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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many disabled people were hired by his Department in each of the last five years for which figures are available; what percentage of the
overall workforce these figures represented in each year; and how many disabled people left their employment in his Department over the same period. 
Paul Goggins: With the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, the requirement to register as disabled was abolished, and information on disability is now provided by staff on a voluntary basis.
The following table provides details of the number of disabled staff hired by the Northern Ireland Office in each of the last five years; the percentage of the overall workforce these figures represent in each year; and the number of disabled people who left their employment in the Northern Ireland Office over the same period.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff in his Department received bonus payments in each of the last five years for which information is available; what proportion of the total workforce they represented; what the total amount of bonuses paid has been; what the largest single payment was in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins: The information requested is set out in the following table and comprises bonuses paid under the Special Bonus Scheme, and the performance management arrangements for all Northern Ireland Office staff at senior civil service (SCS) level and below.
The Northern Ireland Office established a non consolidated bonus pot to reward performance in the 2003-04 reporting year for staff below SCS. In 2003-04 and 2004-05 it rewarded three levels of performance. In 2005-06 the scheme was amended and is now targeted at exceptional performance.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what tax-efficient schemes for the purchase of bicycles his Department makes available to its employees; how many and what percentage of his Departments staff purchased bicycles through such schemes in 2005-06; whether the schemes are available through a range of suppliers; and whether arrangements are made to enable staff with disabilities to purchase adapted bicycles from a specialist supplier. 
Paul Goggins: The Northern Ireland Office does not offer any tax-efficient schemes for the purchase of bicycles to its employees at present. We do, however, offer an advance of up to £400 for the purchase of a bicycle and associated safety equipment, which is repayable in equal monthly instalments within one year. In 2005-06, one member of staff took advantage of the advance scheme. As we offer money, rather than vouchers, staff can decide for themselves which suppliers to use, and if necessary can purchase adapted bicycles from a specialist supplier. In addition, the Access to Work scheme, run by Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland and Department for Work and Pensions in Great Britain, is available to those staff with disabilities who require assistance to travel to work.
Paul Goggins: Each of the health and social services boards has a range of initiatives under way to raise awareness of diabetes and to reinforce the public health message of the importance of good nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation in preventing diabetes and in slowing down the onset of complications, such as eye, renal and heart disease, which people with diabetes may develop.
In 2006-07 the Department has invested £1 millionin the General Medical Services Contract for the development of a GP practice-based service for the early detection and follow-up of people with diabetes. All GPs and other health care professionals working in HSS trusts have protocols in place to ensure that people with diabetes are proactively managed to reduce as far as possible the risk of complications.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in Northern Ireland. The health and social services boards have introduced a comprehensive eye screening programme to detect signs of eye disease in its early stages. The programme will be available to all people with diabetes over12 years of age in 2007.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will estimate the number of children and adolescents in the Province who (a) suffer from diabetes and (b) are at risk of developing diabetes. 
Paul Goggins: Official estimates of the number of children and adolescents who suffer from diabetesare not available. However, under the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) of the General Medical Services contract, the number of GP-registered patients aged 17 and over with diabetes mellitus is recorded.
As at 14 February 2006, there were 54,950 patients (3.1 per cent. of GP-registered patients) on the QOF diabetes mellitus register in Northern Ireland. This includes Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. (Source: Payment Calculation and Analysis System).
In 2005, the expected number of the population aged 0-19 years in Northern Ireland with Type 1 diabetes, most commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents, is 992 (0.2 per cent. of population aged 0-19 years).
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision under Planning Policy Statement 14 has been made for the building of accommodation in rural areas for disabled persons requiring independent living accommodation close to family. 
David Cairns: Draft Planning Policy Statement 14 does not include specific provision for the building of independent living accommodation for disabled persons close to their families, although the existing and unchanged policy HOU 16 (House Extensions) facilitates extensions to existing houses to provide partially self-contained accommodation. Draft Planning Policy Statement 14 has been subject to public consultation. All responses are being fully considered before a final policy is adopted.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people charged with drink-driving incidents have not been brought before court in Northern Ireland within (a) three months and (b) six months over the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: The deadline for applications for the 2006-07 academic year is 31 March 2007. The Student Loans Company (SLC), which administers the scheme in Northern Ireland, is still receiving and processing applications. As at 31 October 2006, 19,766 applications had been received of which 12,585 have been approved as follows:
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many expressions of interest were received by the Department for Trade, Enterprise and Investment for energy from waste projects; and if he will make a statement on the range of projects indicated. 
Maria Eagle: The Energy from Waste call resulted in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment receiving 54 submissions with proposals for projects. Although detailed analysis is just getting underway, the early indications are that we have a broad and interesting range of proposals.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many patients are waiting for (a) ear, nose and throat in-patient admission and (b) out-patient assessment in each health trust area in the Province; 
(2) what the (a) average and (b) longest waiting time is in each health trust area in the Province for (i) initial ear, nose and throat out-patient assessment and (ii) ear, nose and throat in-patient admission. 
Paul Goggins: The (i) total number of patients waiting for (a) ear, nose and throat in-patient admission and (b) ear, nose and throat out-patient assessment (first out-patient appointment) for each applicable Health Trust at 30 June 2006 (the latest available validated statistics) is shown in the following table:
|Patients waiting for ear, nose and throat in-patient admission/ out-patient assessment at 30 June 2006|
|HSS Trust||(a) In-patient admission||(b) Out-patient appointment|
|n/a - not applicable|
Departmental Information returns CH1 & CH3
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