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Mortuaries

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been issued to NHS trusts about the use of refrigerated vans or lorries to store bodies when hospital mortuaries have insufficient capacity; and on what dates that guidance was issued. [146465]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 22 January 2001]: The joint Health Service/Local Authority Circular "Winter 2000-01: Capacity Planning for Health and Society Care" (HSC 2000/016: LAC 2000/14) issued on 23 May 2000 stated:


Copies are available in the Library.

Director of Communications (Eastern Region)

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons Nick Court, Director of Communications of the Eastern Region of the Department of Health, failed to respond to requests for a telephone conversation with Andy Lever, Editor of the Thurrock Gazette; and what the date and timing of each request was. [146300]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 22 January 2001]: I understand that Mr. Court did not fail to respond to Mr. Lever, editor of the Thurrock Gazette. He returned his call on 16 January 2001.

Acute Beds

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many acute beds there were in the (a) Royal Berkshire and (b) Battle hospitals (i) in May 1997, (ii) in May 1998, (iii) in May 1999 and (iv) at the end of December 2000. [146364]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 22 January 2001]: Bed statistics are collected by National Health Service trusts, not individual hospital sites. Figures on the average daily numbers of beds for each NHS trust are published annually in "Bed Availability and Occupancy, England", copies of which are available in the Library.

Waiting Lists (Berkshire)

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients are waiting to get onto a waiting list in Berkshire. [146363]

23 Jan 2001 : Column: 514W

Mr. Denham [holding answer 22 January 2001]: Information is not available centrally in the form requested.

Nursing Vacancies

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many nursing vacancies are (a) unfilled and (b) filled by agency and temporary staff in the NHS in England; [146366]

Mr. Denham [holding answers 22 January 2001]: Information on unfilled vacancies as at 31 March 2000 is shown in the table.

Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff three month vacancies(5)
Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals National Health Service Trust(6)80
England9,870

(5) Posts that had been vacant for three months or more. Numbers are whole-time equivalents rounded to the nearest 10.

(6) The Trust covers the Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals.

Source:

Department of Health Vacancies Survey March 2000


Information on how many of the national vacancies were filled by agency and temporary staff is not available centrally.

Information from the Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals NHS Trust shows that in December 2000 all qualified nursing vacancies were covered by 99.15 whole- time equivalent agency and casual staff.

Nurses' Pay

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average hourly rate of pay is of a junior nurse on the full-time payroll. [146367]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 22 January 2001]: The current hourly rate of pay for a newly qualified D grade nurse working full-time is £7.62 outside London and £9.16 in inner London, including London Allowance.

Keyhole Operations

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to ensure that the number of keyhole operations is not reduced on financial grounds. [146769]

23 Jan 2001 : Column: 515W

Mr. Denham: It is for clinicians to make a clinical judgment as to the best course of treatment for a patient, taking into account clinical and cost-effectiveness as well as patient preference. When making this judgment, we would expect clinicians to take full account of any relevant national guidance, such as that issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people had (a) keyhole heart operations and (b) other heart operations on the NHS in the last five years in England and Wales. [146770]

Mr. Denham: Until very recently, cardiac procedures were not carried out using minimally invasive therapy (keyhole surgery). Research is currently under way into the use of such therapy for heart operations.

The number of heart operations carried out in the National Health Service during the last five years rose by 20 per cent. The figures are:

Number
1995-96153,784
1996-97162,186
1997-98161,508
1998-99177,711
1999-2000184,671

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Agricultural Hereditments

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his latest estimate is of the total value of the derating of agricultural hereditments calculated on the basis used in the oral answer given to the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras on 4 December 1980, Official Report, column 409. [145346]

Ms Quin [holding answer 15 January 2001]: Agricultural premises have been exempt from rates since 1929 and are not valued for rating purposes. There is therefore no reliable basis on which to make an estimate because a number of factors come into play but, very approximately, it is likely that rates would yield less than £140 million for England.

Agrimonetary Compensation

Mr. Moore: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent representations he has made to Her Majesty's Treasury to ensure that agrimonetary compensation is paid automatically each year. [145091]

Ms Quin [holding answer 15 January 2001]: No such representations have been made since the Council regulation providing for agrimonetary compensation expires at the end of this year.

Fishing Industry

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many fishing vessels were registered on 1 January in each of the last five years. [146270]

23 Jan 2001 : Column: 516W

Mr. Morley: The information is in the table.

UK fishing fleet(7)

Number of UK registered fishing vessels at 1 JanuaryTotal
19969,720
19978,667
19988,458
19998,271
20008,040

(7) Including Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Source:

UK Sea Fisheries Statistics


Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent discussions he has had with sea fishing industry representatives with regard to stock recovery programmes in waters fished by UK registered boats. [146271]

Mr. Morley: The UK Fisheries Conservation Group discussed the west of Scotland and North sea cod and the Northern hake recovery plans on 10 January. I was present for part of the meeting and heard the industry's concerns first hand. The industry were present in Brussels during last week's discussions of the cod recovery plan and were kept fully informed and consulted as the negotiations proceeded. They will also be similarly involved in the continuing discussions on the cod recovery plan this week as well as on the hake plan.

Mobile Homes (Flood Protection)

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce flood protection grants to mobile home owners towards the cost of raising the height of their homes above ground; and if he will make a statement. [146643]

Mr. Morley: I am replying as this Department is responsible for policy on flood and coastal defence. I have no plans to introduce such grants. Grant is available to operating authorities for capital defence schemes that meet specified criteria, and such schemes may provide flood alleviation for mobile home owners where it is sustainable to do so.


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