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Ann Keen: Guidance to the national health service on stroke care is contained in the national stroke strategy. In addition, stroke is a priority area for the NHS and there is a Tier 1 Vital Sign covering the time stroke patients spend in a stroke unit and the percentage of higher risk transient ischaemic attack patients who are treated within 24 hours.
This Vital Sign is a new data collection. Following the first two quarters of data and at the request of the NHS, the vital signs guidance was revised to help improve data accuracy. This included aligning the International Classification of Diseases codes with the Sentinel Audit and clearer definitions. This revised Guidance was made available to the NHS on 27 March 2009 and a copy has been placed in the Library.
Ann Keen: The latest National Sentinel Stroke Audit conducted by the Royal College of Physicians, identifies 186 stroke units in England. The planning of appropriate stroke services is a matter for decision locally.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many stroke patients have been treated in specialised units in each of the last three years for which figures are available. 
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to increase patient access to (a) diagnostic scans and (b) thrombolysis for those whose stroke was caused by a blood clot; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Keen: Stroke is included as a priority for the national health service in the operating framework. The stroke strategy recommends that everyone who can benefit from urgent stroke care should be transferred to an acute stroke centre that provides 24-hour access to scans and specialist stroke care. All hospitals now provide computed axial tomography scanning and most provide magnetic resonance imaging and carotid doppler too. The Department published an imaging guide in 2008, to help ensure that imaging services develop in line with the quality markers in the national stroke strategy. A copy has been placed in the Library. The guide has been welcomed by the profession. The latest National Sentinel Audit of stroke from the Royal College of Physicians shows that the number of stroke units providing thrombolysis is increasing. However, provision of these services out of hours remains a challenge. Local stroke networks have been established to assist in reviewing and organising the delivery of improved stroke services. This includes ensuring access to scanning and the provision of thrombolysis where appropriate.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients with suspected stroke or transient ischaemic attack receive (a) rapid assessment, (b) access to imaging and (c) necessary treatment. 
Those with a suspected stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA or minor stroke) should immediately be referred for appropriate, urgent, specialist assessment and investigation including access to imaging and necessary treatment. The stroke strategy recommends that local referral protocols should be agreed between primary and secondary care to facilitate the timely assessment of people who have had a suspected TIA. The Department published an imaging guide in 2008, to help ensure that imaging services develop in line with the quality markers in the national stroke strategy. The guide has been welcomed by the profession. A copy has already been placed in the Library.
The strategy also recommends that people with suspected acute stroke should be transferred immediately by ambulance to a receiving hospital that provides hyper-acute stroke services including expert clinical assessment, timely imaging and intravenous thrombolysis over 24-hours. Local stroke networks have been established to assist in the reviewing and organising of the delivery of improved stroke services across the pathway.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of patients' ability to obtain stroke services in rural areas; and what steps he is taking to increase access to stroke services for patients in rural areas. 
Ann Keen: Ensuring that people have access to appropriate stroke services is a matter for the national health service locally. In rural areas, this could include the development of tele-radiology and tele-medicine. We have set up the Stroke Improvement programme and local stroke care networks to support the NHS to deliver world class stroke services.
John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Wyre Forest of 4 November 2008, Official Report, column 363W, on venous thromboembolism, what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of hospitals complying with the venous thromboembolism risk assessment policy. 
Ann Keen: Currently, at the request of the chief medical officer, Dr. Anita Thomas OBE and her team are visiting throughout the national health service to discuss with senior managers and doctors their strategies for implementing venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk assessment in their hospitals. In monitoring compliance with the Department's VTE risk assessment policy we will take into account the findings from this programme of visits and any information available from other sources, such as the All Party Parliamentary Thrombosis Group.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has made of the implications for medical practice of pig-to-primate organ transplant experiments. 
Ann Keen: The Government believe that it is right to explore the potential of xenotransplantation in a cautious stepwise fashion. It could be a potential solution to the ongoing shortage of human organs and tissues for transplantation, but also raises concerns for the safety of the individual and the wider public for the efficacy of the procedures and for the welfare of the animals involved. No xenotransplant procedure involving humans will be allowed to take place unless there is sufficient evidence to justify the particular procedure proposed.
