|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
|Completed waits for digital hearing aids during quarter ending 31 March 2006|
|HSS board||Less than three months||Three to six months||Six to 12 months||12 months or more||All patients fitted|
Community Information Branch return AUDI
Information on the number of patients waiting for a digital hearing aid in each health trust area in the province is not collected centrally(103433). However, information is collected on the number of patients waiting for a hearing assessment/re-assessment at the end of each quarter for each health and social services board in the province. The information in the table above is for quarter ending 31 March 2006, the first quarter for which information is available.
At 31 March 2006, 2,184 patients were waiting for a hearing assessment/re-assessment in Northern Ireland, 943 in the Southern Board, 837 in the Eastern Board, 340 in the Western Board and 64 in the Northern Board.
|Number of patients waiting for a hearing assessment/re-assessment|
|HSS board||Less than three months||Three to six months||Six to 12 months||12 months or more||Patients waiting|
Community Information Branch return AUDI
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many patients received digital hearing aids in each health trust area in the Province in each of the last 12 months; 
Paul Goggins: Information on the number of patients who received digital hearing aids in each health trust area in each of the last 12 months, and in each of the last 10 years is not collected centrally. However, information was collected on the number of patients who received digital hearing aids during the quarter ending 31 March 2006, the first quarter for which information has been collected in each health and social services board.
|Number of patients who received digital hearing aids during quarter ending 31 March 2006( 1,2)|
|HSS Board||Number of digital hearing aids issued|
|(1) Figures include information on new and existing clients fitted with a digital hearing aid during quarter ending 31 March 2006. (2) Figures do not include information on digital hearing aid replacements issued during the quarter to avoid possible double counting. Source: Community Information Branch return AUDI.|
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criteria a civil servant in his Department must fulfil (a) to be considered for a bonus on top of their regular salary and (b) to be awarded a bonus. 
The special bonus scheme rewards staff in a tangible way for demonstrating effort or achievement in fulfilling short-term exercises or projects and these fall within the range of £50 to £750. Staff must be nominated for a bonus and their Director (Grade 3) will decide who is to receive an award and at what level.
As part off the annual pay round, staff below SCS can be awarded a non-consolidated performance bonus for demonstrating exceptional performance across an entire reporting year and these fall within the range of £650 (at the lowest gradeD2) to £1,400 (it the highest grade A). Staff must have a nomination form completed by their line manager and endorsed by their countersigning officer. A moderating panel considers all of the recommendations and is able to approve an award up to a ceiling of 15 per cent. of staff at each grade within their Directorate.
As part of the annual pay round, SCS staff can be awarded a non-consolidated bonus to reward in-year performance in relation to agreed objectives, or short-term personal contribution to wider organisational objectives. The level of funding is decided centrally by Cabinet Office and bonuses are at minimum £3,000 and at maximum 20 per cent. of salary. Staff must have a nomination form completed by their line manager. A Pay Committee considers all the recommendations and decides who should be awarded a bonus.
Paul Goggins: The UK National Screening Committee has considered the case for bowel screening and recommended that a population programme should be introduced. I would wish to see such a programme introduced in Northern Ireland. However, before a programme could be implemented in Northern Ireland, detailed planning is required in order that the introduction of bowel screening does not adversely impact on services for those patients with symptomatic bowel disease. In addition, infrastructure development and capacity building is required so that the necessary resources, people and skills are in place to ensure a quality service.
In preparation of this, the workshop on bowel cancer held on 20 June considered the current capacity and pressure on the symptomatic bowel service. It identified the need for expansion of endoscopy training and capacity, and the introduction of quality standards in line with those applied in England. My Department has allocated resources to support these developments and is currently working with the relevant health professionals to address these issues and thereby enhance the capacity of the symptomatic service.
