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21 Jan 2008 : Column 1678W—continued

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make a statement on the provision of acupuncture in prisons. [180343]

Maria Eagle: The provision of alternative or complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, in prisons in England is a matter for the primary care trust responsible for commissioning health services at the establishment concerned.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average cost was of providing gyms in prisons in the latest period for which figures are available. [180344]

Mr. Hanson: Since 1997 new gymnasium facilities have been provided at HMP Lancaster Farms, HMP New Hall and HMP Shrewsbury. The average cost of providing these gyms in the public sector is in the region of £2.1 million. Most provision of new gymnasium facilities since 1997 have been provided by the private sector in newly constructed prisons, for which costs are not readily available.

Prisons: Drugs

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases of people smuggling drugs into prisons were detected in each of the last five years; and how many perpetrators in such were (a) prison staff, (b) inmates’ visitors and (c) other people, broken down by category. [178358]

Mr. Hanson: The total number of recorded incidents of drugs/drug equipment being detected by prison staff being smuggled into prisons over the last five financial years are shown in table 1.

Table 1
Total recorded incidents











These figures include reported incidents of attempts by visitors and prisoners to bring drugs onto the premises. They also include other methods such as throwing drugs over the wall or use of the post.

(a) Staff who are caught smuggling drugs are reported to the local police but information about the cases is not collated centrally.

(b) A comprehensive framework is in place for dealing with visitors who seek to smuggle drugs through visits. The number of visitors suspected of involvement in drug smuggling and the number of recorded incidents involving visitors being detected with drugs are shown in table 2.

Table 2
Visitors suspected of smuggling drugs Visitor drug incidents( 1,2)
















(1) May include some cases where a visitor was in possession of drugs for their own personal use rather than intending to smuggle drugs into prison.
(2) Incidents may involve more than one visitor

(c) Other recorded incidents of people bringing drugs/drug equipment into prison are split between prisoners, people throwing drugs into the prison
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perimeters and other methods. Table 3 shows the recorded incidents of drugs being detected in each of these categories.

Table 3
Entry method
Prisoners Thrown in Others (typically by post)





















These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

The data are not subject to audit.

Prisons: Overcrowding

Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what policies are in place to reduce overcrowding in prisons. [180123]

Mr. Straw: On 5 December in their response to Lord Carter of Coles’ review of prisons the Government announced an additional 10,500 prison places. This is on top of the existing 9,500 capacity programme. Our aim is to achieve capacity of 96,000 places by 2014.

We have also established a working group chaired by Lord Justice Gage which will look at Lord Carter’s proposal for a Sentencing Commission in England and Wales. Experience from other jurisdictions suggests that such an approach can mean the drivers behind the prison population can be addressed and managed in a transparent, consistent and predictable manner. The Working Group is expected to report to the Lord Chief Justice and to the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor by the summer of 2008.

Tasker Review: Freedom of Information

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have been submitted to his Department relating to the (a) Tasker Inquiry and (b) Stuart investigations; and if he will make a statement. [180063]

Maria Eagle: The National Offender Management Service has received, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, four requests relating to the Tasker Inquiry and three requests relating to the Stuart investigations.

Trade Unions

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what meetings he has had with trade unions officials since 1 July 2007; on what dates; and with which trades unions. [179858]

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Mr. Straw: Since I became the Secretary of State for Justice in late June 2007, I have met with trade union representatives on nine occasions regarding departmental business.

These have been with representatives from the Prison Officers Association, the Prison Governors Association, the Prison Service Joint Industrial Council, the Transport and General Workers' Union, Amicus, GMB, Unison and the Trade Union Congress.

If the hon. Member wishes to know about my time as Leader of the Commons he should let me know, please.

Young Offenders: Body Searches

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions each young offender institution has videoed the (a) strip searching and (b) restraint of children. [180516]

Mr. Hanson: The Prison Service is unable to respond to this question within the stipulated time-frame as these statistics are not collated centrally. In order to gain accurate figures, it will be necessary to consult with those young offender institutions which hold 15 to 17-year-old prisoners. This work is now under way and I will write when completed.

