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19 Jan 2007 : Column 1418W—continued

NHS Finance

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what criteria her Department used to set the rate of interest charged to trusts on money used to fund deficits; and if she will make a statement; [116882]

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(2) what rate of interest is to be used by NHS Bank in charging interest on money used by trusts to fund deficits; and if she will make a statement; [116883]

(3) when the NHS Bank is planned to be operational and charging interest on money lent to trusts to fund deficits; and if she will make a statement. [116884]

Andy Burnham: Loans are not being made to national health service trusts by NHS Bank. From 2006-07, cash support to NHS trusts will be provided by interest bearing loans and deposits issued by the Department.

All long-term loans will attract interest at a rate equivalent to the national loans fund rate at the date the loan is advanced. The interest rate is determined by reference to the prevailing rate at the date the loan is drawn, as notified on the Public Works Loan Board website.

Loans requested by NHS trusts in 2006-07 are currently undergoing a review process and the interest rate cannot be determined prior to approval and formal letting of the loan.

Out-patient Treatment

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effect on training of NHS doctors and nurses of directing out-patient work towards independent treatment centres. [114808]

Ms Rosie Winterton: To date, no out-patients have been referred to independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs). In the future there will be the opportunity for out-patients requiring specific treatments to be referred to ISTCs. Where this is the case, they will be required through contracting arrangements to provide training for national health service doctors and nurses.

Prescription Charging

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether her Department plans to undertake a disability impact assessment as part of its current review of prescription charging policy; [114431]

(2) whether disabled people will be involved in the review of prescription charging policy; [114432]

(3) what steps she is taking to ensure that policy on prescription charges complies with the disability equality duty. [114433]

Caroline Flint: As part of our review of prescription charges, we shall be conducting an equality impact assessment, which includes disability equality as required by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. Our arrangements for meeting our duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, and other equality legislation, are set out in our single equality scheme which was published on 4 December 2006.

We would welcome comments from any organisations or individuals who wish to do so on possible options for changing the current prescription charge arrangements that are cost-neutral for the national health service.

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Residential Care: Nutrition

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations she has received on the potential conflict of interest in the Food Standards Agency’s report Food Served to Older People in Residential Care which recommends the nutritional assessment package, Saffron Nutrition, and which was compiled by an employee of the company which produces the package; and if she will make a statement. [116262]

Caroline Flint: We have received no representations on any potential conflict of interest.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published generic guidance, “FSA Nutrient and Food Based Guidelines for UK Institutions”, and specific guidance for food served to older people in residential care. Neither guidance recommends the use of a specific nutritional assessment package.

The FSA advice to those providing food to older people in residential care notes that it is important that nutritional analysis uses appropriate software with up-to-date information. A freelance dietician commissioned to develop example menus for care homes to illustrate how the guidance can be met in practice utilised the Saffron software package. A range of software packages are available for dieticians to use and will provide an accurate analysis when used correctly.

Sexual Health

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to ensure that recommended standards for sexual health services are being implemented by primary care trusts. [115823]

Caroline Flint: The recommended standards are markers of good practice which are part of a range of guidance that the Department has provided to primary care trusts (PCTs) to support implementation of the strategy for sexual health and HIV. Copies of the standards were sent to each PCT in 2005. It is for PCTs to decide how to use the Department's guidance in determining what level of services they provide in order to meet the needs of their local population. The Department is planning to issue an updated sexual health commissioning toolkit this year which will cross refer and reference existing guidance including these standards.

Social Services: Ashford

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was allocated by central Government to local government for social services in Ashford local authority area in the most recent year for which figures are available. [117009]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The provision of social services in the Ashford area is the responsibility of Kent county council.

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Funding for local authorities’ social service responsibilities are paid through formula grant (revenue support grant and national non-domestic rates) and specific grant.

Formula grant is unhypothecated provision and decisions on the use of that grant are for local authorities to make, bearing in mind their statutory responsibilities and the wishes of their electorate.

Under the provisional local government finance settlement 2007-08, Kent county council receives a formula grant of £228.685 million which is an increase of 2.7 per cent. on a like for like basis.

In addition, Kent will receive the following specific grants for adult social care amounting to £42.591 million:

£ million

Access and systems capacity


Child and adolescent mental health services


Carers grants


Commission for social care inspection


Delayed discharge


HR development strategy


Improving management information


Mental health grant


National training strategy


Preserved rights


Preventative technology grant


Mental Capacity Act and the independent mental capacity advocate


Home Department

Animal Experiments

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) action he has taken following and (b) response he has made to the recommendation of the primate subcommittee of the Animal Procedures Committee that his approval for Centre 5 to supply primates for use in procedures under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 should not be renewed. [104827]

Joan Ryan: The advice recorded in the Animal Procedures Committee Annual Report for 2005 in respect of Centre five was followed by further advice from the sub-committee on 6 January 2006 that the centre should be accepted as a source of primates subject to the expectation that the Home Office would use its best endeavours to take forward improvements the sub-committee had identified, particularly with respect to the duration and conditions of the conditioning period; that acceptance should be for a period of 12 months only, at which time it should be reviewed along with other centres in South Asia; that future approval of the centre should be conditional on the provision of foraging materials and solid shelves; and that the time animals spend in conditioning cages should be substantially reduced.

