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Delayed Discharges

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital beds were unavailable in each quarter in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001 to incoming patients from the Buckingham constituency as a result of their occupation by (i) delayed discharge patients who were awaiting social services funding and (ii) delayed discharge patients who had fully funded social services packages arranged. [17856]

Jacqui Smith: Information is not collected centrally in the format requested.

Quarterly information for Buckinghamshire health authority, for patients aged 75 and over, has been placed in the Library.

Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what date the commencement of the demolition of Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital in Alton, Hampshire was decided; and who gave the instruction. [31341]

Ms Blears: Demolition is currently under way on the site of the Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital. The land was sold by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to a private developer in November 2001. The demolition of existing buildings and the future development of the site is in the control of the new owner.

Departmental Savings

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the saving to public funds in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02 is from the abolition of 14 administrative forms, referred to on page 17 of the 2001 departmental report. [14910]

Mr. Hutton: The Department does not hold information on the savings to public funds from this measure. The 14 forms abolished were administrative forms which the Department issued in respect of applications for grants, licences, registrations etc. These forms were abolished in pursuance of Government policy to reduce regulatory burdens on business, charities and voluntary organisations including reducing the burdens of form filling where this can be done without removing the necessary controls.


Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that pharmacists are represented on each of the primary care trusts when they are fully established. [25535]

Ms Blears: Current legislation allows for the inclusion of all family health service contractors, including pharmacists, to be members of the primary care trust. Professional membership of the PCT has to reflect the services for which it is responsible.

Staff to Beds Ratio

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the ratio of administration staff to total number of beds operating in the national health service was for each of the last 10 years. [14342]

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Ms Blears [holding answer 13 November 2001]: The information requested is in the table. Comparative figures for 2001 are not yet available. Between 1996–97 and 2000–01 NHS management costs have fallen by £848 million and we remain on course to meet our manifesto commitment of £1 billion savings by 31 March 2002.

Administration and estates staff(19)Total daily average of NHS Beds(20)Ratio(21)

(19) Figures are the headcount of Administration and Estates staff collected on 30 September each year in the Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

(20) Total Daily Average of NHS beds are the overnight beds, ie beds in wards open overnight. All NHS operating beds, includes other categories of beds such as beds that are in day only wards and NHS residential care beds, which are nursing home beds managed by the NHS. Source of data is Korner return KHO3 "bed availability and occupancy".

(21) Ratios have been rounded to one decimal point.


Child Abduction

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions his Department has had with the Romanian authorities regarding abduction of children from that country; [26490]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply.

The United Kingdom and Romania are both parties to the 1980 Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction. In total we have received four requests for the return of children allegedly abducted from Romania, of which two are currently outstanding. Other than the liaison between the respective central authorities in relation to these cases, there have been no recent discussions between my Department and the Romanian authorities on the subject of child abduction. My Department does not have information about police investigations into alleged child abduction cases.

Wolvercote Clinic

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Wolvercote clinic will move out of Epsom by the end of March according to schedule; and if he will make a statement. [33717]

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Beverley Hughes [holding answer 5 February 2002]: The lease on the site at Horton hospital for the Wolvercote clinic has been extended to 30 April 2002.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy that the unlawful possession of a significant quantity of a controlled drug should constitute prima facie evidence of intent to supply; and if he will make a statement. [34778]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The intent to supply may be proved in a number of ways, for example by the circumstances, an admission, or the evidence of a witness. The quantity of the drug found is often an important consideration, but it is not always conclusive; drug dealers do not always carry large quantities. The Government and the police believe that the circumstances of the arrest are more important and that introducing a threshold would limit the effectiveness of enforcement action against drug dealers.

Arranged Marriages

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the regulations on arranged marriages. [34150]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 7 February 2002]: The immigration rules relating to marriage are applied equally to all applicants. There are no regulations which relate specifically to arranged marriages.


Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 23 November 2001 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mrs. F. Qamar. [29964]

Mr. Blunkett: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 6 February 2002.

Age Discrimination

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his Department has taken to tackle discrimination against older people. [16330]

Mr. Blunkett: The Home Office Older Volunteers Initiative was launched in January 1999. Its aim is to improve the quality and quantity of volunteering for those aged 50 and over. £1.5 million has been committed over three years. Eighteen projects have been completed while eight are still ongoing. As part of the initiative the Home Office's Active Community Unit has produced a resource pack, "Lifelong Action", to promote good practice in attracting and retaining older volunteers. The initiative is being evaluated by a team from the University of Surrey at Roehampton and their evaluation report is due to be published and distributed by March 2002.

Following the recommendation of the Winning the Generation Game report, the Home Office has established the Experience Corps to encourage more people aged 50 plus, specifically those aged between 50 and 65 years old, to become involved in their local community through volunteering. The Home Office is providing the

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Experience Corps with £19 million over three years. Formed in March 2001 and chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross, the Experience Corps is aiming to have 120,000 volunteers in place by March 2004. The company started the roll out of this initiative in the north west, north east and Yorkshire and Humberside regions in November 2001 and in the London region in January 2002. Details of the Experience Corps are at

The Home Office's employment policy on discrimination is set out in our equal opportunities statement. It gives the Department's commitment that staff and job applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of any 'irrelevant factor', which would normally include age. The statement is currently being updated.

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