Young Offenders: North East Region

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many children under 16 who had previously been convicted of drug-related offences in (a) the North East, (b) Teesside and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency were prosecuted for drug dealing in each of the last 10 years. [179616]

Mr. Hanson: The information is not available. The published statistics on the criminal histories of offenders do not include figures at the requested level of detail.

The most recent available figures for the criminal history of offenders, which include details for juvenile offenders (Table 6.5) and for offenders convicted of drug offences (Table 6.3), are given in "Sentencing Statistics 2005" which is available in the House of Commons Library and can be found online at:

Young Offenders: Teesside

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what facilities in Teesside are available to young people who have been convicted of drug offences to help prevent them from re-offending; and if he will make a statement. [179613]

Mr. Hanson: Youth offending teams (YOTs) currently screen and assess all young offenders, including those convicted of drug offences, on their needs in relation to substance misuse and ensure they access the substance misuse services they need.

For 2006-07 Teesside YOTs carried out 1155 screenings of those convicted of drug offences, with 230 assessments and referred over 200 young offenders to substance misuse interventions. In this area the Local Children
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and Young Peoples Partnerships are required to provide a range of substance misuse treatment services including psychosocial interventions, work with the families and pharmacological interventions.

Eligible young offenders in Teesside can also access Resettlement and Aftercare Provision (RAP) attached
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to YOTs which engages young people with substance misuse problems. The core RAP provision provides up to 25 hours of planned support and activities each week including ongoing access to substance misuse and mental health treatment, support to access accommodation, education, training and employment as well as peer and family support work.

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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 21 January 2008


Ambulance Services: South Lakeland

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many ambulances have broken down or required repair while on service in South Lakeland in each of the last five years. [180582]

Mr. Bradshaw: This information is not held centrally. The Department has not issued guidance on the operational life of ambulances, as it is a local issue for each trust based on the supplier they decide on.

Barnet Hospital: Psychiatry

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on the new building for psychiatric services provision at Barnet hospital; and if he will make a statement. [178167]

Mr. Bradshaw: The provision of psychiatric services in Barnet is a matter for the local national health service.

However, we have been informed that the Barnet psychiatric unit is projected to be completed in February 2008, with services being provided from the site by April 2008.

Breast Cancer

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the patient experience survey for breast cancer will seek information on the experience of patients with metastatic breast cancer. [177322]

Ann Keen: The patient experience survey will cover patients with all cancers, including metastatic breast cancer. An expert group will be set up in the first half of 2008 to design the technical specifications of the National Health Service Cancer Patient Experience Survey programme and a national contract will then be let for the collection, management and analysis of cancer patient experience surveys in 2008-09 with first results expected in 2009-10.

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to improve the care and experience of patients with metastatic breast cancer. [177323]

Ann Keen: The Cancer Reform Strategy sets out a series of actions to improve the care and experience of all cancer patients, including those with secondary breast cancer.

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Whether patients are living with or beyond cancer, high quality information and support will be available, tailored to the patient’s personal needs. Action will be taken to inform and empower patients so that they can play as active a role in decisions about their treatment as they wish. Priority will be given to ensuring there is adequate provision of clinical nurse specialists, and effective systems will be in place so that care is seamless from a patient’s perspective. There should be adequate provision of psychological support for patients, their families and carers, and a new national cancer survivorship initiative will be established to improve the ongoing support available to people who have been treated for a cancer. This initiative will include patients who are living with progressive disease and may be receiving treatment but are not in the terminal phase of illness.

In addition, to improve the care and experience of all cancer patients, we need to collect good quality information on cancer services and outcomes, which can be analysed and published in such a way that is useful to patients, commissioners, service providers and other interested parties. To co-ordinate this, a national cancer intelligence network (NCIN) will be developed, building, maintaining and quality assuring a new national repository of cancer data. One of the early products expected from the NCIN will be an evaluation of services for secondary cancer patients in specific tumour areas, including breast cancer.

Cardiovascular System: Health Services

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to ensure that national guidance on cardiovascular disease risk assessment and management, with particular reference to the Joint British Societies guidelines (JBS2) on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice, is implemented at a primary care level. [177506]

Ann Keen: The Joint British Societies Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice have not been adopted by the Department of Health as national policy. This was made clear in a letter from Professor Roger Boyle, the National Clinical Director for Heart Disease and Stroke sent to the national health service in November 2006. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library.

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