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15 Nov 2005 : Column 1196W—continued

Mental Health

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on perinatal mental illness in Northern Ireland. [28854]

Mr. Woodward: Care for those suffering from perinatal mental health problems, including psychiatric illness, takes place at all levels within the health care system (psychiatric services, maternity and child welfare services and primary health care). Overall information in relation to perinatal mental illness is not available.

Out-patients (Waiting Times)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time was for out-patients to be treated at accident and emergency
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units of the main hospitals in Northern Ireland in each of the 12 months to (a) September 2004 and (b) September 2005. [27394]

Mr. Woodward: Information on average waiting times for out-patients treated at accident and emergency units is not collected centrally.


Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of passenger train journeys made on (a) the lesser used lines and (b) the core network in Northern Ireland since 1 January were undertaken by train sets acquired in the past two years. [26579]

Mr. Woodward: The information requested is not available. However, Translink is currently collating information on train operations on the core network and on the lesser used lines and when this becomes available I will write to the hon. Gentleman.

Religious Profiles

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information his Department has collected about the extent to which the religious composition of the population of each ward in the province has changed in the last 30 years. [26959]

Angela E. Smith: The census of population provides information on the religious composition of each electoral ward. However, ward boundaries are reviewed periodically, and the results are presented for the wards current at the time of the census, The outputs from the last three censuses were thus based on different ward structures and it is not possible to track change at ward level over time directly from available census outputs. Estimates on a single ward geography could be made for each census using best-fit approximations, but this would require additional work and the interpretation of any observed trends would need to take cognisance of factors such as changes in the questionnaire wording, differences in the levels of non-response to the religion question, different population bases and different treatments of non-response in each census.

Safefood/Food Standards Agency

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the extent of the level of interaction is between safefood and the Foods Standards Agency; and what assessment he has made of the merits of reviewing the relationship between the two bodies to promote effectiveness and cost efficiency. [28463]

Mr. Woodward: Section 34 of the Food Standards Act 1999, which established the Food Standards Agency (FSA), states that the FSA must take account of, and consult with, the Food Safety Promotion Board (FSPB)—also known as safefood—in carrying out its activities.

There has been significant contact between the FSA Board, particularly through the Northern Ireland member on that body, and the FSPB. In the current
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year, the Northern Ireland member has met with the chair of the FSPB Advisory Board, and addressed a formal meeting of the FSPB governing body. The FSPB chief executive has also made a presentation on relationships between his organisation and the FSA at a meeting of the Nl Food Advisory Committee, which is chaired by the FSA's Northern Ireland Board member.

At official level, a concordat has been established between the FSA and FSPB to guide working relations. Two formal meetings of senior management teams from both organisations have taken place, with the next meeting planned for March 2006,

Practical examples of both organisations working together in the past year include: the Director of FSA Nl Chairs an All Island Nutrition Forum—the Secretariat is provided by the FSPB; representation from FSA Nl on the FSPB's Consumer Focused Review; a jointly resourced stand at the Balmoral Show; jointly co-ordinated and sponsored National Food Safety Week initiatives in Northern Ireland; a jointly organised and resourced seminar in Dublin, on the subject of salt consumption. Both organisations continue to explore how they jointly carry out their work in an effective and efficient way, and this scope for review is enshrined in the UK legislation and in the concordat between the FSA and FSPB. The relationship between both bodies continues to develop and this can only further enhance the effectiveness of their joint work and ensure cost efficiencies for the taxpayer. A good example of this are plans in 2007 for FSA to carry out a major UK-wide survey on food consumption, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, which will for the first time include a sample for Northern Ireland. The costs of the sample for Northern Ireland are high, and could not be met out of the current FSA NI budget. The FSPB has agreed to make a significant financial contribution to facilitate the survey.

Sexual Health

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what services are provided in each Health Board Area in respect of sexually transmitted infections; and what the (a) budget, (b) staffing profile and (c) service level is in each. [26821]

Mr. Woodward: The information is as follows.
Service provision/level

Royal Group of HospitalsConsultant-led GUM clinics Monday to Friday, morning and afternoon. Additional nurse-led sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Daisy Hill HospitalConsultant-led GUM clinics on Wednesday mornings. Additional nurse-led session on Monday evening
Causeway HospitalConsultant-led GUM clinics twice per week
Altnagelvin HospitalConsultant-led GUM clinics, six times per week

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Funding provision 2004–05


Staffing levels

Specialist Registrars2
Nursing Staff(27)11
Health advisers2
Clerical/secretarial staff(27)4.75
Staff gradesn/k
Hospital practitionersn/k
Clinical assistantsn/k
GP's with Specialist interest in GUM3
Sexual Health Adviser1
Healthcare Assistant1
Nursing Auxiliary1
Senior Health Promotion Officer1
Senior Health Promotion Officer1
Visiting Consultant1
Hospital Practitioners3
Grade G Charge Nurse1
Grade E Staff Nurse2

'n/k' = not known
(27) WTE

Sexual Offences Act

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to bring Northern Ireland legislation into line with sections 1–14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. [27714]

Mr. Hanson: The Government are currently considering the options for reform of the law on sexual offences in Northern Ireland.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of smoking-related diseases in Northern Ireland. [28220]

Mr. Woodward: This information is not available. However, for the purposes of the draft Regulatory Impact Assessment, which was prepared to inform the policy on controlling smoking in enclosed public places and work places, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has estimated that, in 2003–04, the Northern Ireland hospital costs of treating circulatory and respiratory diseases of which active smoking could be a contributory factor was £74 million.
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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of people in Northern Ireland who smoke; and if he will make a statement. [28221]

Mr. Woodward: Smoking prevalence in Northern Ireland since 1996–97 is set out in the table.
Financial YearPrevalence

Continuous Household Survey.

Further data on smoking prevalence in Northern Ireland are available on the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency website:

In 2003, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety published a Five Year Tobacco Action Plan to tackle smoking. The Department continues to fund public information campaigns on tobacco arid the development of a range of smoking cessation services across Northern Ireland.

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