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Mobile Telephones

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list, for 1997–98 and for each subsequent financial year, the amount spent (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) abroad by (i) his Department, (ii) its agencies and (iii) its non-departmental public bodies on (1) providing mobile telephone equipment, including handsets and other associated equipment, (2) telephone calls made using such equipment and (3) telephone calls made using privately owned mobile telephones but subsequently reclaimed by (x) Ministers and (y) staff. [34396]

Mr. Paul Murphy: This information is not readily available.

Accountancy Services

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the total cost to his Department was for accountancy services in each of the last four years. [34168]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The notional cost of the accountancy services provided to the Wales Office by the National Assembly for Wales was £25,000 in 2000–01 and £19,000 in 1999–2000 (for the period July to March). The figure for 2001–02 is not yet available and figures are not available for the former Welsh Office.

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National Assembly

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from the Welsh Assembly Government regarding the further devolution of powers to the National Assembly for Wales; and if he will make a statement. [32220]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I meet the First Minister and other Assembly Ministers regularly to discuss matters of common interest, including the suggestion that animal health powers should be transferred to the Assembly.

Devolved Functions

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues concerning devolving more functions to the National Assembly for Wales. [35711]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular discussions with my colleagues about a variety of issues, including representations made to me by the National Assembly for Wales.

Ministerial Boxes

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales by what means ministerial boxes are conveyed from private offices in his Department to (a) himself and (b) his fellow Ministers; how frequently and at what expense private courier firms are employed for such a task; and which courier firms have been used for such duties. [36286]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Ministerial boxes originating from this Department are transported to Ministers' homes either by Government car or by a service provided by the Royal Mail.


Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what meetings Wales Office Ministers have had since 1997 with Enron representatives; and on what dates. [34611]

Mr. Paul Murphy: None since the establishment of the Wales Office in July 1999.


Departmental Expenditure Limit

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans there are to amend the Department of Health departmental expenditure limit and administration costs limit for 2001–02. [37368]

Mr. Milburn: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Department of Health, Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) will be increased by £231,363,000 from £50,573,402,000 to £50,804,765,000. This includes a change in the Administration Cost Limit which will decrease by £3,584,000 from £321,935,000 to £318,351,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are set out in the following table.

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New DEL48,872,6731,932,092
Of which voted49,364,233483,499

The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from the take up of end-year flexibility £120,000,000 for health authority allocations as set out in Table 6 of the Public Expenditure 2000–01 Provisional Outturn White Paper Cm 5243 published in July 2001. A claim of £30,000,000 on the Reserve for variant CJD compensation. An additional £6,267.000 from HM Treasury as a result of technical adjustments following changes in accounting arrangements for some PFI schemes. A net transfer to the National Assembly of Wales of £2,493,000, £3,683,000 for out-of-area treatment costs, dental service increment for teaching, cross border flows and high security psychiatric services, partially offset by a transfer of £1,190,000 for regional re-costing and post graduate education. Transfers from Northern Ireland totalling £2,030,000, £68,000 for post graduate training, £1,941,000 for out of area treatment costs and £21,000 (of which £7,000 administration costs) for contributions to committees and non-departmental public bodies. Transfer to the Home Office of £1,569,000, £2,767,000 for drug action teams and match funded social care projects, offset by £1,098,000 for costs arising from the Victoria Climbie Inquiry and £100,000 for medium secure units. A net transfer to the Department for Education and Skills of £613,000, comprising of £750,000 for the National Institute of Psychiatry and £100,000 for a learning and development website package, offset by a transfer of £237,000 for the costs of Protection of Children Act tribunal and Care Standards tribunal. Transfer to the Lord Chancellors Department of £164,000, (of which £123,000 administration costs) for Care Standards tribunals and family health services appeals authority recruitment. A transfer to the Department for Work and Pensions of £1,095,000 for the road traffic accidents work of the compensation recovery unit. A transfer from the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions of £80,000,000, for building care capacity offset by £1,000,000, for the Rough Sleepers Unit.

The administration cost limit has decreased by £3,584,000 from £321,935,000 to £318,351,000. In addition to the changes detailed above there is an increase of £2,290,000, mainly for education and training and the modernisation agency, offset by £5,758,000, for capitalised in house software developments and other IT software and hardware.The increases will be offset by inter-departmental transfers and the planned total of public claim on the reserve, and will not therefore add to expenditure.


Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 5 November, Official Report, column 111W, what restrictions on doctors within the non-consultant grades with potential to become consultants he regards as unnecessary; when he plans to remove these restrictions; and if he will make a statement. [16219]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 19 November 2001]: In order to be appointed to a consultant post in the national health service, a doctor has to have his or her name included on the specialist register. This register lists the names of those doctors who hold the United Kingdom Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) or, for doctors trained overseas, enter the UK already possessing qualifications considered by the specialist training authority of the medical royal colleges (STA) to be equivalent to a CCST. There is no provision, in law, for doctors with specialist medical training, but no formal qualification, to enter the register. Similarly, there is no provision for doctors wishing to 'top-up' their specialist training to the required standard by undertaking further training in the UK then to enter the specialist register.

We wish to amend these provisions to provide a route to the specialist register through an 'equivalence of training' provision. A doctor would be assessed by the STA to evaluate whether the sum of his or her training and qualifications, wherever obtained, is equivalent to a CCST in his or her specialty in the UK. This will provide a direct, assessed route to the specialist register while ensuring that standards do not slip and that patient safety is not compromised.

Our aim, subject to consultation and parliamentary approval, is to have the amended legislation in place by summer 2002.

Approved Hospital Providers (EU)

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision he has made in relation to liability of approved hospital providers in the EU. [16853]

Mr. Hutton: An overseas provider treating a national health service patient pursuant to a contract with an NHS commissioning body will clearly be potentially liable to the patient for any medical negligence. However, although the law is not fully developed in this area, English courts may decide that the NHS body commissioning that treatment was also potentially liable. Commissioners therefore need to seek appropriate indemnities against any claims from foreign providers.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses have been (a) disciplined and (b) sacked for (i) drug-taking offences and (ii) stealing NHS medical drugs in each year since 1997. [24300]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 8 January 2002]: Data for the discipline or sacking of nurses involved with drug-taking offences or stealing of national health service medical NHS drugs are not collected centrally but may be held at a local level by employers.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many times agency staff were used to fulfil shifts in acute hospitals by (a) authority area and (b) trust presented (i) numerically and (ii) as a proportion of all nurse shifts for each of the last three years for which figures are available. [16396]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not collected centrally. However, information from the Audit Commissioning report 2001 states that on a typical day about 20,000 bank and agency staff work in national health service trusts, covering 10 per cent. of shifts.

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