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Ms Rosie Winterton: In England, the average number of operations performed by a whole-time equivalent surgeon (defined as (medical) staff in the surgical specialities) in 2004-05 was 490. This is the latest year for which this calculation can be made.
1. The number of operations in England in 2004-05 was 9,477,564. Data for 2005-06 are not available.
2. The number of whole-time equivalent staff in the surgical specialities at 30 September 2005 was 19,337 in England.
1. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The Information Centre for Health and Social Care.
2. Medical and dental census (30 September 2005), The Information Centre for Health and Social Care.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation her Department undertook before introducing changes to visa arrangements for overseas doctors working in the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The immigration rules for permit free training were amended in July 2005 and the implications were discussed with the British Medical Association (BMA), postgraduate deans and overseas doctors groups.
Departmental officials discussed proposals to amend the regulations further at a meeting in January held by NHS employers which was attended by the Home Office and medical stakeholders, including the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the British International Doctors Association, the BMA and representatives from the national health service.
Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) the new bodies that replace patient and public involvement in health forums have sufficient resources and powers to enable them properly to discharge their functions and (b) there is a smooth and rapid transition to the new bodies to minimise the risk of losing existing expertise. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The expert panel, which was established to recommend measures to deliver a stronger voice for patients, services users and the public at all levels in the health and social care system, recently reported its recommendations to ministers in the Department. Ministers are considering the recommendations and will announce the Department's decision on the future structures for patient and public involvement shortly.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The number of vacancies for physiotherapists which national health service trusts were actively trying to fill, which had lasted for three months or more (full time equivalents), as at 31 March in each of the last three years, is shown in the table.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department promotes the use of public transport by offering interest-free season ticket loans. Loans are also available to purchase bicycles, and departmental buildings offer secure cycle parking and showers.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not allocate funding to national health service trusts. NHS trusts as providers of services receive the bulk of their revenue funding from commissioning by primary care trusts. They also receive revenue funding from the Department for research and development and from strategic health authorities for medical staff training and other teaching costs. In addition, trusts can charge staff, visitors or patients for services provided, such as catering or provision of private patient facilities.
Shropshire county primary care trust (PCT) will receive allocations of £331.2 million in 2006-07 and £363.3 million in 2007-08. These represent a cash increase of £59.9 million or 19.7 per cent. over the two years.
Telford and Wrekin PCT will receive allocations of £187.6 million in 2006-07 and £209.3 million in 2007-08. These represent a cash increase of £41.3 million or 24.5 per cent. over the two years, compared to a national average of 19.5 per cent.
It is for primary care trusts in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which are the (a) best and (b) worst performing councils in England in terms of their ability to take effective action against antisocial behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the performance of Luton borough council in this area. 
Mr. McNulty: The data are not available in the format requested. Tackling antisocial behaviour involves a multi-agency approach which includes the local police, crime and disorder reduction partnerships as well as local borough councils and other partner authorities. The Government have already provided guidance and support to these local agencies to help them to target resources and powers to protect the public and ensure that antisocial behaviour is tackled, not tolerated.
There are variations in performance to tackle antisocial behaviour across the country and the Government are determined that public concern about antisocial behaviour is adequately reflected in the priorities of all our services. The Respect Programme will now take this further so that local services are organised so that they respond swiftly and effectively to the problems that communities face today. People need to see and feel that a difference can be made.
The Government also aims to improve accountability between service providers and the public by giving more power to local communities. The Police and Justice Bill contains provisions for the community call for action. This is a way for local communities to demand a response from agencies to persistent local community safety or antisocial behaviour problems, via an approach to their ward councillor.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has carried out an assessment of the total (a) cost and (b) benefits to companies of compliance with the approved contractor scheme. 
The Home Office published a full regulatory impact assessment (RIA) on 16 February 2006 on the approved contractor scheme (ACS). The
full RIA took into account the costs associated with obtaining ACS status and the benefits to companies that ACS will bring.
Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes were reported (a) on buses and (b) at bus stops in (i) the North East of England, (ii) County Durham and (iii) the City of Durham in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Coaker: The Government created the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to play a proactive role in protecting children, young people, families and society from paedophiles and sex offenders, particularly those who use the Internet and other new technologies in the sexual exploitation of children. This includes actively bringing together law enforcement with credit card providers as well as other key industry sectors to look at all aspects of online safety and to take proactive steps in preventing and detecting websites hosting images of child sex abuse.
