also advise that following the PSNI's decision to withdraw from the enforcement of on-street parking restrictions, to enable policing resources to be focused on areas of greater policing priority, DRD has introduced new primary legislation, the Traffic Management (NI) Order 2005. This legislation provides the necessary legislative power to introduce civil enforcement of certain road traffic offences, initially enforcement of parking and waiting prohibitions and restrictions. Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) is likely to become effective in late September/early October 2006.
Under DPE, traffic attendants will be able to inspect Blue Badges to check for abuse of the system and may issue a Penalty Charge Notice if misuse is suspected. If this happens, Roads Service will write to the holder of the badge and inform them that it has been used inappropriately. Should this happen on a number of occasions Roads Service may withdraw the disabled persons' badge. Vehicles not displaying a Blue Badge, but parked in an on-street disabled parking space, will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|