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4 Mar 2010 : Column WA376

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

Baroness Thornton: The department does not collect this information.

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

Baroness Thornton: Doctors in training hours are measured and monitored over a 48-hour week averaged over a six-month period. It is incumbent upon employers to take reasonable steps to ensure medical staff are compliant, while ensuring patient safety, and doctors record their working patterns and rest breaks.

Health: Training

Questions

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): The Operating Framework for the National Health Service in England for 2010-11 states that:

"To promote a responsible approach to education and training, strategic health authorities (SHAs), primary care trusts and employers must review their training plans and align them to support the delivery of local clinical visions and new ways of working, review and where possible reduce the number of postgraduate medical speciality training posts, consistent with long term requirements, review and where possible reduce the number of pre-registration commissions for nursing, allied health professionals and healthcare scientists (HCSs), consistent with long-term requirements and ensure sufficient investment to support the redeployment of staff in new ways of working, especially those moving to new roles and settings, and implement Education Commissioning for Quality and the review of the Multi-professional Education and Training (MPET) review to give education commissioners the metrics and financial levers to incentivise and reward high quality education".

Figures for SHA plans on training commissions for 2010 are not yet available.



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Human Rights Trust Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): While the Government support the objectives of the Human Rights Trust Fund, the minimum initial contribution to the fund is £250,000. As I discussed with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe when I met him in January, the Government are not at this time in a position to commit to such a contribution in addition to their contributions to the Council of Europe.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We announced in a Written Ministerial Statement on 29 October 2009 that we are looking to normalise our returns policy to Zimbabwe progressively as and when the political situation develops.

According to latest HM Prison Service figures http://www.hmprisonservice.gov.uk/assets/documents/100049D8population_bulletin_monthly_december_ 2009.pdf as at 18 December 2009, there were 209 Zimbabwean nationals in prisons including those in the immigration removal centres Dover, Haslar and Lindholme. The 209 includes those held on remand, serving custodial sentences or held under the Immigration Act 1971.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not keep statistics on how many British citizens have been refused entry to the US or other countries.

Israel

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We fully support the statement by the EU High Representative issued on 26 February which said:

"The High Representative regards the recent decision by the Government of Israel to add sites in Hebron and Bethlehem to the list of Israeli national heritage sites as detrimental to attempts to relaunch peace negotiations. The European Union calls on Israel to refrain from provocative acts. The European Union recognises the importance of these religious sites to all three Abrahamic faiths and supports the principle of access for all".

Israel: Ariel College

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We have made no specific representations on this issue, but the UK's position is clear: settlements are illegal and prejudge peace talks. We have repeatedly stressed this to Israeli Ministers from Prime Minister Netanyahu down.

Justice: Arrest Warrants

Questions

Asked by Baroness Northover

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): It is not usual practice to make public the details of confidential ministerial or official exchanges with our international partners. As part of our ongoing dialogue with international partners, we have discussed the impact of the application of the UK's arrest warrant procedure in cases where there is universal jurisdiction. The Government are both committed to the principles of universal jurisdiction and determined to ensure that the UK can engage fully with those involved in conflict in order to assist in bring those conflicts to an end.

Asked by Baroness Northover

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: No discussions have taken place at ministerial level with the United States on the issues arising from the UK's arrest warrant procedure since 13 December 2009.

Kosovo

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): Aberystwyth University will be publishing Professor Macklin's report in the middle of March. There is a commitment under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between our embassy in Pristina and Aberystwyth University that the results of the tests will be completely transparent and available to the public. Once published, a copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House.

Muslim Communities: Burials

Questions

Asked by Lord Sheikh

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Guidance published in 2006 encouraged burial ground managers to explore the local demand for out-of-hours working, especially where required for religious reasons, and to ensure that every effort was made to deal with individual applications. When deaths need to be reported to coroners-because the cause of death is violent, unnatural or of unknown cause-similar efforts are made to ensure, wherever possible, that the body of the person who has died is released as promptly as possible for burial.



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National Insurance

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The national insurance number is an administrative reference number used by the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for benefits and national insurance contribution purposes. A national insurance number does not in isolation confer any rights to benefits or demonstrate entitlement to work.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not withdraw national insurance numbers once they have been allocated except in very limited circumstances. This is because a national insurance number, even if only used for a limited period, links an individual to their national insurance contributions record which may be relevant in any future claim to benefits or state pension. The limited circumstances in which a national insurance number would be withdrawn are (a) as a result of an administrative error such as where a duplicate number has been issued, or (b) where, as a result of checks made, there is no evidence of activity on the national insurance number in the six months following allocation. Such actions, where appropriate, would be applied to any national insurance number allocated and are not specific to foreign nationals who have left the United Kingdom.

NHS Redress Act 2006

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): The NHS Redress Act 2006 is a piece of framework legislation for the handling of financial compensation for cases of low monetary value. It will need to be enacted through secondary legislation, and putting this legislation in place will require considerable stakeholder involvement in discussing the detail around the working of any scheme.

The department considered it more important to embed the general principles of wider redress across the National Health Service by initially reforming the NHS and adult social care complaints arrangements, rather than focusing on financial redress only for those cases which are of low monetary value and which satisfy set principles in tort law. Complaints reform came into effect in April 2009.



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Lord Justice Jackson recommended in his Review of Civil Litigation Costs the drawing up of regulations to implement the NHS Redress Act. The Government are considering this recommendation.

NHS: Foundation Trusts

Question

Asked by Lord Burnett

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): The information requested is a matter for the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. We have written to Sir Stephen Moss, Chair of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, informing him of the noble Lord's question. He will reply shortly and a copy of the letter will be placed in the Library.

NHS: Specialised Services

Question

Asked by Earl Howe

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): Commercial Support Units (CSUs) are being set up to improve commercial capability within the National Health Service. CSUs will provide dedicated commercial support to NHS healthcare providers and commissioners to help them improve their skills, gain better value from procurement and respond more effectively to the commercial challenges of operating in today's NHS.

The proposals being developed by the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and East Midlands SHA are designed to strengthen their commercial capability. In developing their proposals, both SHAs are confident that they will be fully compliant with the recommendations in the Carter report.

Both SHAs believe that the opportunity afforded to specialised commissioning by greater integration with other collaborative functions such as networks and commercial support functions will lead to a greater ability for the SCG to discharge its commissioning responsibilities and to ensure that all the world-class

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commissioning competencies can be fully demonstrated. Regardless of the role that CSUs will play in supporting commissioning, SCGs will continue to be the responsible bodies for specialised commissioning regionally.

The Government remain committed to ensuring effective commissioning of specialised services and over the coming months we will be monitoring how these new arrangements are working.

Northern Ireland: Car Bombs

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Security measures were in place at Newry courthouse on 22 February. A police investigation is ongoing in relation to this incident.

The perimeter of Newry courthouse was not breached prior to the bomb explosion and security arrangements such as CCTV were operating. Security arrangements have been assessed, the external perimeter secured and the courthouse restored full operational services from 2 March 2010.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission


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