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Asylum Seekers

Mr. Corbett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers he has to detain all asylum seekers. [158336]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 23 April 2001]: The powers to detain individuals are set out in paragraph 16 of schedule 2, and in paragraph 2 of schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971. These need to be exercised consistently with article 5 of the European convention on human rights, and with detention policy. There is no blanket power to detain all asylum seekers and the

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exercise of such a blanket power would almost certainly raise issues under the European convention on human rights.

Sex Offenders

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will add anti-androgen pharmacological treatments to the sex offenders regime. [158522]

Mr. Boateng: The Prison Service's principal means of reducing reoffending by sex offenders is the sex offender treatment programme (SOTP), which is based on cognitive-behavioural principles. The service is aware of the value of anti-androgen treatment for some sexual offenders, and will be considering the extent to which it should be used as an adjunct to psychological therapy.

Immigration Detainees (Battersea)

Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigration detainees were held in Battersea police stations in the past 12 months; and what was the average length of detention. [158736]

Mrs. Roche: The information requested is only held in manual form and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Since 1 April, the immigration service has sought to transfer individuals held by the police solely under Immigration Act powers to dedicated immigration detention facilities after no more than one night spent in custody at a police station.

Crime (Lancashire)

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his Department has assessed the effect the installation of CCTV cameras has had on the reduction of crime in Burnley and Lancashire; and if he will make a statement. [158402]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Police operational experience and various research studies show that closed circuit television (CCTV) has considerable crime reduction and detection potential, particularly when used as part of a wider strategy.

The independent evaluation recently carried out on behalf of Burnley borough council of the "Piloting Neighbourhoods, Burnley" scheme suggests that there has been a reduction in crime of 49 per cent. from the period one year prior to the installation to one year after the installation of CCTV. This residential scheme was funded in 1997 under round 3 of CCTV challenge. The evaluation of Burnley town centre's CCTV scheme, funded in 1996 under round 2 of CCTV challenge, suggested that there had been a reduction in crime of one quarter after the installation of cameras.

We are not aware of any evaluations being carried out into the effect of CCTV in Lancashire as a whole. Schemes funded under round 1 of the CCTV initiative are still being implemented. They will need to have been in place for at least 12 months before their impact can be fully evaluated. Crime and disorder reduction partnerships will also be evaluating schemes locally.

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Lord Birt

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions, and on what dates, (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have met Lord Birt in his capacity as an adviser on crime; and if he will make a statement about the contribution of Lord Birt to his Department's policies. [158238]

Mr. Straw: I met Lord Birt on two occasions on 25 May and again on 15 December 2000. My right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend the Ministers of State met Lord Birt on 17 October. These meetings focused on analysing existing data on offenders, offences and victims and crime reduction.

HEALTH

Premature Babies

Mrs. Fitzsimons: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many premature babies were born in the Greater Manchester area in 2000. [157230]

Mr. Denham: Information is not available in the form requested for the year 2000. However, in 1997-98, an estimated 2,900 babies were born in National Health Service hospitals in Greater Manchester prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation). This represents about 8 per cent. of total NHS hospital births in Greater Manchester.



GP : Patient Ratios

Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average number of patients per general practitioner is in (a) England, (b) the north-west, (c) north Cheshire and (d) Halton. [157842]

Mr. Denham: The average list size of unrestricted principals and equivalents in England, the north-west region, North Cheshire health authority and Runcorn and Widnes primary care groups (PCGs) as at 30 September 2000 is shown on the table.

Average list size of unrestricted principals and equivalents in England; the north-west region; North Cheshire health authority (HA) and Runcorn and Widnes primary care groups (PCG) as at 30 September 2000

Average list size
England1,853
North-west region1,880
North Cheshire HA1,918
Runcorn PCG1,821
Widnes PCG1,972

Medical Negligence

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been paid in compensation by the NHS for medical negligence in each of the last 20 years. [158338]

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Mr. Denham: Figures on the amounts included in the national audit summarised accounts for clinical negligence payments for the latest available years are as follows:

£ million
1996-97235
1997-98144
1998-99221
1999-2000373

Notes:

1. Figures prior to 1996-97 are not available because clinical negligence was not separately identified in the accounts prior to that date.

2. The 1999-2000 figure is provisional as it is subject to audit.

3. Changes to accounting policies mean that these amounts are not directly comparable.

Source:

National Health Service summarised accounts for health authorities, NHS trusts and NHS Litigation Authority.


Victoria Climbie

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 25 January 2001, Official Report, column 687W, on Victoria Climbie (a) when he expects to set up the statutory inquiry and (b) what the remit of the inquiry will be. [158354]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 23 April 2001]: Further announcements about the statutory inquiry into the circumstances leading to and surrounding the death of Victoria Climbie were made on 20 April 2001. The inquiry has been established by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State under powers in section 81 of the Children Act 1989 and section 84 of the National Health Service Act 1977, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department under section 49 of the Police Act 1996. Lord Laming of Tewin has been appointed to conduct the inquiry. The terms of reference have been placed in the Library. The date of the preliminary meeting will be announced shortly.

Nutriprem 2

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) on what date the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances first reviewed Nutriprem 2; what recommendations that Committee made about its suitability for prescription; and if those recommendations have been implemented; [158193]

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which advisory committees of his Department have considered the suitability of Nutriprem 2 for availability on prescription; when that consideration was undertaken; what conclusions were reached; if those conclusions have been implemented; and if he will make a statement; [158319]

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Ms Stuart [holding answer 23 April 2001]: Pre-term infant formulae were originally considered by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) in 1992. Their conclusion at that time was that prematurity was not a medical condition and that it would not be appropriate for such formulae to be supplied on national health service prescription. In consequence, pre-term infant formulae have been included in Schedule 10 to the National Health Service (General Medical Services) Regulations 1992, and may not therefore be prescribed on the NHS.

An application for an ACBS recommendation for Nutriprem 2 was made on 8 February 1999 which the Committee considered at its meetings on 29 March and 15 June of that year and on 31 January 2000. At its meeting on 31 January 2000, the Committee decided to reverse its earlier view and agreed to recommend Nutriprem 2 as suitable for prescription by GPs at NHS expense for catch-up growth in pre-term infants (ie less than 35 weeks at birth), and small in size for gestational aged infants, until six months post-natal age. Unfortunately, at that time, the fact that Nutriprem 2 was included in schedule 10 was overlooked. At its meeting on 16 May 2000, the Committee recommended that Nutriprem 2 should be removed from schedule 10.

The Department has been considering whether the reasons which the Committee has given for reversing its earlier decision are sufficiently convincing to justify the additional cost to the NHS of removing this product from schedule 10. We expect to announce our decision in due course.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average period is between a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances that a product is suitable for prescription and a decision to implement that decision; and what the average period of consideration given by his Department is to recommendations from that Committee in respect of Nutriprem 2. [158320]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 23 April 2001]: General practitioners may prescribe any product which they consider to be a drug, unless it is included in schedule 10 to the National Health Service (General Medical Services) Regulations, provided they are prepared to justify their decision to the health authority. The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances provides advice to the national health service, the effect of which is that prescriptions issued in accordance with the Committee's advice will not normally be investigated. Generally, therefore, there is no decision for the Department to take when the ACBS has recommended that a product is suitable for prescription. Indeed, I know of no case other than pre-term infant formulae where the ACBS has recommended as suitable for prescription products which cannot be prescribed because they are included in schedule 10. There is thus no average time with which to compare the time taken to consider the ACBS's recommendations on these products.


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