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Census Form

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement as to the proposed census form for Wales. [142379]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Government have made an unprecedented commitment to ensuring a successful census in Wales. Anyone who writes that they are Welsh in the ethnic identity section of the census form will be counted as such. Unlike a simple tick box this will identify those Welsh people who are from black, asian or other backgrounds. We are explicitly recognising the diversity of those who regard themselves as Welsh and who have other ethnic backgrounds.

As with every census there will be an advertising campaign to make sure that everyone fills the forms in. But in Wales there will be additional emphasis on making sure that people are aware that they can state that they are Welsh.

A question on the country of birth will enable people to indicate that they were born in Wales and respondents will be asked whether they can understand, speak, read or write in the Welsh language.

An expanded and enhanced Labour Force Survey will ask questions about Welsh identity for the first time, and the Office for National Statistics has pledged to publish a special report based on these findings, combined with information from the census.

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales on the proposed census form for Wales. [142380]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular discussions with the First Secretary about a range of issues, including the 2001 census.

As the census informs billions of pounds of spending in Wales, whether through the Welsh Block grant, allocations to police or fire services, or overall measures of economic performance and thus economic aid, we have discussed how any disruption of the census, either through non co-operation or eleventh hour changes to its format, runs the risk of losing precious resources for Wales.

18 Dec 2000 : Column: 39W

SCOTLAND

McDermott International Ltd.

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about the winding up of the occupational pension plan operated by the UK section of McDermott International Ltd. [143085]

Dr. Reid: I have received representations from my hon. Friend about this matter. I know my hon. Friend is meeting OPAS (the Pensions Scheme Advisory Service) which can provide advice on these issues. The responsibility for ensuring the proper statutory procedures of occupational pension schemes rests with the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority. The Pensions Ombudsman can investigate complaints of maladministration from members of occupational pension schemes.

HEALTH

Fluoride

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the York Review of fluoride in drinking water; and if he will make a statement as to the implications for public policy. [142239]

Mr. Denham: The report of the systematic review of water fluoridation undertaken by the National Health Service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York concluded that fluoridating water helps to reduce tooth decay and found no clear evidence of adverse effects on general health.

The report did, however, identify the need for more good quality research and we have asked the Medical Research Council to set up a working group to advise on whether further research in the area of water fluoridation and human health is required. We will be discussing the report with representatives of the water industry. When this action is complete we will review the need for legislation.

Departmental Policies (Blackpool, South)

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on the Blackpool, South constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [142228]

Mr. Denham: The income and expenditure figures for North West Lancashire health authority for the last four financial years, as per final accounts, are in the table.

£000

Total incomeTotal expenditure
1996-97313,497312,965
1997-98295,579294,947
1998-99313,804313,769
1999-2000374,664376,367

Note:

The overspend in 1999-2000 was a combination of a planned overspend supported by the balance sheet, provisions and prescribing.


18 Dec 2000 : Column: 40W

Capital allocations to the two National Health Service trusts based in and around Blackpool were as follows:

£000

Blackpool, Wyre and FyldeBlackpool Victoria
Unconditional(6)
1996-971,0042,190
1997-981,0042,190
1998-998031,752
1999-20008572,072
2000-018831,925
Conditional(7) (approved)
1996-97-3003,752
1997-98--5,119
1998-99--3,800
1999-2000--9,528
2000-017555,200

(6) Unconditional, i.e. the trust is free to determine use of the money.

(7) Conditional, i.e. the allocation relates to a specific, agreed project.


Clinicians

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if clinicians are allowed to participate in clinical governance arrangements; and what sanctions are available if they do not. [142188]

Mr. Denham: The arrangements for clinical governance provide a coherent and comprehensive framework of measures to assure and improve the quality of patient care in the National Health Service. These arrangements are multi-disciplinary and all clinicians are expected to participate in their delivery.

The Health Act 1999 places a duty of quality on primary care trusts, health authorities and NHS trusts. They must ensure that this duty is discharged properly by putting and keeping in place arrangements for continuously monitoring and improving the quality of health care they provide through the implementation of clinical governance. NHS organisations are responsible for ensuring that clinicians participate fully in clinical governance arrangements.

The Commission for Health Improvement will monitor the implementation of clinical governance through a rolling programme of clinical governance reviews.

Clinical governance is underpinned by arrangements for professional appraisal. The NHS Plan proposes that, subject to Parliament, by April 2001, all doctors working in primary care, whether as principals, non-principals or locums, will be required to be on a list of a health authority and be subject to clinical governance arrangements. These will include annual appraisal and mandatory participation in clinical audit.

The NHS Plan also sets out provisions for making annual appraisal and effective job plans mandatory for all consultants. The intention is to introduce an agreed mechanism for employer-based appraisal, by April 2001, as a contractual requirement. The outcome of the appraisal process will need to be compatible with, and to feed into, the processes of clinical governance and General Medical Council revalidation, which will require all doctors to demonstrate that they remain fit to practise in their chosen field.

18 Dec 2000 : Column: 41W

Mixed-sex Specialist Wards

Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many representations he has received against the abolition of mixed-sex specialist wards in the last year; [142553]

Mr. Denham: I have not received any representation against the abolition of mixed-sex specialist wards.

Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to utilise specialist- trained nurses and how many will become available if specialist mixed-sex wards are abolished. [142549]

Mr. Denham: It is for local managers to decide how best to use their staff but it is likely that any specialist- trained nurses currently employed in mixed-sex wards will be re-deployed to deliver specialist services in a single sex environment.

Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will retain multi-bay mixed-sex specialist dermatological wards in order to provide specialist treatment. [142552]

Mr. Denham: We remain committed to achieving the three specific objectives we have set for eliminating mixed-sex accommodation. These are:




It is our aim to achieve these objectives in the vast majority of health authorities by 2002.

Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has made as to the cost-effectiveness of single sex wards and whether they comprise best practice in respect of the provision of specialist treatment; and if he will make a statement. [142548]

Mr. Denham: It is a matter for National Health Service trusts, after appropriate liaison with their local health authorities and NHS Executive regional offices, to identify cost-effective ways of achieving our objectives on eliminating mixed-sex accommodation.

Many hospitals are able to deliver specialist services to their patients in a single sex environment. It is our view that it is best practice for NHS trusts to enhance privacy and dignity, thereby increasing the quality of the service they provide to patients.


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