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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many patients within each health trust in the Province have (a) received, (b) accepted and (c) declined alternative offers of treatment since the introduction of this scheme. 
As part of the drive to reduce hospital waiting times, an alternative offer scheme has been introduced to guarantee patients an offer of treatment
within agreed timeframes. The Northern Ireland Patient Offer Centre was established to facilitate this scheme.
|Trust||(a) Offers received||(b) Offers accepted||(c) Offers declined|
| Source: Northern Ireland Patient Offer Centre|
A sexual violence strategy is currently being developed for Northern Ireland. In developing
the strategy the option of establishing a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for Northern Ireland is being explored.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been diagnosed with asbestosis in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years; and how many have died of the disease in the same period in each health board. 
The following table details the number of admissions(1) to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of asbestosis, for each year between 1995 and 2004 (the latest calendar year for which data are available). It should be noted that any individual could have been admitted to hospital more than once over the course of a year or over a number of years and would therefore be counted more than once in the table.
|Eastern H&SSB||Northern H&SSB||Southern H&SSB||Western H&SSB||Not available( 2)|
|(1) Discharges and deaths are used as an approximation to admissions. (2) Not available refers to postcodes outside Northern Ireland or to postcodes with incorrect or missing grid references and Royal Mail PO Boxes. Note: Cell sizes that have a value of less than 5 have been masked in order to help protect confidentiality Source: Hospital Inpatients System DHSS&PS|
The following table gives the number of deaths registered in Northern Ireland in each year between 1995 and 2004, where the underlying cause of death was recorded as asbestosis(1) by health and social service board.
|Year of registration||Eastern H&SSB||Northern H&SSB||Southern H&SSB||Western H&SSB||Northern Ireland|
|(1) International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision codes J61 and J92.0 for years 2001-04 and Ninth Revision code 501 for years 1995-2000.|
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Northern Ireland Assembly elections scheduled to be held in May 2008 will be based on constituencies as defined in the forthcoming Boundary Commission report. 
The Boundary Commission announced their Revised Recommendations on 18 May 2006. They must consider all representations on the Revised Recommendations received within one month of their publication. Further to this, they will submit their Final Recommendations to the Secretary of State who must then lay these (with or without modifications) before Parliament for approval.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many attacks on (a) staff, (b) patients and (c) visitors have occurred on NHS premises in each health trust in the Province in each of the last five years; and how many people have been charged as a result. 
Paul Goggins: The information requested is not held centrally by the Department before 2004 and will take some time to collate from the Health and Personal Social Services. I will write to the hon. Member with the information as soon as it is available and place a copy in the Library.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the costs to the NHS in the Province over the last five years resulting from attacks on staff. 
Paul Goggins: Counselling is available to all staff in the Health and Personal Social Services either through the Occupational Health Service or via a confidential helpline. However, by its very nature it is a confidential service and therefore it is not possible to state how many staff have required counselling in the last 12 months as a result of work-related attacks.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what guidelines are in place for NHS staff accompanying and dealing with patients or relatives who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
Paul Goggins: There is no central guidance. There is however, a duty of care on Health and Personal Social Services employers to ensure staff are safe at all times while in their place of employment and trusts may have individual policies and procedures on how to deal with patients and relatives who present for treatment while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Paul Goggins: Racist attacks on hospital staff are not currently recorded as a specific statistic. They are however subsumed within the Departments monitoring of violent attacks on health and personal social services staff figures as both verbal and physical abuse. The Department is actively addressing the issue of racist attacks and has commissioned research which is being carried out by the Institute for Conflict Research.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made with contingency plans in Northern Ireland involving a cull of birds in the event of a pandemic of avian influenza; and what assessment he has made of the speed with which a vaccine could be produced in large enough quantities once a particular strain of avian influenza has been identified. 
David Cairns: The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has a contingency plan in place to ensure that any outbreak of Avian Influenza is dealt with quickly and effectively. If there is an outbreak in domestic poultry, infected birds and dangerous contacts will be culled. As part of the ongoing testing of the plan, culling has been tested on two separate occasions with a further exercise planned over the summer. Vaccination offers potential benefits in disease control but preventive vaccination of poultry is not the most effective defence. At UK-level, a plan is in place for a possible vaccination programme for zoo birds for conservation purposes, based on veterinary risk assessment, and 2.3 million doses of vaccine have been obtained for this purpose. DARDs policy on the wider use of vaccination will be kept under review in the light of scientific developments in vaccines.
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