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of tuberculosis have been identified in (a) agricultural workers and (b) other persons involved in agriculture in the last 12 months. 
Dawn Primarolo: Data on occupation of people with tuberculosis are not routinely collected by the Health Protection Agency Enhanced Tuberculosis Surveillance system, and it is not possible to identify how many people with tuberculosis in the last 12 months were involved in agricultural employment.
Mr. Woolas: Information on the number of Kenyan citizens who were recognised as a refugee and granted asylum in the United Kingdom in 2008 is published in table B of the supplementary web tables published with the Control of Immigration: Quarterly Statistical SummaryFourth Quarter 2008. This table shows applications received for asylum in the UK (excluding dependants) and initial decisions broken down by country of nationality.
2008 figures are provisional and may be subject to change. Information on asylum is published annually and quarterly. Statistics for Q1 2009 will be available in May 2009 from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at:
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps she has taken to ensure an effective transition between the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners and its successor; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) whether she has identified the organisation which is to replace the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners as the body to regulate and register forensic scientists; and if she will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: The Independent Forensic Science Regulator was appointed in February 2008 and given responsibility for regulating forensic science quality standards. Since then he has published his Manual of Regulation, his Review of the Options for the Accreditation of Forensic Practitioners, and Quality standards for the Providers of Forensic Sciences to the Criminal Justice System. The regulator proposes to move to a more robust model of standards regulation that moves the focus from just forensic practitioners to include standards for organisations, practitioners and the science methods used. The forensic science laboratories are already accredited to testing international standards, accreditation that now includes assessment by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) of practitioner competence.
Policy decisions regarding forensic science rest with the Home Office and policy decisions regarding the public funding for CRFP are the responsibility of the National Policing Improvement Agency. However, such decisions were agreed with Home Office Ministers. The Home Office Minister wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice and the Lord Chief Justice with advance copies of the regulators report on the Options for the Accreditation of Forensic Practitioners.
James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been brought following investigations by the e-crime unit in the Serious Organised Crime Agency since its establishment. 
Mr. Alan Campbell: From April 2006 until March 2008, as stated in response to House of Commons question answered on 11 March 2008, Official Report, column 357W, the Serious Organised Crime Agencys e-crime unit was involved in 15 convictions. SOCAs annual report detailing its performance for 2008-09 will be published in May 2009.
Mr. Alan Campbell: The Home Office allocated funding of more than £30 million for e-crime from 2001-06 inclusive. Part of these funds were used to establish the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) in the then National Crime Squad, as well as transitional funding for computer forensic officers in forces.
The Government have allocated £3.5 million to the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) over three years from 2008-09 with the Metropolitan Police Service contributing £3.9 million over the same three year period.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) established in 2006 is funded from the SOCA budget and in 2006-07 CEOP received £5.1 million, £5.726 million for 2007-08 and £6.27 million for 2008-09.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firearms offences (including those involving air weapons) were recorded in each police force in England and Wales in each year since 1998-99. 
Jacqui Smith: Available data relate to offences recorded in the period 1998-99 up to and including 2007-08, and are shown in the table. Firearms are taken to be involved in a crime if they are fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person, or used as a threat.
|Crimes recorded by the police in which firearms (including air weapons) were reported to have been used( 1) by police force area: England and Wales , 1998-99 to 2007-08|
|Number of offences , recorded crime|
|Police force area||1998-99( 2)||1999- 20 00||2000-01||2001-02( 3)||2002-03( 4)||2003-04||2004-05||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08|
|(1) Firearms are taken to be involved in a crime if they are fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person or used as a threat.|
(2) There was a change in the counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998.
(3) Figures for some crime categories may have been inflated by some police forces implementing the principles of the National Crime Recording Standard before 1 April 2002.
(4) The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced on 1 April 2002 which may have resulted in inflated figures for some crime categories Figures before and after this are not directly comparable.
E and W data totals previously published in table 2.03 of Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2007/08 (HOSB 02/09).
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