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Beef Imports

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to review the Fresh Meat (Beef Controls) Regulations 1996; and if he will list the countries from which over-30-month beef may be imported. [156484]

Ms Stuart: The Fresh Meat (Beef Controls) (No 2) Regulations 1996 set out the generally applicable ban on the sale for human consumption of beef from cattle aged over thirty months at slaughter (OTM rule).

As far as United Kingdom slaughterings are concerned, I am advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that, as recommended in its review of BSE controls, it intends to review in August 2001 the effectiveness of the tightened animal feed controls introduced in August 1996 and the evidence of BSE incidence five years after that time. Depending on the outcome of that review, it is anticipated that it may be possible in early 2002 for the FSA to advise the date of birth of cattle that need not enter the OTM scheme and which could be sold for human consumption. This date of birth could not be earlier than August 1996 when the enhanced feed ban was

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implemented. Such a change could not be introduced unilaterally but would require the agreement of the European Commission and other member states.

Beef from cattle aged OTM at slaughter may be imported from any country but it may only be sold for human consumption if it comes from animals that were born, reared and slaughtered in Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Mauritius, Namibia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Poland, South Africa, Swaziland, Uruguay, United States of America and Zimbabwe. These are countries that historically supplied the UK and in which there was no history of BSE. The review of BSE controls recognised the need to keep up to date the list of countries that are considered to be BSE free and I am advised by the FSA that it is being reviewed in the light of recent European Union assessments of geographical risk.

Copies of the FSA's review of BSE controls are available in the Library.

Urologist Consultants

Mr. Pound: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many urologist consultants are projected to be in post in 2005. [157086]

Mr. Denham: Figures from the specialty workforce advisory group show that the number of consultants in the urology specialty in England and Wales is set to increase from 442 in 1999 to 570 in 2005, an increase of nearly a third.

Mr. Pound: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultant urologist posts there were in the NHS in (a) 1990, (b) 1995 and (c) 2000; and how many of those posts were vacant. [157109]

Mr. Denham: The number of consultant urologists in each year mentioned is set out in the table.

Hospital medical urology consultants

At 30 SeptemberNumber
1990220
1995310
2000380

Notes:

1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10

2. Figures exclude locums

3. These are headcount figures

Source:

Department of Health medical and dental workforce census


We are unable to provide vacancy information for consultant urologists. Vacancy information for the surgical group, which includes urology, is set out in the table.

Department of Health vacancies survey: Number of consultant vacancies in the surgical group three month vacancy figures(81) England

YearVacancies
199960
200062

(81) Posts that had been vacant for three months or more at 31 March each year.

Notes:

1. Figures are whole-time equivalents rounded to the nearest whole number.

2. Vacancy information has been collected only since 1999.

Source:

Department of Health vacancies survey


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EU Tobacco Directive

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is his intention to apply for a derogation until 2007 for the EU Directive on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. [156798]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 4 April 2001]: The Directive on manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products, once adopted, will permit member states to delay applying new tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine limits to cigarettes intended for export outside the European Community until January 2007. We will consult in due course on the details of transposing the Directive into United Kingdom law, including the length of the transitional period for third country exports. Ministers will take a final decision in the light of that consultation.

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is the intention of the Government to publish its preferred position on derogation of the implementation of the EU Directive on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products prior to consultations on the transposition of the directive into UK law. [156799]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 4 April 2001]: We will consult on the policy options for transposing this Directive into United Kingdom law in due course, including the length of any derogations. Ministers will then take final decisions in the light of that consultation.

Care Homes

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish the national minimum standards for care homes for adults; and if he will make a statement. [157280]

Mr. Hutton: We hope to be able to publish the consultation document on the care homes regulations and the national minimum standards for care homes for younger adults and adult placements in the next few weeks.

Child Sex Abuse

Ms Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 12 March 2001, Official Report, column 423W, how many local authorities have access within their local areas to specialist services for children who sexually abuse other children. [157363]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 6 April 2001]: The information requested is not held centrally.

Under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 it is the duty of every local authority to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need. Children who sexually abuse other children are likely to have considerable, often complex, needs.

Consequently, children who sexually abuse other children may receive a whole range of services from several different agencies including social services, Youth Offending Teams, health authorities and voluntary organisations.

Consultancy Payments

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total gross running costs were to his

9 Apr 2001 : Column: 452W

Department of fees and disbursements paid to consultants (a) in the period February 1996 to January 1997 and (b) in the financial year 1996-97. [157614]

Ms Stuart: The Department's expenditure on external management consultants in the financial year 1996-97 was £15.789 million.

The Department does not hold the 1996 data in a form that would allow us to calculate the consultancy spend over the specific period February 1996 to January 1997.

Newcastle City Health Trust

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what deficit he expects in respect of (a) elderly and (b) rehabilitation services of the former Newcastle City Health Trust; if (i) bridging and (ii) brokerage finance has been agreed; and if the successor trusts will receive similar support. [157100]

Mr. Hutton: The Newcastle City Health National Health Service Trust is forecasting a revenue breakeven position for 2000-01. Information on the financial position of individual service components of the trust is not held centrally.

The trust received £1 million assistance in respect of the Newcastle strategic review (NSR) bridging arrangements, which was partially funded from national special assistance funding. This funding is non-repayable. In addition, the trust received £1.8 million cash in March 2001, which will become repayable in April 2001 from successor organisations as part of the management of year end balances in the local health economy. Newcastle and North Tyneside health authority is to receive £2.5 million national special assistance in 2001-02.

Bed Closures (Newcastle)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when, and by whom, it was decided to close beds at Hunters Moor Hospital, Newcastle; on what grounds the decision was taken; and when those beds will be reopened. [157102]

Mr. Hutton: Northgate and Prudhoe National Health Service Trust agreed in October 2000 to upgrade the facilities for patients as soon as possible after they began to manage the rehabilitation services provided at Hunters Moor Hospital, as requested by both Newcastle and North Tyneside health authority and Newcastle community health council. Work to upgrade facilities began in December and five beds were closed at that time. Three beds reopened as work progressed and as of 4 April all beds were open.


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