|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effect on firefighters' safety of the shortfall in planned real-fire training reported by the Northern Ireland Audit Commission. 
Paul Goggins: Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service firefighters are rigorously trained in accordance with UK Fire Service standards at Boucher Crescent Training Centre, Northland Fire Station in Londonderry and Westland Fire Station in Belfast, where NIFRS continues to conduct real fire and breathing apparatus training. In addition, all firefighters are given on-going training throughout their careers. The service is implementing the national integrated personal development system (IPDS) which is a competency-based training programme designed to provide firefighters with the skills required for specific roles.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has also mitigated the shortfall in training reported by the NI Audit Office by implementing other training methods such as simulation training and practical training at local fire station level. NIFRS confidence in the success of these measures is reflected in the year-on-year reduction in firefighter injuries.
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils left (a) Catholic managed and (b) other managed schools with (i) less than five GCSEs and (ii) no qualifications in each of the last 10 years. 
|Catholic managed||Other managed|
|Less than 5 GCSEs A*-G||No formal qualifications||Less than 5 GCSEs A*-G||No formal qualifications|
|(1) There was no school leavers survey in 2002-03 because of problems in the software of the schools Management Information System.|
(2) Qualifications data are missing for 3 per cent. of the school leavers in 1995-96. The apparent dip in the figures between 1994-95 and 1996-97 needs to be seen in this context.
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that private organisations contracted to work (a) in his Department and (b) for non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies for which his Department is responsible are aware of their duties under gender equality legislation when exercising public functions on behalf of public bodies; 
(4) what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies for which he is responsible are taking steps to meet the requirements of the forthcoming duty on public bodies (i) to end unlawful discrimination and harassment and (ii) to promote equality between women and men. 
Mr. Hain: In Northern Ireland section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and regard to the desirability of promoting good relations. These duties ensure that equality issues, including gender, are integral to the whole range of public policy decision making. Public authorities, such as the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), are required to submit Equality Schemes to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and to carry out impact assessments of their policies in certain circumstances.
The NIO is fully committed to the fulfilment of the section 75 obligations on the promotion of equality of opportunity and good relations. The NIO Equality Scheme, approved by the Northern Ireland Equality Commission in November 2001, sets out how the Department proposed to fulfil those duties with regard to all of its policies and functions. In 2006 the NIO conducted a comprehensive review of the operation of the scheme during its first five years and this report was submitted to the Equality Commission in July 2006.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what investigation the Eastern Health and Social Services Board conducted into the conduct of dentist George Bruce Kelso. 
1. The Central Services Agency (CSA) was asked by the Board to profile Mr. Kelsos pattern of treatment claims. This included calling in and checking patient records.
2. The Referral Dental Service, based in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, was asked to undertake post treatment examinations on a large number of patients for which Mr. Kelso had submitted claims for health service dental treatment.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been invested by his Department and its associated public bodies in order to achieve Gershon efficiency savings; whether these costs have been included in reporting headline efficiency savings; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hain: Sir Peter Gershons independent report into public sector efficiency did not require that efficiencies be recorded net of upfront investment costs and the Northern Ireland Office has followed this advice. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of health service staff in Northern Ireland have been (a) notified of their pay band under Agenda for Change and (b) assimilated into the new pay structures. 
At the assimilation stage Health and Personal Social Services payroll departments notify staff of their Agenda for Change pay bands and when
they can expect to receive payment. At December 2006, (a) 48.7 per cent. of health staff affected by Agenda for Change, and (b) 13.3 per cent. of social services staff, have been notified and assimilated to the new Agenda for Change rates of pay.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) has taken to address concerns expressed by trade unions on the implications of Agenda for Change for health service staff in Northern Ireland; and if the DHSSPS will meet unions to discuss these concerns. 
Paul Goggins: The implementation of the Agenda for Change agreement is being taken forward in partnership with Health and Personal Social Services (HPSS) employers and recognised trade unions. My Departments officials and representatives from HPSS employers meet on a monthly basis with regional officers from the main health trade unions. I would expect any concerns about the implication of Agenda for Change to be brought to that forum.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision has been made to consult on changes to the (a) nursing and (b) midwifery functions at (i) the Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety and (ii) the Health and Social Services Authority level under the review of public administration. 
Paul Goggins: The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, wrote to the trade unions and to the Health and Personal Social Services on 14 November 2006 setting out proposals on how the nursing and midwifery functions at the Department and the Health and Social Care Authority could be secured as part of the implementation of the review of public administration.
Paul Goggins: While home care may be available from a variety of sources, the Department holds information only on those staff employed within the Northern Ireland health and social services. The number of home care staff employed by trusts in the western health and social services board area is detailed in the following table.
|Home care staff employed within the NI HPSS by trusts in the Western health and social services board area as at 31 December 2006|
|Home carer/home care assistant||Home help|
1. Altnagelvin trust, as an acute trust, do not employ home helps.
2. Sperrin Lakeland trust stated that as part of the Home Care Reform Programme a number of home care assistants have been signed up and are awaiting deployment.
3. Figures include staff employed on an as and when required basis.
Western Health and Social Services Board Area Trusts
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions patients in the Western Health and Social Services Board area have been detained in hospital because no home carers were available in each of the last 12 months. 
Paul Goggins: The number of occasions patients in the Western Health and Social Services Board area have been detained in hospital because no home carers were available in each of the last 12 months is not available. However, the number of patients who have had their discharge delayed due to no place or package being available and who were recorded as being resident in the Western Board area in each of the last 12 months are detailed in the following table.
|Month||Number of delayed discharges due to no available place or package|
|(1)Information is currently provisional and subject to change. Notes: 1. Figures are presented in respect of the position at the last day of each month 2. Please note that cell sizes that have a value of less than 5 have been masked in order to help protect confidentiality. Source: Departmental Return, DDL.|
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people had been waiting more than six months for an NHS operation in Northern Ireland at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Paul Goggins: Official waiting lists are produced on a quarterly basis. Information on the number of patients waiting more than six months for in-patient treatment in Northern Ireland hospitals is provided in the following table for the quarters ending December 2005, March 2006, June 2006 and September 2006.
|Quarter ending||Number of patients waiting six months and over|
Departmental Information return CH1
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|