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Female GPs (Pensions)

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on pension rights for female GPs. [25585]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 17 January 2002]: The pension rights for female general practitioners are the same as those for male GPs, apart from the treatment of widows' and widowers' benefits. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the former Member for North Norfolk on 13 January 1999, Official Report, column 212W.

Redwood Hospital

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he agreed a price for the PPP deal at Redwood hospital between the Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust and BUPA; if a final agreement had been signed off prior to his announcement of the deal on 4 December 2001; what the price is per patient of treatment in the PPP deal at Redwood hospital; and what estimate he has made of the number of nurses who will need to be recruited to increase the capacity at the Redhill/Redwood hospital site following the BUPA deal. [27846]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 17 January 2002]: On 4 December 2001 we announced that we are in discussion over a proposal for the BUPA Redwood facility to become a diagnostic and treatment centre, treating national health service patients. Discussions of a range of detailed issues—including prices and staffing issues—are continuing. Our aim is to secure high quality services for patients and value for money. A final agreement will not be signed until discussions are satisfactorily concluded.

Stroke Services

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which NHS trusts employ (a) stroke nurse consultants and (b) stroke liaison nurses; [28051]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 January 2002]: The information requested is not collected centrally. However, the National Service Framework for Older People includes a standard for stroke. The service model for integrated stroke services and the milestones for action apply equally to all stroke patients, irrespective of age.

It is the role of health authorities, in partnership with primary care groups and trusts, to decide what services to provide for their populations including the employment of stroke nurses. They are best placed to understand local health needs and commission services to meet them.

The NSF will need to cover or link to prevention, acute care, rehabilitation and long-term support for stroke patients and their carers. April 2002 is the milestone for every general hospital which cares for people with stroke to have plans to introduce a specialised stroke service from 2004.

Southend General Hospital

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason the closure of the cancer unit at Southend General Hospital is under consideration; and which body or person has the responsibility for determining the minimum catchment area size of such units. [28011]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 17 January 2002]: The closure of the cancer unit at Southend hospital national health service trust is not under consideration. The body which determines the minimum catchment area of cancer networks is the relevant regional office of the Department. Cancer networks in the eastern region were last reviewed in 1999. The south Essex cancer network was endorsed by NHS executive eastern despite the fact it falls below the Calman-Hine recommendation that cancer networks should serve a minimum population of 1 million. Current cancer services in the south Essex cancer network serves a population of approximately 680,000.

Barium Enemas

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what performance targets he has set for the waiting time for a barium enema. [28305]

Yvette Cooper: We have acknowledged the importance of diagnostic procedures, and are encouraging hospitals to streamline their services so that tests are carried out, and a diagnosis made, as quickly as possible.

There are no specific performance targets set for the waiting time for a barium enema. However, where this diagnostic procedure is to be used to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of bowel cancer, specific targets have been set. From July 2000, a two week out-patient waiting time standard has been introduced for urgent general practitioner referrals of patients with suspected bowel cancer.

The length of time that a patient might have to wait for any diagnostic procedure is dependent on their clinical condition with priority given to urgent cases.

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Antipsychotic Medicines

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made as to the opinion of psychiatrists on the efficacy of atypical antipsychotic medicines. [13783]

Jacqui Smith: The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) is the United Kingdom Government agency responsible for ensuring that all medicines on the UK market are safe, effective and of suitable quality. Any new drug substance which has not been marketed before in the UK will be assessed by the MCA's independent advisory committee—the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM). The CSM has psychiatrists among its membership and can also bring in psychiatric expertise if necessary on an ad hoc basis. The CSM assesses medicines purely on the basis of safety versus efficacy and does not consider cost effectiveness.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has been asked to provide guidance concerning the clinical and cost effectiveness of atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of schizophrenia. The process of drawing up this guidance involves a detailed appraisal of the available literature followed by drafting of the guidance. The latter activity will include a range of expertise, including psychiatric.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Theft and Fraud

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his estimate is of the cost of theft and fraud to (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies in each of the last four years. [27981]

Mr. MacShane: The cost of theft from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK over the last four years can be broken down into:


Regulatory Impact Assessments

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many regulatory impact assessments have been produced by his Department since August 2001; and if he will list those produced (a) following initial consultation with affected parties about the most appropriate methodology for assessing costs and other impacts and (b) which set out full commercial impacts, including profitability, employment, consumer prices and competitiveness, as recommended in Good Policy Making. [28402]

Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have produced no regulatory impact assessments since August 2001. For further information, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, on 17 January 2002, Official Report, column 483W.

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Religious Persecution

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what training is available in his Department in the recognition of religious persecution. [28644]

Peter Hain: Promotion of human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience and religion, is at the heart of our foreign policy. We condemn instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith or belief, wherever they happen and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned.

Our approach is to treat religious freedom as an integral part of our foreign policy. Protecting and promoting freedom of religion is most effective when it is done in the context of the promotion and protection of other human rights. So we emphasise that human rights are everyone's business. That is why we have made human rights an essential element of training for all policy officers, including ambassadors.

We work closely with Amnesty International and other NGOs in designing and running our Human Rights courses. Courses are open to members of other Government Departments, including the Home Office, to attend.

In addition all decision-makers in the Joint Entry Clearance Unit and staff serving overseas as Entry Clearance Officers or Managers or Consular Officers receive training on the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1999 and the European Convention on Human Rights, which includes freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

The FCO also offers its staff a wide-ranging programme of training on inclusion and diversity issues. Our Managing Inclusion course is core training for all grades, both at home and overseas. Regional diversity training is also available for staff engaged locally overseas.

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what resources are available in his Department to monitor human rights violations of Christians; [28643]

Peter Hain: Promotion of human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience and religion, is at the heart of our foreign policy. We condemn instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith or belief, wherever they happen and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned.

The Human Rights Policy Department (HRPD) is the FCO's central point of advice and expertise on human rights, including freedom of religion. But we emphasise that human rights are everyone's business. Staff at our posts and on geographical desks in London monitor human rights abuses overseas, including persecution of Christians. Human rights is an essential element of training for policy staff, including ambassadors and staff serving overseas as entry clearance officers or managers.

The FCO, in a number of ways, supports practical projects promoting human rights on the ground, including through the Human Rights Project Fund (HRPF). Since

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its inception in April 1998, the fund has supported over 400 projects and allocated more than £15 million in some 90 countries around the world. Its budget for financial year 2001–02 has been increased to £6.8 million.

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of Christians persecuted across the world in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [28608]

Peter Hain: Promotion of human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience and religion, is at the heart of our foreign policy. We condemn instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith or belief, wherever they happen and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned.

Staff at our posts and on geographical desks in London monitor human rights abuses overseas, including persecution of Christians. But the FCO does not collate figures on the number of Christians persecuted across the world, not least because of the difficulty in defining this category.

Collecting this information for this PQ would represent a disproportionate cost.


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