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7 Nov 2006 : Column 1233W—continued


7 Nov 2006 : Column 1234W

The number of people who received an MRI scan in each health trust in the Province in each of the last five years is detailed in the table.

2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Altnagelvin(1)

n/a

n/a

2,871

3,259

4,193

Belfast City Hospital

588

1,070

3,387

6,015

5,238

Craigavon(2)

3,428

3,876

GreenPark

6,421

6,764

6,152

6,223

6,831

Royal

4,757

3,065

3,756

4,526

6,091

Ulster(3)

2,004

2,488

United(4)

1,582

2,397

n/a = Figure not available. (1) Figures for Altnagelvin include scans carried out at the independent sector scanner in Coleraine. Figures not available for 2001-02 or 2002-03. (2) MRI scanner at Craigavon has been in existence only since1 November 2004. Figures run from November to October each year. (3) MRI scanner at the Ulster was installed in May 2004. (4) MRI scanner at United in operation from 2004-05. Source: HPSS Trusts.

Music Therapy

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to develop a policy guide for music therapy in special schools in Northern Ireland; what steps have been taken to develop a strategic plan for the inclusion of music therapy alongside other therapies as an integral part of the work of special schools; and whether a framework of standards is being included in the plan. [99758]

Paul Goggins: Officials from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) met with representatives from the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust in July 2006. It was agreed that the DHSSPS would develop a position paper that would consider how music therapy could be integrated into the therapy services provided by the by the Health and Social Services Trusts for children with learning disabilities.

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to monitor and evaluate the impact of music therapy to inform and improve planning and provision. [99759]

Paul Goggins: Following a meeting with representatives of the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust, officials from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, agreed to develop a position paper to evaluate music therapy and how it could be integrated into the therapy services provided for children with learning disabilities. This will include planning and provision.

Neonatal Care

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to increase the number of neonatal cots available in neonatal intensive care units in hospitals in Northern Ireland. [99682]


7 Nov 2006 : Column 1235W

Paul Goggins: There are currently 104 neonatal cots available in Northern Ireland hospitals. The most recent was added at Craigavon in April 2006. In line with the rest of the UK, specialist neonatal services in Northern Ireland face increasing demands as rising numbers of very premature babies survive and as medical technology advances.

The HPSS is currently taking action to improve the future provision of neonatal services. In June 2005 the Chief Medical Officer commissioned work to provide a robust baseline position for specialist neonatal activity in Northern Ireland and to inform future service planning, provision and development. This work is now complete and, as a result, the Department is seeking to increase capacity and to develop a neonatal/paediatric critical care transport service.

Inevitably the demand for specialist neonatal services will continue to experience peaks and troughs. On those occasions when no cot is available locally, hospitals have contingency plans in place to arrange alternative care in units outside Northern Ireland.

NICE Guidelines

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who will serve on the body to determine whether National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines should be extended to Northern Ireland. [99771]

Paul Goggins: Decisions on the application of NICE guidelines in Northern Ireland are a matter for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Northern Ireland Police Fund

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what date the Northern Ireland Police Fund notified the Department of the payment to L’Estrange and Brett Solicitors. [89296]

Paul Goggins: Payments by the Northern Ireland Police Fund are a matter for the Fund.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether (a) current and (b) former members of the board of directors of the Northern Ireland Police Fund have requested meetings in the last 12 months with (i) him, (ii) a Minister of State and (iii) a civil servant from his Department to discuss (A) the 2003 breach of security at the fund and (B) parliamentary questions. [90977]

Paul Goggins: No such meetings have been requested in the last 12 months by current or former members of the board of directors of the Northern Ireland Police Fund.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether details of a redundancy package paid out to a member of staff at the Northern Ireland Police Fund on the termination of their employment at the fund was (a) forwarded to his Department and (b) approved by his Department in advance of it being agreed with staff. [90993]


7 Nov 2006 : Column 1236W

Paul Goggins: As the Northern Ireland Police Fund’s status is a company limited by guarantee any payments made to staff are a matter for the fund.

In line with standard corporate governance arrangements the Department discusses a range of issues in relation to fund business on a regular basis.

Nursing

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will break down by age the number of nurses working in the health service in Northern Ireland. [99775]

Paul Goggins: The information requested is presented in the following table.

Nursing staff employed within the NIHPSS by age group as at 30 September 2006
Qualified nursing staff Nurse support staff
Headcount WTE Headcount WTE

<25

704

690.55

390

364.89

25-29

1,709

1,621.05

462

412.47

30-34

2,163

1,906.33

548

458.69

35-39

2,361

1,941.00

654

533.92

40-44

3,161

2,566.19

768

652.74

45-49

2,743

2,286.63

747

642.87

50-54

1,818

1,543.66

556

480.68

55-59

925

763.09

392

328.49

60-64

281

215.41

175

141.57

65+

18

12.32

8

6.08

Unknown

0

0.00

1

1.00

Total

15,883

13,546.23

4,701

4,023.40

Notes: 1. Figures for nursing staff exclude bank staff and student nurses.
2. WTE—whole-time equivalent. Source: Human Resource Management Systems

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what childcare assistance is available for those studying nursing in the Province; and what assessment he has made of the merits of introducing a childcare allowance for nursing students in the Province. [99303]

Paul Goggins: Student nurses studying in Northern Ireland at both diploma and degree level have access to a personal bursary award, which is a combination ofa non-means-tested bursary and a means-tested dependants allowance. A child care allowance is not included in the current support package, however the situation will be kept under review.

Occupational Therapy

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) longest and (b) average waiting time is for community occupational therapy assessment among (i) adults and (ii) children in each health trust in the Province. [99469]

Paul Goggins: Information on average and longest waiting times for community occupational therapist assessment in respect of children and adults is not collected centrally. Information is, however, available on the time individuals aged 19 and over had waited
7 Nov 2006 : Column 1237W
for commencement of assessment by community occupational therapists, according to specified time bands. The number of adults in each time band is shown in the following table, in respect of assessments
7 Nov 2006 : Column 1238W
commenced in the quarter ending 30 June 2006, the latest date for which such information is available. Information is provided for priority cases and non-priority cases separately.

Time waited for commencement of assessment by community occupational therapists, quarter ending 30 June 2006
HSS Trust Under 2 weeks 2 weeks to under 1 month 1 month and over All priority cases

(a) Priority cases

North and West Belfast

238

72

153

463

South and East Belfast

413

85

137

635

UCHT

208

54

72

334

Down Lisburn

274

93

210

577

Causeway

86

32

96

214

Homefirst

714

132

343

1,189

Armagh and Dungannon

336

34

14

384

Craigavon and Banbridge

456

212

118

786

Newry and Mourne

60

72

261

393

Foyle

43

36

132

211

Sperrin Lakeland

54

38

139

231

Northern Ireland

2,882

860

1,675

5,417


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