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Public Trust Office

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the response was to the April 2000 policy statement 'Making Changes: the Future of the Public Trust Office; and what action her Department is taking to put into effect its proposals. [144308]

Jane Kennedy: Following publication of the "Making Changes" policy statement on 11 April 2000, much work has been done to take forward its proposals. I have today placed in the Libraries of the House a summary and analysis of the responses received to "Making Changes". As proposed in "Making Changes", and informed by the response to consultation, the Lord Chancellor will create a new body which is to be called the Public Guardianship Office. It will discharge the Court of Protection's decisions on behalf of mentally incapacitated people, a role at present undertaken by the Public Trust Office. The new body is being explored as a candidate for agency status. It will be set demanding targets to provide a high quality service to its clients.

Central London County Court

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement concerning the performance of Central London County Court in processing work. [143595]

Jane Kennedy: The Court Service uses two key performance indicators to measure the performance of the county courts. The first indicator measures the general quality of service provided, including time taken replying to correspondence, answering telephone calls, the key facilities available, the rate of success of recovering money on county court warrants and the proportion of Courts' Charter Standards met. The national target for this standard is 83 per cent. For the year 1999-2000, the Central London County Court achieved 74.5 per cent. For the period April to November 2000, the court has achieved 70.1 per cent.

The second key performance indicator measures the percentage of administrative process dealt with within five working days, for example, issuing a county court claim. The national target for this standard is 92 per cent. For the year 1999-2000, the court achieved 83.9 per cent. For the period April to November 2000, the court is achieving 70.3 per cent.

The Court has experienced difficulties in meeting its targets as the result both of a loss of experienced staff and a growth in workload. These issues are being addressed as a matter of urgency and there is already some sign of improvement.

Immigration Appeals

Ms Oona King: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in respect of how many dismissed immigration appeals the adjudicator made a recommendation that the Home Office grant the appellant (a) leave to remain in and (b) leave to enter the UK in the last 12 months. [143608]

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Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not held by the Lord Chancellor's Department.

Modernising Government White Paper

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how much for each financial year from 1998-99 until the latest date for which sums have been allocated his Department has spent and expects to spend on the implementation of the modernising government White Paper. [143700]

Mr. Lock: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to him today by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, Official Report, columns 245-46W.


Peacekeeping (Kosovo)

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer of 11 December 2000, Official Report, column 358, what role is envisaged for the Rapid Reaction Force in peacekeeping activity on the (a) Kosovo-Serbia border, (b) Kosovo-Macedonia border and (c) Kosovo- Albania border. [143276]

The Prime Minister: None.


Imperial Cancer Research Fund

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding was given by his Department to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in each of the last three financial years for which figures are available; if he has any proposals to increase the amount; and if he will make a statement. [141377]

Yvette Cooper: The Department does not directly fund the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) but it does provide indirect support for ICRF research in several ways. For example, the Department funds the National Health Service costs of ICRF-funded research that takes place in the NHS, and many ICRF-funded researchers hold departmental/NHS research grants. In addition, the Department and ICRF, plus others, jointly fund substantial research projects such as the United Kingdom Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening.

The Department will be investing an additional £20 million a year by 2003 in the NHS Cancer Research Network, the Co-ordinating Centre for which involves ICRF. There are two groups one of which is led by Professor Peter Selby, Head of ICRF Cancer Medicine Research Unit at the University of Leeds. The second includes Professor Adrian Harris, Head of the ICRF Medical Oncology Unit at the University of Oxford.


Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to ensure that no unnecessary hysterectomies are performed; and if he will make a statement. [141366]

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Yvette Cooper: We are concerned that hysterectomies are not performed unnecessarily. As with all major interventions, the decision to undergo hysterectomy must be for the woman concerned in the light of the best available medical advice.

We work closely with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), which issued guidance in 1999 to all its Fellows and Members on the management of menorrhagia, the presenting problem for about half of all women who undergo hysterectomies. Earlier this year, the RCOG reminded its Fellows and Members of the need for informed consent for surgery. We expect the RCOG's guidelines to be followed by all health authorities and National Health Service trusts. These guidelines are increasingly being used in clinical audit and clinical governance programmes.


Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what compensation payments will be made to (a) the families of those who have died from CJD and (b) those suffering from this condition. [141370]

Yvette Cooper: On publication of the BSE Inquiry Report the Government announced their intention to establish a compensation scheme for victims of variant CJD and their families. Negotiations with the families and their legal representatives have started and are still under way.

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the publication "Diagnosis and Incidence of Prion (Creutzfeldt-Jakob) Disease: A Retrospective Archival Survey with Implications for Future Research", published in Neurodegeneration, Vol 4, pp 357-368 (1995). [142267]

Yvette Cooper: This article, published in 1995, concluded that human prion disease might be more common than previously supposed, and that a further review of the epidemiology of the disease was required. Since then a number of research projects have been put in place to ascertain the extent to which cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) or variant CJD (vCJD) might have been missed. These include:

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Results from these studies to date have not revealed significant missed diagnosis of CJD or vCJD. The Department, however, takes very seriously the need to ensure that no cases are missed and to that end is working closely with the National CJD Surveillance Unit and others to encourage continued vigilance in the health care sector.

Passive Smoking

Mrs. Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make the draft approval code of practice on the protection of employees from passive smoking mandatory; and if he will make a statement. [142525]

Yvette Cooper: On 5 September, the Health and Safety Commission announced that it favoured the introduction of an Approved Code of Practice to safeguard the welfare of employees as far as environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace is concerned. We are considering our response.

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