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Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what professional qualifications are required of doctors who carry out personal capability assessments for his Department; and under what level of oversight they operate. 
Jonathan Shaw: Each doctor is required to have full unconditional General Medical Council registration, and at least three years post full registration experience. The doctors carrying out Personal Capability Assessments must also be approved to carry out assessments by the Chief Medical Adviser to the Department on behalf of the Secretary of State. This condition can only be waived, in exceptional cases, at the discretion of the Chief Medical Advisor. In addition, every doctor must complete a course in disability assessment medicine, and undergo training specific to the benefits with which they are dealing.
Approval by the Chief Medical Advisor is dependent upon ongoing demonstration that the work being carried out meets a satisfactory standard. This is done through regular monitoring, prior to approval, for new entrants, and continuing random audits for all doctors to ensure that standards remain high. Approval to carry out assessments will be removed if their work does not continue at the required standard. This monitoring is carried out by the company who are contracted to provide medical services, ATOS Healthcare. The Department also carries out a range of quality checks independently.
Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the Union of South American Nations' special summit on 15 September on developments in Bolivia. 
Gillian Merron: The Government was pleased with the outcome of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) summit meeting on 15 September. Following the summit, the EU, with strong UK backing, issued a statement on 19 September that: supported the steps taken by UNASUR; endorsed the terms of the Palacio de la Moneda Declaration; welcomed that the UNASUR meeting facilitated the signature on 16 September of an agreement to open a national dialogue; and stated the EU's readiness to respond favourably to an invitation to support that dialogue alongside other national and international actors.
The EU Troika is acting as an international facilitator in the national dialogue, in close cooperation with the UNASUR delegation. Our ambassador to Bolivia is participating as a member of the Troika.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information technology projects initiated by his Department have been cancelled prior to completion in the last five years; and what the cost of each such project was to the public purse. 
Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not cancelled any significant information technology projects during the past five years. To provide more detailed information, on small individual projectsincluding from across our network of postswould incur disproportionate cost.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what proportion of written questions for answer on a named day his Department has answered on the due date in the current session of Parliament to date. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on whether the US administration was informed in advance about Georgian plans to take military action in South Ossetia. 
We have no information to suggest that the US Administration was informed in advance of Georgian actions. The US Administration has stated in
hearings before the US Congress that they had warned the Georgians not to fall victim to provocations, and whatever their fears, a military response would be a mistake. Prior to 7 August, the US and others, including the UK, had encouraged all parties to avoid actions that would escalate tensions.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last visited Malta; what recent steps he has taken to strengthen United Kingdom economic, commercial, cultural and educational links with Malta; and if he will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary regularly meets with his Maltese counterpart at the General Affairs and External Relations Councils, which occur monthly. The last visit by a Foreign Secretary to Malta was by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) in November 2005.
The UK is Maltas second largest trading partner after Italy (2008 first quarter provisional figures). British business therefore thrives in Malta. Thousands of British tourists visit Malta each year, contributing to Maltas tourism industry.
The UK continues to be the country of choice for Maltese post graduates and since Maltas entry into the EU the number of Maltese students choosing to do undergraduate degree courses in the UK has been increasing steadily.
We co-operate closely in other fields such as defence, with regular ships visits and training for the armed forces of Malta. A member of the armed forces of Malta is currently receiving training at Dartmouth and another will go to Sandhurst in September.
Caroline Flint: We regularly assess our relations with Malta. The relationship between Malta and the UK continues to be strong, based on our shared history and our membership of the EU and the Commonwealth. We have regular engagement with the Maltese through bilateral contacts and international institutions, especially the EU.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on trends in the levels of piracy and theft affecting shipping transporting food aid to Somalia; if he will discuss with his international counterparts the protection of food aid to Somalia from piracy and theft; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: Prior to French intervention in 2007, World Food programme aid shipments had come under pirate attack. Since the autumn of 2007, the French, Danes and Dutch have all undertaken escort duties which have been successful in deterring further attacks. Canada has agreed to escort World Food programme vessels from mid August. The Government have regularly discussed how best to secure a sustainable, long term solution for protection of food aid shipments from the threat of piracy with both European Union and other international partners.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government plans to make over the EU General System of Preference Plus (GSP+) status of Sri Lanka for trade purposes, to be reviewed in December, in the light of Sri Lanka's human rights record and the linkage between trade preferences and human rights in the GSP+ scheme legal provisions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the numbers of Tamil women and children displaced in Sri Lanka since the end of July 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
We estimate that the number of Sri Lankans displaced in the latest surge in conflict between the Sri Lankan armed forces and separatist extremists has risen from approximately 75,000 in July to between 200,000 and 250,000. Most of these people are Tamils. We estimate that about two thirds of them are likely to be women and children, but it is not possible to calculate numbers exactly because there is no humanitarian access. They are trapped between opposing forces in a pocket of north-east Sri Lanka without the assistance they need. There are plans by the United Nations and the Sri Lankan authorities to mount relief convoys but so far very little is getting through. As I said in the House on 14 October 2008, Official Repor t, columns 240-48WH, we deplore this situation, have called on all parties to the conflict to facilitate access and humanitarian aid and have committed a further £2.5 million in humanitarian relief through the international agencies.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions he has left the United Kingdom since his appointment in pursuit of his official duties; what the purpose of each visit was; what the total cost of each visit was; and how many people accompanied him on each visit. 
The Prime Minister: Since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Copies of these lists are available in the Library of the House. Information on the number of officials accompanying Ministers on overseas visits is included in the list.
For information from 2007-08 I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I made on 22 July 2008, Official Report, column 103WS. Information for 2008-09 will be published in the normal way.
Law enforcement agencies in Northern Ireland and the Republic are actively engaged in a range of operations against fuel fraudsters. In recent weeks there have been a number of significant arrests with
almost 30,000 litres of illegal fuel seized together with cash, lorries, cars and other equipment.
The latest IMC Report has confirmed that PIRA has completely relinquished the leadership and other structures appropriate to a time of armed conflict and that the Army Council is effectively redundant.
12. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the likely size of the prison population in Northern Ireland in each of the next three years. 
The Northern Ireland Prison Service population is currently 1,551. Estimates for the size of the prisoner population over the next three years are
1,632 in 2009-10, 1,697 in 2010-11 and 1,765 in 2011-12. This is based on a 5 per cent. increase up to 2009-10 and 4 per cent. thereafter.
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