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Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions were issued but not dispensed in each year since 1995; and if he will make a statement. [148083]

Ms Stuart: The information requested is not available centrally.

Doctors (Retention)

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many physicians who qualified in each year since 1990 left the profession within five years of qualification; and if he will make a statement. [148088]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not available centrally. However, the Department does commission occasional studies by the Medical Careers Research Group (MCRG) into the career patterns of newly qualified doctors from particular cohorts. The table shows the MCRG's estimates of the numbers of doctors not practising medicine, and the numbers not practising medicine in the United Kingdom, five years after qualification.

The percentage of graduates not practising medicine after five years has remained quite low for all cohorts, with no clear trends over time. For the 1993 cohort, only 5.2 per cent. were not practising medicine by 1998. The

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trend in those not practising medicine in the UK after five years also remains stable, but the latest figure is lower than in previous years at 8.8 per cent.

Patterns of retention--five years after qualification

Not practisin medicine after 5 years Not practising medicine in the UK after 5 years
Year of qualification Cohort sizeNumberPercentageNumberPercentage


The figures exclude non-respondents who are registered as doctors in the UK


Medical Careers Research Group


Chief Superintendents

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what considerations led him to reintroduce the rank of chief superintendent. [148170]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Criminal Justice and Police Bill currently before Parliament includes provision for the reintroduction of the rank of chief superintendent.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary gave approval for the rank of chief superintendent to be reintroduced at the earliest legislative opportunity following consultation with police service interests and on the recommendation of the Police Advisory Board (PAB). The PAB view was that the abolition of the rank from 1 April 1995 had led to operational and management difficulties.

Equal Treatment Directive (Women MPs)

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the implications for the ability of political parties to introduce measures aimed at increasing the representation of women in Parliament of the draft Equal Treatment Directive. [147698]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: This is a very complex issue which will involve analysis of relevant equality, employment and electoral law. The Home Office has recently agreed to lead this work, but it will involve cross-departmental consideration. I cannot yet estimate when conclusions will be reached.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the benefits are of the licensing procedures of substantial severity under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986; if these are dependent upon the species of animals used; and if he will make a statement; [148106]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The reply I gave the hon. Member on 8 November 2000, Official Report, column 253W, fully explained the criteria for placing scientific procedures on animals in the category of "substantial severity". That reply also made it clear that, for each licence application, the likely severity of the effects of a proposed procedure on the animals concerned are weighed against the benefits likely to accrue in medical research or other developments.

This is an area of research where, rightly, enormous care is taken in granting licences. This means that licences can allow protected animals to suffer substantially severe effects only in the relatively few cases where it appears justified by the significant medical, pharmaceutical and other research gains to be made (66 of the 3,481 project licences in force at the end of 1999 had substantial severity conditions). Even then, as I made clear in the earlier reply, licence holders are required to minimise pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm, and to approach the prescribed severity limit only when absolutely necessary.

The species of animals to be used may be a factor in determining severity limits, given the criteria for defining the categories and the known varying degrees of sentience between species. However, the judgment on severity limits is exercised with respect to the suffering to be encountered by a protected animal, rather than the species by itself.

The Guidance on the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, presented to Parliament in March 2000, states that the Secretary of State will not license any procedure likely to cause severe pain or distress which cannot be alleviated. This accords with section 10(2A) of the Act, which in turn refers to Council Directive No. 86/609/EEC, regarding use of anaesthesia and analgesics. As a further safeguard, all project licences contain a standard condition (number 6) requiring that only the minimum justifiable animal suffering is caused and personal licences all bear a standard condition (number 14) requiring the prompt and humane destruction of an animal that is in severe pain or distress that cannot be alleviated. In addition, Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectors have the power to require the prompt and humane killing of any protected animal they consider to be suffering excessively or unnecessarily.

There are no current plans to exclude major surgery and xenotransplantation from the substantial severity category. Each application for a licence to undertake such procedures will continue to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Metropolitan Police

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special police constables were serving in each of the Metropolitan policing divisions in December 2000. [147841]

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Mr. Charles Clarke: Information is not collected centrally in the form requested. The information shown in the table has been provided by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis:

BoroughNumber of special constables
Barking and Dagenham20
Hammersmith and Fulham17
Kensington and Chelsea24
Tower Hamlets17
Waltham Forest16

In addition to the officers serving in boroughs, 10 officers are attached to Territorial Policing, 14 officers are serving with the Marine Support Unit based at Wapping and eight officers are based at Heathrow. A further four officers are currently unallocated.

In total there are 763 special constables serving in the Metropolitan police district.


Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the effect of smoking cannabis on the probability of taking other controlled drugs. [147949]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) on 31 October 2000, Official Report, column 430W.

Asylum Seekers (Eastbourne)

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are housed in temporary accommodation in Eastbourne. [147798]

Mrs. Roche: As at 26 January 2000, there were five asylum seekers (including dependants) supported under the national asylum support scheme housed in temporary accommodation in Eastbourne.

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