Home Office is working closely with CEOP, the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) and the Association for Payment Clearing Services to consider how an Order under Schedule 3 of the Data Protection Act may ensure payment card companies can legitimately hold and internally process sensitive data concerning an individual's conviction(s) at court. The practical issues are still being clarified, but the DCA hope to lay an Order shortly. Card issuers usually have the power to remove an individual's payment card once they have been informed of the commission of a relevant offence.
Claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) are confidential as between applicants and CICA, and Ministers are precluded by law from involvement in individual cases.
CICA do not give financial advice to successful claimants. However, successful claimants have the same access to the various sources of financial advice that are available generally to members of the public.
Where a successful claimant from England or Wales receives a large award but is incapable of managing his or her financial affairs, the Public Guardianship Office (PGO) will usually be brought in to decide how the award should be administered, unless other arrangements, such as the administration of the award in a trust, are to be made. In such cases the PGOs appointees or the trustees would be responsible for taking any necessary financial advice.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the average time taken was to process an application to the Criminal Records Bureau for a disclosure in each year since it was established; 
Joan Ryan: Data concerning the average time taken to complete a disclosure are not a performance target and are not collated by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). The CRB operates to a set of published service standards (PSS), which are to process 93 per cent. of standard disclosure applications within two weeks and 90 per cent. of enhanced disclosure applications within four weeks. The service standards are published on the CRB website, www.crb.gov.uk.
The longest time taken to process an application within the last year from receipt of the application to despatch of the criminal record check was 11 months. This was not a straightforward case and it required interaction with the registered body throughout the process; the application form was incomplete; there were three police forces involved in the local intelligence checking; and the Police National Computer (PNC) found alias details pertaining to the applicant which he had failed to declare on his form. On occasions such as this it is necessary to recheck these details against the PNC and the other databases containing details of people who are considered unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable adults. The disclosure was issued on 31 May 2006 and contained a total of six separate convictions.
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) publishes an annual report and accounts, which is presented to Parliament pursuant to section 7 of the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000. The annual report and accounts provides, among other things, analysis on the CRBs performance and its
operating costs and balance sheet for the financial year. Copies of the CRB annual report and accounts 2004-05 were placed in the Library and a copy may be downloaded from the CRBs website www.crb.gov.uk. The bureaus management board, which includes a senior Home Office official, also regularly reviews issues concerning efficiency and effectiveness and the Chief Executive provides regular reports to Ministers on performance. The CRBs published service standards (PSS) are to issue 93 per cent. of Standard Disclosures within 14 days and 90 per cent. of enhanced disclosures within 28 days. The CRB is currently issuing 99.7 per cent. of standard disclosures within PSS, and 88.6 per cent. of enhanced disclosures within PSS. More organisations than ever before have access to the CRBs disclosure service and this expansion clearly demonstrates the Governments confidence in the CRB and its ability to deal with growing volumes in a timely and effective manner. Furthermore, a CRB-commissioned MORI survey has also shown that customer satisfaction levels are at an all time high, reflecting the year-on-year improvements that the CRB has made. The independent research has also shown that the CRB is making a difference to the protection of children and the vulnerable. In 2005, some 25,000 unsuitable people were prevented from gaining access to children or the vulnerable, as a direct result of CRB checks. Many more unsuitable people are deterred from applying to work with children and the vulnerable as a direct result of a requirement for a CRB check.
Joan Ryan: The Secretary of State for the Home Department last met the Chief Executive of the Criminal Records Bureau on 25 January 2006. I last met the Chief Executive of the Criminal Records Bureau on 11 May 2006. Such meetings take place every six weeks, and the Minister reports back to the Secretary of State as and when necessary.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals were (a) charged with and (b) convicted of offences connected with the misuse of crossbows in England and Wales in each of the last five years. 
Mr. McNulty: There is no specific offence relating to the misuse of crossbows. Such offences could be included under several different offences, such as possession of an offensive weapon, but the data cannot be separated to show how many of the offences involved a crossbow.
|Number of defendants prosecuted at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under the Crossbow Act 1997, England and Wales, 2000-04( 1)|
|(1) These data are provided on the principal offence basis.|
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