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Nursing Cadet Scheme

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Gateshead Health NHS Trust's nursing cadet scheme; and what plans there are to encourage other NHS trusts to practice similar recruitment techniques. [19060]

Jacqui Smith: The Gateshead Health national health service trust nurse cadet scheme, established in partnership by the trust and the University of Northumbria, creates a seamless career pathway for students into nurse training. The two year scheme commenced on 24 September 2001 with 12 participants. Cadets undertake both practice placements, supported by a mentor, and theoretical learning. On completion of their level 3 NVQ in Care they will step immediately into nurse training at the university.

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In September 1999 there were only 30 cadet schemes in England. By March 2001 this had more than doubled to in excess of 60 schemes. Following a national seminar on cadet schemes earlier this year, the Department undertook a varied work programme to ensure the continued expansion of cadet schemes throughout England.

Ministerial Visits (North-East)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many times since November 2000 Ministers from his Department have visited (a) the Teesside area and (b) Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency to meet with locally based businesses. [19075]

Jacqui Smith: Visits to the area have been made as follows:

3 November 2000Secretary of StateNew School of Health building, University of Teesside, MiddlesbroughOfficial opening of the new School of Health
30 March 2001Secretary of StateUniversity of Durham, Stockton campus, Stockton, TeessideExtra medical school places announcement
6 September 2001Minister of State (Jacqui Smith)Bankfields Court, Normanby, MiddlesbroughCommunity Care conference at Teesside University followed by visit to Tees and North East Yorkshire Trust

None of these have been set up with the intention of meeting locally based businesses.

Protection of Children Act

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many social services departments have not complied fully with the Protection of Children Act 1999; [19095]

Jacqui Smith: All children's services are regularly inspected by the Department's social services inspectorate. These inspections include scrutiny of the provisions for children's safeguards to ensure that the requirements of the Children Act and subsequent legislation and regulations are being implemented. This scrutiny therefore covers recruitment policies and practices and I can confirm that of the 60 councils whose children services have been inspected since August 1999, all have developed policies and procedures to check the suitability of staff working with children which are consistent with the requirements of current legislation and guidance. All councils will have been covered by 2004.

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prosecutions have been brought under the Protection of Children Act 1999 of (a) employers who fail to vet applicants for child care jobs and (b) individuals who have been banned from working with children applying to do so. [19097]

Jacqui Smith: The Protection of Children Act 1999 makes no provisions for prosecutions in this way. The type of offences referred to are to be found in Section 35 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. Information is not yet available centrally on the number of convictions relating to offences under this section of the Act.

Victoria Climbié

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Victoria Climbié Inquiry will publish its findings. [19378]

Jacqui Smith: My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Health and the Home Department will publish the findings of the Victoria Climbié Inquiry as soon as possible after receiving the report from Lord Laming, who is chairing the Inquiry. My right hon. Friends are expecting to receive the inquiry report next year.

Winter Pressures

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) method and (b) criteria he will use to apportion and spend the additional £300 million for social services departments to assist in tackling winter pressures. [19283]

Jacqui Smith: The grant determination under section 93 of the Local Government Act 2000 of the Building Care Capacity Grant for 2001–02 was published in November and placed on the Department's website jointunit/delayeddischarge. This sets out the allocations for all councils of the £100 million to be spent this financial year. Fifty five councils have been targeted for extra help on the basis of their high rates of delayed discharge or on the basis of a risk assessment using information drawn from

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our performance monitoring arrangements. No decision has yet been taken about the allocation of £200 million to be made available for 2002–03.

Child Protection (Unborn Children)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many unborn children were (a) placed on the child protection register and (b) taken off the child protection register in the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will list the reasons given for (i) placing an unborn child on the child protection register and (ii) removing an unborn child from the child protection register. [19434]

Jacqui Smith: The number of unborn children who were placed on, and removed from, child protection registers during the years ending 31 March 1997 to 2001 are given in the table.

Registrations to and de-registrations from child protection registers, of unborn children, during the years ending 31 March 1997–01 and number of unborn children on the registers at 31 March each year
England   numbers of unborn children(40)

Year ending 31 MarchOn the register at 31 MarchRegistrations during the yearDe-registrations during the year

(40) Figures are rounded to the nearest 100, figures less than 100 are rounded to the nearest 10

Where inquiries under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 give rise to concern that an unborn child may be at future risk of significant harm, the social services department may need to convene an initial child protection conference prior to the child's birth. Such a conference will have the same status, and should proceed in the same way, as other initial child protection conferences, including decisions about registration on the child protection register. The involvement of midwifery services is vital in such cases.

An unborn child will be registered on the child protection register if a decision is taken at the initial child protection conference that the unborn child is at continuing risk of significant harm. The act of registration itself confers no protection on a child, and should always be accompanied by a child protection plan.

An unborn child will be de-registered from the child protection register if the child dies or it is judged that the child is no longer at continuing risk of significant harm requiring safeguarding by means of a child protection plan. De-registration will also take place if the child's family have moved permanently to another local authority area. In this case, the receiving local authority should convene a child protection conference within 15 working days of being notified of the move, only after which event may de-registration take place in respect of the original local authority's child protection register.

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Strategic Health Authorities

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many strategic health authorities will be created in England under the powers in the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill. [20012]

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many strategic health authorities he expects to create under the NHS reform Bill. [20897]

Mr. Hutton: The consultation exercises on the proposed boundaries for 28 new, larger and more strategic, health authorities ended on 30 November 2001. The Department is still considering the final responses to the consultation exercises but expects to be in a position soon to announce the number and configuration of the new health authorities, to be established from 1 April 2002. Subject to passage of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Bill, the new health authorities should become strategic health authorities by October 2002.

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