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17 Dec 2007 : Column 1192W—continued

Stansted Airport

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Government's policy is on the proposed development of Stansted airport. [171393]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The 2003 “Future of Air Transport” White Paper supported two new runways in the south east by 2030, the first at Stansted. The Government's current consultation “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” is consistent with that policy. The operator of Stansted airport expects to be in a position to submit a planning application around the turn of the year.

Sustainable Operations

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether her Department met the target in the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate document to reverse the then upward trend in carbon emissions by April 2007. [171979]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport reduced its actual energy consumption in 2006-07 by 2,240,528 kWh. However, after the application of the weather correction factor the Department is showing an increase of 1.87 per cent. in terms of carbon emissions.

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Taxis: Disabled

Jeremy Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she intends to issue guidance on the accessibility of taxis for disabled people. [175076]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government recognise the vital role that taxis play in the transportation of disabled people and we are committed to delivering more accessible taxis. We need to choose the best way in which to deliver an increased number of taxis that are accessible to people with all types of disability.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Government have powers to regulate in this area. There are, however, advantages and disadvantages associated with regulation and, in light of the Government's better regulation agenda, we are currently re-evaluating all the options, both regulatory and non-regulatory. We will announce our proposals shortly.

In the meantime, we are encouraging taxi licensing authorities to ensure that local policies take account of the needs of all taxi users. The Department issued best practice guidance to local authorities in 2006. Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act also now applies to both hackney cabs and private hire vehicles and it gives disabled people a “right of access” to goods, services and facilities.

Taxi drivers now have to take reasonable steps to ensure that disabled people are able to use their vehicles, but they do not have to modify the vehicle itself. The Disability Rights Commission (now superseded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission) issued guidance in 2007 on what may be considered reasonable in relation to disabled people and access to taxis.

Taxis: Exhaust Emissions

Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the durability in service of emission control systems retro-fitted to London licensed Hackney Carriages. [174893]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Energy Saving Trust (EST) carried out durability trials on behalf of the Department for Transport in 2005 and 2006 for taxis retro-fitted with emissions abatement systems. The taxis were subject to a 10,000 mile durability trial followed by a final emissions test. The results of the trial will be made available in the House of Commons Library shortly.

Currently companies can apply to EST to carry out emissions testing on their behalf which are then passed to the Public Carriage Office for approval of the systems. To date 17 such durability trials have taken place.

Trains: Standards

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 3 December 2007, Official Report, column 856W, on trains: standards, what opportunities her Department has given passengers on Desiro Class 450 trains to submit their views on the level of comfort afforded by such rolling stock. [172822]

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Mr. Tom Harris: Stagecoach South Western has carried out an ergonomic study in response to questions and feedback from a number of customers who remain discontent with the comfort of the new Class 450 rolling stock. The findings of this report have been independently reviewed by Passenger Focus, the passenger representation body and have been made public by SSWT on their website.

Transport for London

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the gross (a) assets and (b) liabilities of Transport for London are; and what they were before Metronet entered into administration. [171787]

Ms Rosie Winterton: TfL's audited accounts, including its balance sheet, can be found on the TfL website. TfL provide quarterly financial and operational updates, which can also be found on their website.

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what Transport for London's liabilities net of assets are; what they are expected to be in each year to 2015; and how much of the liability in each year is expected to arise from the administration of Metronet. [171970]

Ms Rosie Winterton: TfL's audited accounts, including its balance sheet, can be found on the TfL website. TfL provide quarterly financial and operational updates, which can also be found on their website.

Future estimates of net liabilities or liabilities associated with Metronet are currently unknown.


Ambulance Services: Lancashire

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the (a) maximum, (b) minimum and (c) average response time by ambulance crews to emergency call-outs in (i) Ribble Valley constituency and (ii) Lancashire was in each of the last 60 months; [175084]

(2) what his Department’s plans are for the future (a) numbers and (b) mix of (i) solo responder (ii) double crew and (iii) other ambulance crews in the North West Strategic Health Authority area; [175085]

(3) how many ambulance crews have been operated by ambulance trusts within the North West Strategic Health Authority area in each of the last 10 years; [175086]

(4) what the cost was of providing (a) solo responder, (b) double crew and (c) other ambulance services in each of the ambulance trusts within the North West Strategic Health Authority area in each of the last 10 years; [175087]

(5) how many (a) solo responder, (b) double crew and (c) other ambulance services have been operated by ambulance trusts within the North West Strategic Health Authority area in each of the last 10 years. [175088]

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Mr. Bradshaw: The information is not available in the format requested.

The ambulance response-time data that are collected, and which include the number of emergency calls received by ambulance trusts across England and their performance against the targets set, are published annually. The latest statistical bulletin, “Ambulance Services, England, 2006-07” was published in June 2007, a copy is available in the Library and includes data for the North West Ambulance Service Trust. The data are not collected or reported on below ambulance trust level.

Changing the way we measure response times to emergency calls will save lives. Implementing call connect, where the clock start time is taken from the moment an emergency call is connected to the local ambulance control room, will result in shorter waits for 999 calls to be answered and ambulances dispatched more quickly. The aim is to save lives and improve patient experience as well as ensuring that resources are being used efficiently combined with the necessary investment in technology. One key change is around vehicle deployment, with ambulance trusts implementing a front-loaded model. This is where ambulance trusts may send a single responder rather than double-crewed ambulance to some calls, based on the needs of the patient. This will free up resources for other calls and help to optimise performance.

Fast response vehicles can often get to the scene faster than traditional ambulances. For heart attack patients where every minute counts, this can mean the difference between life and death.

