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5 Dec 2006 : Column 371W—continued


Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total (a) actual and (b) establishment figures for medical personnel are in the (i) Army, (ii) Navy and (iii) RAF. [101064]

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Derek Twigg: The following table illustrates the Establishment and Trained Strength of qualified medical personnel in the three single Services as at 1 July 2006.

Single Service Establishment Trained strength

Royal Navy






Royal Air Force



1. Figures are as at 1 July 2006.
2. Figures are rounded to nearest 10.
3. Figures include some staff working out of specialty in headquarter posts.

As explained in a previous answer to the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey) on 4 September 2006, Official Report, column 1692W, “Establishment” is the listing of an individual unit’s funded appointments/posts.

It is different to the “Requirement”, which is those posts necessary to support Defence Planning Assumptions. In light of the defence planning assumptions contained in Defence Strategic Guidance 05, revised manning requirement figures are expected to be available before the end of this year. The new requirement figures will indicate the number and type of Defence Medical Services (DMS) personnel necessary to support operations and those needed in non-operational posts requiring uniformed personnel.

Royal Fleet Reserve

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why he intends to increase the number of Royal Fleet Reserve (marine officers and marines) that may be maintained for service; and if he will make a statement. [105960]

Derek Twigg: There are no plans to increase the size of the Royal Fleet Reserves (RFR). Currently all naval Service personnel, on leaving the Regular Navy and Marines, have a liability for service in the RFR that automatically ceases after a fixed period of time. The actual numbers of personnel on the RFR are therefore self-regulatory and will vary from month to month.

Royal Navy

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of personnel were deemed to have worked excessive hours in the Royal Navy in each year since 2001. [101058]

Derek Twigg: The results of recent surveys of working patterns, involving approximately 6,000 Naval personnel, indicate that the proportion of Royal Naval personnel working excessive hours in each year since 2001 were:

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Financial year( 1) RN excessive hours (%)











(1) deemed to be proportion of Naval Service working more than 70 hours per week. The valid response rate was 49.4 per cent.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Royal Navy ships are at sea (a) without key equipment and (b) with equipment which is not working; and if he will make a statement. [106636]

Mr. Ingram: Royal Navy ships are permanently fitted with the equipment needed for their envisaged tasking and are adaptable for a wide range of other contingent tasks. The equipment required by ships for specific tasks, and the temporary defects that could affect their operations, would allow an assessment to be made of the operational capability of the fleet and disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of our armed forces.

Saudi Arabia

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department plan to visit Saudi Arabia in the next three months. [106719]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 30 November 2006]: It is not our practice to announce travel arrangements of Government Ministers prior to the visits. The future visit programme for Defence Ministers is continuously under review.


Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which staff in his Department are seconded from organisations with charitable status; and which have (a) costs and (b) salaries met (i) in part and (ii) in whole (A) from public funds and (B) by the charity from which they are seconded. [102408]

Derek Twigg: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Service Pay

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average pay for a sergeant in the British Army was in 2005-06. [106889]

Derek Twigg: In 2005-06, the basic pay for a sergeant in the British Army ranged between £25,973 and £31,956, depending on the seniority and the trade of the individual concerned. In addition to their basic pay, Sergeants may also receive specialist pay and allowances (eg Parachute Pay and Longer Separated Service Allowance) provided they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has made an assessment of the pay and conditions of members of the armed services of each NATO country undertaking joint operations. [106890]

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Derek Twigg: The independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) commissioned research for its 2002 report into the military remuneration packages offered by 10 Commonwealth and NATO countries (including USA, Australia, Canada and France). This indicated that none of the countries surveyed provided a more generous package across-the-board. The research took account of basic pay, including relevant tax arrangements, allowances for operations, the disadvantages of military life, pension arrangements, accommodation charges, annual and other leave.

The AFPRB repeated the research for their 2005 report and concluded that the UK package remains broadly comparable with that offered by other nations. Data were provided on 12 countries.

Of these, only Canada offers higher base pay for certain ranks. When the total package was considered the UK was slightly less favourable than Australia and France, broadly in line with most ranks in Ireland, the USA and Canada and ahead of the other seven countries.

Service Personnel

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with the Treasury to ensure that service personnel and their families who are unable to provide proof of stable addresses have access to credit. [106712]

Derek Twigg: Officials are working with the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS), the credit reference agencies, the Electoral Commission, the Department for Constitutional Affairs and the Home Office on the interlinked issues of credit checking, identity verification, card not present credit card transactions and voter registration. Confirming current address in order to access credit is one aspect of this work. Guidance has already been issued to the service community through an information sheet available from the services, Families Federations, HIVE information offices and key websites including the service community area of the MOD website. This will be reviewed once the further work is completed.