This further advice will be recorded in the Committee’s annual report for 2006.

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Both pieces of advice were accepted and acted upon by the Home Office, the centre being informed that it would be removed from the approved list in May 2005 and that it could re-apply for approved status in a further letter in January 2006.

DNA Database

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many profiles held on the DNA database relate to people under the age of 18 who have been (a) arrested but had no further action taken against them, (b) charged but later acquitted, (c) charged, where such charges were subsequently dropped, and (d) given a reprimand or final warning; and if he will make a statement. [102071]

Joan Ryan: Data on the arrest histories of persons with a profile on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) is not held on the NDNAD, but is held on the Police National Computer (PNC). However, the data requested are not currently available routinely from the PNC.

The data provided in the reply given by my hon. Friend, the Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham) the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department on 31 January 2006, Official Report, column 367W, was obtained from data extracted from the PNC for monitoring and research purposes. The PNC data extract was provided to the ACPO DNA and Fingerprint Retention Project Team (funded by the Home Office Forensic Science and Pathology Unit) and the NDNAD Data Quality and Integrity Team in November 2005.

The data requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by cross-searching approximately 3 million records retained for such persons on the PNC.

The Home Office, ACPO and PITO are holding discussions on the possibility of being able to provide such information from the NDNAD and PNC.

Overseas Doctors

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how non-EU trainee doctors may complete NHS training in the UK under the new immigration rules concerning work permits. [102359]

Joan Ryan: The Immigration Rules for post graduate doctors and dentists changed on 3 April 2006. Those that had sufficient leave remaining under the old rules may complete their training programme.

Those who have graduated from a UK medical school may undertake a Foundation Programme without applying for a work permit under the new rules.

Those who qualified overseas and who wish to come to the UK to undertake post graduate training will need to qualify under the Medical Training Initiatives category of the Training and Work Experience Scheme, the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or as a work permit holder

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Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) passport applications and (b) passports were lost in the post in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [113033]

Joan Ryan: The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) do not keep records of instances where customers advise that an application has apparently gone missing in the post en route to a passport office.

Similarly IPS do not have records on the numbers of passports accompanying passport applications lost in the post en route to a passport office.

The numbers of passports lost whilst on delivery from IPS for the last five years are as follows;









(1) 601





(1) February to January 2005
(2) February to January 2006
(3) February 2006 to October 2006

Prior to 2004 passports were delivered by Royal Mail but February 2004 saw the introduction of secure delivery, with the delivery of passports undertaken by Secure Mail Services.


Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total Government grant to the Metropolitan police was for (a) 1996-97 and (b) 1997-98. [114266]

Mr. McNulty: Total Government grant for the Metropolitan police for the years requested is set out as follows:

Total Government grant( 1)
£ million





(1) General grant and capital provision.

International Development


Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he or Ministers from his Department last visited Bangladesh; and what steps his Department is taking to support the re-establishment of favourable conditions for free and fair elections in Bangladesh. [116393]

Mr. Thomas: The Secretary of State for International Development visited Bangladesh in December 2005.

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DFID is working closely with the British High Commission in Dhaka to support the re-establishment of favourable conditions for free and fair elections.

Our common assessment, shared with much of the international community, that preparations for the Bangladesh election planned for 22 January lacked credibility, and that the election would have been boycotted by the main opposition parties, led to DFID’s decision to suspend plans to support civil society monitoring and international observation of this election.

On 11 January the President proclaimed a State of Emergency, postponed the elections and resigned as Chief Adviser to the Caretaker Government. A new Chief Adviser was appointed on 13 January.

With the British High Commissioner, DFID is seeking meetings with the Chief Adviser and other Advisers of the new Caretaker Government to offer further technical and financial support for actions that will ensure a free and fair election. If this is accepted, we will prioritise this in the months ahead. In addition, our ongoing support for a programme to monitor and prevent political violence in Bangladesh will continue during the state of emergency.

When the date of a new election, based on credible preparations that ensure that the election will be free and fair and contested by all major parties, is announced, we expect to resume support for civil society election monitoring and international observation. If necessary, we will revise the planned activities to fit the new political environment.

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