Ambulance Services: Shropshire

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from Mr. Anthony Marsh of Shropshire Ambulance Trust on the future of the Shrewsbury Ambulance Control Centre. [165843]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has not received any representations from Mr. Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, on the future of the Shrewsbury Ambulance Control Centre.

Autism: Children

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of (a) children under 16, (b) young people aged 16 to 24 and (c) people over 24 with autism. [173545]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: According to the Office for National Statistics Publication, ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in Great Britain, 2004’ the percentage of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder aged between five and 10 years old in 2004 in Great Britain was 1 per cent., and for 11 to 16-year-olds was 0.8 per cent. A copy of this is available in the Library.

Corresponding information for people over 16 years old is not available.

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Breast and Ovarian Cancer: Screening

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of regional variations in waiting periods for screening for (a) breast cancer and (b) ovarian cancer. [171701]

Ann Keen: There is no screening programme for ovarian cancer. For variations in breast screening waiting periods I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 22 May 2007, Official Report, column 1229W.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital trusts (a) met and (b) did not meet the screening targets for (i) breast cancer and (ii) ovarian cancer in the latest period for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of the factors impeding those trusts which did not meet the target. [171702]

Ann Keen: Information has been placed in the Library, which lists coverage rates for all local breast screening services in England. Coverage is the proportion of women resident and eligible with a recorded screening result at least once in the previous three years. The national aspirational standard for breast screening coverage is 75 per cent.

There are many factors that can affect coverage. These include population mobility in London and other large inner city areas, deprivation, affluence (private health care) and ethnicity. It is for strategic health authorities working in partnership with their primary care trusts, local breast screening services and stakeholders to provide appropriate breast screening services for their local populations.

There is no national screening programme for ovarian cancer.

Brent Teaching Primary Care Trust: Finance

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the financial position of Brent teaching primary care trust. [169301]

Mr. Bradshaw: At the end of quarter two of 2007-08, Brent teaching primary care trust is forecasting a financial year-end deficit of £4 million.

Broadmoor Hospital: Death

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths in custody have occurred at Broadmoor hospital in each year since 1997. [170344]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not held centrally. However, to improve consistency in reporting incidents by the high secure hospitals, a new national reporting policy which includes information on assaults was introduced in January 2007, and this information is reviewed regularly by a dedicated performance manager for each hospital.

Cancer: Finance

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will use the £370 million planned expenditure under the NHS Cancer Reform Strategy to provide additional funding to those primary care trusts where incidences of cancer are highest. [171908]

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Ann Keen: The revenue component of the £370 million will be included in primary care trust allocations. The allocation formula takes account of the variation in need for hospital services across the country.

The capital funding for improvements to cancer services is included within the total capital funding available to the national health service. The detail of how this investment will be delivered will be agreed as part of the NHS capital planning process.

Care Homes: Dementia

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent assessment he has made of the level of (a) training available and (b) skills required of care home staff dealing with people with dementia; [172308]

(2) if he will make it mandatory for care home staff to receive training in dementia care. [172309]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The National Dementia Strategy will focus on three key themes: improving awareness and understanding, early diagnosis and intervention and improving the quality of care.

The third theme, improving the quality of care, will ensure that people with dementia receive good quality care from diagnosis to end of life, whether that care is provided in the community, in general hospitals or in care homes. Under this theme, training issues will be addressed and the Department will work with the royal colleges and professional bodies to ensure there is appropriate training on dementia in undergraduate and postgraduate training in both health and social care courses.

National occupational standards set out the skills, knowledge and values required by social care workers and are used to benchmark national vocational qualifications. Joint health and social care national occupational standards contain specific standards on providing individualised care, appropriate communication, activities, medication management, supporting family and other carers and gaining specialist support from other services, this includes people with dementia. The standards are set out on the Skills for Care and Skills for Health websites.

It is the responsibility of social care service providers to ensure that their care home staff have the relevant National Vocation Qualifications (NVQs) and are adequately trained to carry out the duties they are employed to do. The knowledge set for NVQs is job specific and care home workers who are working with dementia on a regular basis should be taught the dementia knowledge set as part of their dementia training.

Care Homes: Inspections

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to introduce routine inspections of care homes by pharmacists, with particular reference to levels of sedation of elderly patients; and if he will make a statement. [173200]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 11 December 2007]: It is the policy of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) to take a proportionate approach to inspection. CSCI’s professional guidance for inspectors, ‘Referring medication issues to a CSCI pharmacist inspector’, sets out a targeted referral pathway whereby CSCI's generic inspectors will consult with regionally-based lead pharmacist inspectors wherever there is a concern about inappropriate handling of medication.

In those cases where there would appear to be misuse of medication for sedation, an inspector would consult with the regional pharmacist inspection teams. Where there are serious concerns, a targeted inspection of a service could then be carried out by a pharmacist inspector. Pharmacist inspectors are also made available to generic inspectors to give advice and guidance on medication issues and are copied into regulation 37 (of the Care Homes Regulations 2001) cases, which relate to serious medication issues.

CSCI is aware of the dangers around misuse of medication and pharmacist inspectors routinely inspect controlled drugs in all of the services they visit. Pharmacist inspectors refer relevant information about controlled drugs to accountable officers in primary care trusts, who are part of the local intelligence networks set up following the Government's response to the Shipman inquiry. CSCI is also piloting a project in its south-west region for random inspections of services that stated on their annual quality assurance assessments that they have looked after schedule 2 controlled drugs in the past 12 months.

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