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31 Jan 2007 : Column 349W—continued


Bus Services: Comber

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how old the Translink vehicles operating the number 11 service to Comber are. [117730]

David Cairns: The current average age of buses operating on the number 11 service to Comber is 9.9 years. This compares with an overall average Ulsterbus fleet age of 10.9 years.

Committees: Ministerial Attendance

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what occasions (a) he and (b) departmental Ministers have been requested to appear before Committees of (i) devolved institutions and (ii) the European Parliament since 2004; on what topic in each case; how many and what proportion of such requests were accepted; and if he will make a statement. [111574]

Mr. Hain: Neither I, as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, nor my Ministers have been requested to appear before any Committees of the devolved institutions or the European Parliament since 2004.

Departmental Fixed Assets

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which fixed assets his Department sold for more than £10,000 in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; and what the (i) sale value, (ii) purchaser and (iii) date of sale was of each asset. [110798]


31 Jan 2007 : Column 350W

Mr. Hain: The information requested is as follows:

Asset type Sale value (i)

2004-05

14 houses

1,874,500

2005-06

13 houses

3,052,500

2005-06

Land

56,000


The sale of NIO houses and this land sale were handled by commercial estate agents and the sales were to private individuals. Details of NIO houses, including their sales, are not published by the Department, for security reasons.

Departmental Hospitality

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his Department’s expenditure was on hospitality and entertainment in (a) 1996-97 and (b) 2005-06. [114024]

Mr. Hain: The amount spent on hospitality and entertainment in 1996-97 and 2005-06 was as follows:

Amount (£)

1996-97

269,613

2005-06

299,634


Expenditure incurred on hospitality by the Northern Ireland Office includes accommodation and hospitality for members of the royal family, visiting dignitaries and Heads of State, and also hospitality for the representatives of business, voluntary and community sectors in Northern Ireland attending the annual garden party at Hillsborough Castle.

Housing Executive Houses

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Housing Executive houses in Northern Ireland are unoccupied; and how many of those houses are located in (a) West Belfast, (b) South Belfast, (c) North Belfast and (d) East Belfast. [111667]

Mr. Hanson: There are currently 3,779 Housing Executive properties unoccupied and of those the distribution for Belfast showing the reason for not being occupied are as follows:


31 Jan 2007 : Column 351W
Belfast
Awaiting imminent relet Difficult to let Undergoing major repairs imp’s/decanting Pending sale or demolition Total

(a) West

(district 1)

1

8

37

0

46

(district 3)

0

0

16

2

18

(district 5)

0

24

81

32

137

Total

1

32

134

34

201

(b) South

(district 7)

1

1

49

2

53

(c) North

(district 4)

2

88

122

135

347

(district 6)

12

49

33

128

222

Total

14

137

155

263

569

(d) East

(district 2)

0

0

65

36

101


The districts in brackets relate to the Housing Executive Offices that cover each of the four areas of Belfast referred to in the question.

Medical Academics

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the ratio is of medically qualified academics to medical students in Queen’s University Belfast Medical School. [112430]

Paul Goggins: The ratio of clinical joint appointments to medical students at Queen’s University Belfast is 1:17.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many medical academics taught medical students in the Province in the most recent year for which figures are available. [112432]

Paul Goggins: At the end of the last academic year, 31 July 2006, there were 65 clinical joint appointments providing teaching to medical students.

Mental Health

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many adolescents were in-patients in adult mental health wards in each health board area in each of the last five years. [111064]

Paul Goggins: The number of adolescents who were admitted to adult mental health wards in each health board in each of the last five years is detailed in the following table.

HSS Board
EHSSB NHSSB SHSSB WHSSB NI total

2002

31

26

24

37

118

2003

25

18

19

38

100

2004

31

20

19

38

108

2005

19

15

14

26

74

2006

16

9

8

31

64

Notes:
1. Figures are based on calendar years.
2. Adolescents have been classed as those aged 14 to 17 inclusive.
Source:
HSS Boards

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many adolescent mental health beds are available in each health board area. [111066]

Paul Goggins: Mental health in-patient services for adolescents are provided in only one trust in Northern Ireland, that being South and East Belfast HSS trust.


31 Jan 2007 : Column 352W

There are insufficient beds at present to meet demand. Only five beds are currently open in the interim inpatient unit at Knockbracken (South and East Belfast HSS trust) due to staffing difficulties, although the unit has capacity for eight beds with the potential to eventually move to 12 beds. The situation is kept under active review with the aim of increasing the number of beds as soon as possible.

There are plans to build a new 18-bed mental health adolescent in-patient unit to replace the existing inpatient facilities at Knockbracken. This is due to be completed in 2008-09. This unit will help alleviate the current problem of insufficient provision of in-patient beds for this service.

Mental Illness: Employment

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures he is taking to promote the employment within (a) his Department and (b) public sector bodies for whom he has responsibility of people with mental illnesses in line with the advice and codes of practice produced by the Disability Rights Commission. [117086]

Mr. Hain: In Northern Ireland, Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 already requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity towards people with a disability. These duties ensure that equality issues, including disability, are integral to the whole range of public policy decision making. Public authorities such as the Northern Ireland Office 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 Northern Ireland Office is fully committed to the fulfilment of the section 75 obligations on the promotion of equality of opportunity towards people with a disability.

To carry out the disability duties the Northern Ireland Office will:

Mid-Ulster Hospital

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many beds are expected to be available at the new-build at Mid-Ulster hospital; and whether a consultation exercise will be undertaken (a) before and (b) after the building has been designed. [111670]


31 Jan 2007 : Column 353W

Paul Goggins: The Step I outline business case for the Northern Health and Social Services Board acute and local hospitals proposed that the total number of beds in the redeveloped Mid-Ulster hospital would be 45, made up of 29 in-patient beds and 16 day case beds.

As part of the exemplar design process and the subsequent post project evaluation process, formal consultation will be provided for with all key stakeholders.


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