Sponsored Students

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2006, Official Report, column 112W, on sponsored students, what plans he has to combine bursary and cadet databases from each service into a single system. [106647]

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Derek Twigg: There are no plans to combine each service's bursary and cadetship databases into a single system.


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 23 November 2006, Official Report, column 173W, on submarines, in what circumstances it has been envisaged that provision for EUFOR-designated submarines may need to be made; whether UK submarines could be used in such circumstances; and if he will make a statement. [107222]

Mr. Ingram: It has not been envisaged that submarines might be required for either EUFOR Althea in Bosnia or EUFOR Democratic Republic Congo.

The EU Requirements Catalogue, which sets out the capabilities needed for the EU to be able to carry out European Security and Defence Policy operations, recognises the possible need for submarines in some potential missions, for example in enforcing an embargo.

In our response to the EU Requirements Catalogue we have included submarines among the forces we might potentially be willing to make available to be used in EU led operations. Any request by the EU to use UK submarines would be judged on a case by case basis and in the context of current commitments.

Thermal Imaging

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Vipir thermal imaging sights have been acquired by his Department; what the cost of these was; and how many have been issued to each of the two combat theatres. [106710]

Mr. Ingram: Around 300 Vipir-2 thermal imaging sights have been acquired at a total cost of approximately £2.75 million. Over 200 of these sights have been issued to the two combat theatres (about 150 to Afghanistan and about 70 to Iraq); just over 10 units are in the repair loop with the remainder to be allocated in accordance with the requirements of commanders in the field.


Adverse Drug Reactions

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of inpatients had their hospital stay prolonged by adverse drug reactions in the last 12 months; what her latest estimate is of the proportion of hospital admissions due to adverse drug reactions; and if she will make a statement. [102681]

Andy Burnham: The Department does not centrally hold information about the proportion of inpatients who had their hospital stay prolonged by adverse drug reactions. During 2004-05, there were 68,389 finished
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consultant episodes (FCE) where adverse drug reactions were identified as a secondary diagnosis in hospitals in England.

A FCE is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. These figures do not represent the number of patients, as an individual may have more than one episode of care within the year. The secondary diagnosis shows diagnoses relevant to the episode of case but will not have been recorded as the main reason for admission. It is also not possible to say whether the drugs were prescribed and administered in hospital or in primary care.

Air Ambulances

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS trusts in England provide funding for air ambulances. [104628]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Air ambulances are funded by charities. Since 1 April 2002, the cost of clinical staff on air ambulances should be met by the national health service. It is for NHS trusts to decide whether they provide any additional funding to air ambulance charities.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the inclusion of direct referrals to audiology departments in the scope of the 18-week waiting time target would create a perverse incentive. [103355]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The 18 weeks target focuses on hospital consultant pathways. Over time, patients with hearing problems who do not need to see a hospital consultant have increasingly been referred direct to audiology services, enabling services led by ear, nose and throat consultants for example to focus on more complex cases. Direct access services should be quicker for patients because they cut out a stage of the potential pathway, and it would be perverse to reverse this. Nevertheless there are currently long waits for direct access audiology services and the action plan for publication in early 2007 will address this.

Bio Products Laboratory

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Bio Products Laboratory has spent on the purchase of laboratory facilities in the United States in the last five years; and what assessment she has made of the future of these facilities. [107700]

Caroline Flint: Bio Products Laboratory does not own laboratory facilities in the United States.

Care Homes

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many care homes there are for veterans; and how many have been closed in the last 10 years. [102663]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: I understand from the chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that the information is not collected in the format requested.

In January 2007, CSCI will publish information on the number of care homes and places in England and how they perform against national minimum standards and regulations in its State of Social Care report.

Clinical and Assessment Treatment Support Services

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the likely percentage of out-patients in (a) musculoskeletal (orthopaedics and rheumatology), (b) general surgery, (c) ear, nose and throat, (d) gynaecology and (e) urology who will be referred to clinical and assessment treatment support services in Lancashire and Cumbria in each of the next three years. [104681]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not held centrally. It is the responsibility of NHS North West which includes the former Cumbria and Lancashire strategic health authority area, to plan surgical capacity, and develop the requirement for the independent sector services across Cumbria and Lancashire.

The Department has carried out capacity mapping analyses of the proposed scheme.

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether sites have been identified in Lancashire and Cumbria for the location of clinical and assessment treatment support services. [104682]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Netcare in consultation with the Department, NHS North West and local primary care trusts has proposed the following sites for the clinical assessment and treatment service:

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