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20 Nov 2000 : Column: 52W
funded on the impact of electric fields associated with overhead powerlines; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 17 November 2000]: The Department expects those researchers to whom it provides funds to publish in open peer reviewed scientific journals. The Department has funded work on electric fields from power lines at Bristol University which was published in December 1999 and the United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study which is expected to be published shortly. The Department also contributes to the World Health Organisation Electromagnetic Fields Project, the progress of which is accessible on its website.
The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) provides advice to Government on these matters. In 1992, and again in 1994, the NRPB's independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation examined the evidence for an association between the incidence of cancer and exposure to electromagnetic fields and concluded that there was no clear evidence of an adverse health effect at the levels of electromagnetic field to which the public is normally exposed. The advisory group monitors the relevant research and will be publishing a comprehensive review of the more recent studies including those on electric fields in the next few months.
Ms Stuart [holding answer 17 November 2000]: The seven ambulance trusts in South East Region of the National Health Service, together with the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service, which is part of the Isle of Wight Healthcare Trust, have conducted a review of how ambulance services are delivered in the region. They have submitted their findings to Ministers and these are under consideration.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in Mid Essex Hospital Trust area were waiting (a) for inpatient treatment for the last available month, (b) more than 12 months for inpatient treatment and (c) 13 weeks or more for an outpatient appointment in the last available quarter. 
|Month||Total number of patients waiting||Number of patients waiting over 12 months|
KH07 quarterly return
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|Month||Number of patients waiting over 13 weeks|
QM08 quarterly return
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many students started (a) a diploma in nursing and (b) a degree in nursing studies in each year since 1997; and what the drop out rate was for each year's intake. 
|Year/cohort||Diploma||Degree||Combined diploma and degree|
(13) Forecast outturn commissions based on Q2 2000-01 NMET performance management report
(14) Adjusted to take account of Dearing transfer 1,017 places 1992-93 to 1997-98 inclusive
(15) The step change in degree commissions in 1998-99 is as a result of the transfer from DfEE to DH following Dearing
(16) The data held for 1997-98 only cover the first year of the course, data that include the second year should be available after December 2000.
(17) Data not yet available
English National Board
Data held for the 1995-96 cohort--the majority of these students have now completed their training--shows an attrition figure of 17 per cent. Attrition rates also vary from year to year, from university to university and across nursing branches. The human resources performance framework, published on 4 October 2000 set a target for training intakes from 2000-01 of an attrition rate no higher than 13 per cent. in pre-registration nursing and midwifery training.
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Mr. Denham: Figures provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on the number of full-time undergraduate entrants to medical schools in United Kingdom higher education institutions since 1997-98 are as follows:
(18) The 1999-2000 figures are provisional. Awaiting confirmation of July 2000 figures in HEFCE November 2000 Survey.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made in examining the need to review section 118 of the Medicines Act 1968; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Stuart: Section 118 of the Medicines Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation that the Government are currently reviewing to see whether or not it is appropriate to repeal them, once new freedom of information legislation is in place, and a final decision has still to be made.
Section 118 does not place an absolute restriction on the disclosure of information. The Medicines Control Agency, as the executive arm of the licensing authority, acts on the basis that section 118 allows it to disclose information where to do so is in the performance of its duty to protect public health. Therefore, where there is a risk to public health or safety, the agency has an overriding obligation to remove or reduce that risk even if confidentiality is broken. The agency also complies with the current administrative Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average age at retirement was of (a) all members of the NHS pension scheme in England and Wales, (b) members in normal health and (c) members in ill health between 1 April 1994 and 31 March 1999, or in the last five years for which figures are available, broken down by professional group; and what the total number of retirements over the same period was for each professional group. 
|Employment group||All members||Normal health||Ill health||Total retirements|
|Administrative Officers and those not in groups below||58||60||52||22,917|
|Mental Health Officers (non-manual), excluding MHOs with special class status not yet doubling membership, Part Time Mental Health Specialists||55||58.5||51||6,736|
|Mental Health Officers (manual), excluding MHOs with special class status not yet doubling membership||59||61||54.5||62|
|Hospital Medical Staff (consultants, registrars, junior doctors), Part Time Specialists (non MHO) MHOs and Nurses without special class status||57||61||49||6,014|
|Nurses, Physiotherapists, Midwives and Health Visitors with special class status, MHOs with special class status not yet doubling Membership||55.5||59.5||51||32,763|
|GP Practice staff||61||62||46.5||279|
(19) Based upon data available to the Government Actuary, in the form requested, of some 72 per cent. of retirements during the period. The total number of retirements processed by the NHS Pensions Agency between 1994 and 1999 was 127,380. The breakdown of the remaining 28 per cent. is not yet available.
20 Nov 2000 : Column: 55W
20 Nov 2000 : Column: 55W
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