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Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action has been taken to establish the regional taskforce to improve the provision of speech language therapy in Northern Ireland; which Department is leading the establishment of this taskforce; which Department will lead the taskforces operation once established; and who the main stakeholders in the taskforce will be. 
The establishment of the regional taskforce, nominating members, setting objectives and a date for completing the work will be the responsibility of the Special Education Needs Inter-Departmental Group (SEN IDG), which comprises officials from the Department of Health, Social
Services and Public Safety and the Department of Education. The SEN IDG will act as the steering group to direct the work of the taskforce and will be meeting in the near future to discuss and make decisions on these issues.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children are waiting to be assessed by a speech and language therapist in each health and social services board area in Northern Ireland. 
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time was for assessment for speech and language therapy for children in (a) special needs and (b) schools in each health and social services board area in Northern Ireland in the last period for which figures are available. 
Paul Goggins: Children with speech and language therapy requirements, as part of their Statements of Special Educational Needs, are referred to the health and social services trusts for therapeutic provision. Education and library boards do not separately keep waiting lists for this provision.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children are waiting post-assessment to commence speech and language therapy in each health and social services board area in Northern Ireland; and what the average waiting time was for commencement of such therapy in the last period for which figures are available. 
Paul Goggins: Information on the numbers of children waiting post-assessment to commence speech and language therapy, and average waiting times for commencement of such therapy is not collected centrally.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) adults and (b) children are awaiting initial speech therapy assessment in each health board area in the Province. 
Paul Goggins: Information on the number of (a) adults and (b) children awaiting initial speech therapy assessment in each Health Board area is not collected centrally. However, information is collected centrally on completed waiting times for a first outpatient appointment of an episode of care with a community speech and language therapist. The following table contains information for the quarter ending 30 December 2005 (the latest date for which such information is available) and shows that, of the 2,686 persons who attended their first outpatient appointment, 497 (19 per cent.) had waited for between three and six months, and a further 96 (4 per cent.) had waited for six months or more.
|Board area||Patients attending first appointment||Less than 3 months||3-6 months||6 months or over|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent provision has been made in East Belfast, Strangford and North Down (a) to support families of suicide victims and (b) to offer help to those contemplating suicide and self-harm. 
Paul Goggins: The Ulster Community and Hospitals Health and Social Services Trust provides a range of mental health intervention and strategies to support the families of suicide victims, including counselling for bereavement in conjunction with specialized agencies such as CRUSE.
Since February 2004, the trust has been operating a Crisis Response and Home Treatment Team, which is available 365 days per year to provide an appropriate response to individuals who have attempted self-harm or are suicidal.
In addition to this service, members of this team assess any patient who presents to the A&E department of the Ulster hospital, Dundonald, suffering from mental health problems. Furthermore, the trust has recently trained three staff in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and arrangements are presently being made for suicide awareness sessions in local sports and community clubs.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been convicted of (a) driving a taxi and (b) operating a taxi service illegally in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. 
David Cairns: The information requested, which is set out in the following table, is available only for the period since 1 April 2003, when a dedicated taxi enforcement team was set up by the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average number of days was on which teachers were absent from work in each education and library board area in the Province in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) education sector and (b) reason for absence. 
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent on substitute teachers in each Education and Library Board area in the Province in each of the last three years, broken down by education sector. 
| Notes: 1. Controlled, Maintained and Integrated taken from temp teacher board tape totals. 2. Costs are for financial years and reflect salary plus employers costs.|
Maria Eagle: An extensive programme of in-service training and support will be provided through the Curriculum Advisory and Support Services of the education and library boards, complemented by guidance and resource material provided by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment. The programme will be sequenced to match the phasing-in of the revised curriculum, to ensure manageability for teachers and schools.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many teenage pregnancies have been registered in each health board area in the last three years; and how many of these young mothers were aged between 13 and 14 years. 
|Number of births registered in Northern Ireland by mother's resident Health and Social Services Board and by age, 2003-05|
|Health and Social Services Board|
|Age of mother||Eastern||Northern||Southern||Western||Northern Ireland|
|(1) Data for number of births during 2005 are currently provisional as are subject to change. Notes: 1. The number of births to teenage mothers refers to all live and still births to women aged 19 and under at the time of birth and resident in Northern Ireland. 2. Pregnancies resulting in multiple birth are counted only once. Source: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.|
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