A bowel cancer screening conference, jointly organised by Action Cancer and my Department, was held on 9 October 2006. It provided learning from the experiences of introducing bowel cancer screening in England and Scotland, which will be taken into account for the introduction of bowel screening here. These and other initiatives will leave Northern Ireland in a much better position to introduce bowel cancer screening in 2009.
Paul Goggins: The Department meets identified training needs for endoscopy nursing staff, through commissioned training places at Queens University Belfast. Training provision has increased slightly from 2005, when the curriculum was reviewed to include additional information on decontamination.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of extending business rate relief to sub-post offices in Northern Ireland on (a) equality and (b) targeting social need. 
Analysis was undertaken in 2004 and 2005 regarding the introduction of a rural rate relief scheme for Northern Ireland to include support for rural post offices and shops. This analysis was directed at small properties below the (then) levels applicable in
GB of £6,000 net annual value and the cost was estimated at £1.6 million. It was not possible to establish how much of this £1.6 million was attributable to post offices because a significant number of them are categorised by the Valuation and Lands Agency as ordinary shops.
Preliminary results of the Equality Impact Assessment and New TSN analysis were unfavourable, with the high likelihood of adverse differential effects occurring at local level. Furthermore, the assessment concluded that such a measure would do little or nothing for rural shops in Northern Ireland. It was decided not to implement the rural rate relief scheme in Northern Ireland because the scheme which applies in the rest of the UK is based on designated rural areas which would be inappropriate for Northern Irelands dispersed rural settlement pattern.
Paul Goggins: The current target set by the Department of Health and Social Services for cancer survival is that the Health and Personal Social Services should seek to increase five year survival rates for the main cancers including breast, colo-rectal and lung (excluding non melanoma skin cancers) by 5 per cent. by 2010.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to ensure that cancer patients in the Province receive the professional support and care they require. 
Paul Goggins: On 9 November the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety published a Cancer Control Programme for Northern Ireland. This plan which represents the first element of an over-arching regional framework for cancer services will in the future be supplemented by detailed, transparent standards and targets for the delivery of that care. Those standards and targets will be developed in partnership with the HPSS and the Northern Ireland Cancer Network and will address the standards of professional support and care required by cancer patients.
One of the key aims of the recently published Cancer Control Programme for Northern Ireland is to ensure that cancer services are provided to everyone who has need of them on an equitable basis. The Cancer Control Programme recommends that commissioners, service planners and relevant agencies should take full account of the report findings
regarding cancer inequalities in the planning and development of regional and local cancer services and prevention strategies.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consideration has been given to producing a comprehensive cancer plan for Northern Ireland with targets for services and specific allocated funding. 
Paul Goggins: The first comprehensive report on cancer services in Northern Ireland, Cancer ServicesInvesting for the Future was published in 1996. On 9 November the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety published a new Cancer Control Programme for Northern Ireland. This important document sets out recommendations and actions for the further strengthening of cancer services and the setting of standards for the delivery of those services. It is a vital step in the development of a comprehensive regional framework for cancer services in the Province and represents the first element of an over-arching regional framework for cancer services. It will in the future be supplemented by detailed, transparent standards and targets for the delivery of cancer care.
Paul Goggins: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidance on the use of docetaxel in the treatment of hormone refractory prostate cancer in June which recommended this drug as a treatment option.
The use of docetaxel is very much part of our current strategy for the management of this group of patients. Health and social services boards have allocated £195,000 recurrently for the introduction of this new treatment in Northern Ireland and a number of patients have commenced treatment with docetaxel in recent months.
Paul Goggins: There are a wide range of drug and surgical treatments available to treat prostate cancer in Northern Ireland. These include: active monitoring, hormone therapy, radiotherapy, surgery, cryosurgery and chemotherapy which may include the use of docetaxel. Treatment is always commensurate with the age, general health and stage of the disease evident with each patient and takes account of their treatment preference.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many patients have (a) been diagnosed with and (b) died from prostate cancer in the Province in each of the last 20 years. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|