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Child Benefit

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he plans to give child benefit to foster carers who look after children under the age of 16. [34629]

Malcolm Wicks: I have been asked to reply.

Financial support for looked after children, including those placed with foster carers, is proved by local authorities under section 23 of the Children Act 1989. Foster carers receive an allowance under section 23 and are therefore not eligible for Child Benefit.

24-hour Community Services

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on 24-hour community services care. [23700]

Jacqui Smith: People's needs can arise at any time and we expect councils with social services responsibilities to have arrangements in place to enable them to respond appropriately and promptly.

A recent report "Out Of Hours" from the social services inspectorate recommends councils should review their out of hours services. The report gives a range of good practice examples.

In addition, the Care Direct helpline, which is currently being piloted, will provide information and practical help for older people around the clock, and the NHS Plan announced our commitment to establish crisis resolution teams which can be accessed 24 hours a day by those with specialist mental health needs. The provision of intermediate care should include a rapid response service, available out of hours, to ensure people may remain independent at home.

Public-Private Partnerships (Trusts)

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's answer of 12 December 2001, Official Report, column 889W, on capital assets, if he will place in the Library information on the accounting treatment of the public-private partnership projects relating to (a) Leicestershire and Rutland Headquarters NHST, (b) York Health Services NHST Provision of MRI Service, (c) Leeds Community and Mental Health NHST Information System, (d) Rotherham General Hospitals NHST Entrance Redevelopment, and (e) Royal National Orthopaedic NHST; and if he will make a statement. [24177]

Mr. Hutton: We have today placed in the Library information on the accounting treatment of the public- private partnership (PPP) projects for Royal National Orthopaedic National Health Service Trust; York Health

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Services NHS Trust (provision of Magnetic Resonance Imaging service); Leeds Community and Mental Health NHS Trust (Information System) and Rotherham General Hospitals NHS Trust Concourse.

There is no formal written audit opinion for Leicestershire and Rutland Headquarters NHS Trust although the accounting treatment of this building has regularly been discussed with the trust's auditors. The trust have confirmed that it is accounted for as an operating lease.

Mental Health

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital admissions there were in the most recent year for which figures are available in respect of (a) a disabling anxiety disorder, (b) clinical depression, (c) manic depression and (d) schizophrenia. [24539]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 8 January 2002]: The information is not available in the format requested.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he last met Ministers from the Department for Works and Pensions to discuss ways of helping those with mental health problems to find paid employment. [36879]

Jacqui Smith: The Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions officials continue to work very closely together to ensure that policies are implemented across Government to empower all disabled people, including those with mental health problems, to make the most of their abilities at work and in the wider society.

Drug Awareness Programmes

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on drug awareness programmes in England in each of the last 20 years. [25124]

Ms Blears: The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has made the following amounts available to directly support drug, alcohol and tobacco education in schools through the Standards Fund, Grants for Education and Support Training, and Education Support Grants. The figures in the table are from 1986–87 to 2002–03. DfES may have made moneys available prior to 1986–87 and will have also made other moneys available to support drug, alcohol and tobacco education in schools indirectly, but these figures could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

£ million

The following table details the DfES moneys allocated to the Health Education Authority (HEA) through the Standards Fund for Drug Education. These figures taken

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from the HEA's annual reports indicate how much was spent in the year beginning 1995 to 2000 on drug awareness programmes. These figures are taken from funding for drug education programmes as a whole.

£ million

The Department also funded the HEA's National Drugs Campaign. Before 1998–99, the figure for the HEA National Drugs Campaign was £5 million per year. For 1998–99 the Department paid £2.0 million. For 1999–2000 and in 2000–01 the HEA had finished its work.

Ambulance Waiting Times (Havering)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time is for an ambulance in the London Borough of Havering, in response to an emergency 999 call. [26458]

Ms Blears: Information about the response times to emergency calls and other requests for transport is collected by the Department by ambulance service and not by borough. Information for London Ambulance National Health Service Trust, which covers the London Borough of Havering, and all other ambulance trusts are contained in the Department of Health Statistical Bulletin "Ambulance Services, England 2000–01". A copy is in the Library and available on the Department's website at

Foster Care

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on which date legislation making unregistered foster care a criminal offence came into force. [27356]

Jacqui Smith: Foster carers are not registered with the local authority. Instead they are approved by a panel set up for the purpose of approving foster carers. Once approval is confirmed the local authority is required to enter in a register the particulars for each foster parent in their area who is approved, and each person not being an approved foster parent with whom a child is placed under regulation 11 in their area. This is not intended to mean that foster carers are 'registered' with the local authority.

In the case of private fostering arrangements, there is no requirement for private foster carers to register with the local authority. Both the private foster carer and the person with parental responsibility have a duty to notify the local authority that a private fostering arrangement is in existence, or about to take place, in order for that local authority to fulfil its obligations under Part 9 of the Children Act 1989.

The role of the local authority is to satisfy themselves that the welfare of the child is being satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted by supervising, regulating and advising in respect of the private placement. The local authority is required to visit at specified intervals and to report on these visits. They have the power to impose requirements, or if there are serious concerns, to prohibit the fostering arrangement.

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Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on which date the code of practice on recruiting, selecting, training and supporting foster carers came into force. [27355]

Jacqui Smith: Joint work on a code of practice for the recruitment, assessment, approval, training, management and support of foster carers was carried out by the United Kingdom Joint Working Party on Foster Care. The document setting that code out was published in June 1999, and was intended to be implemented from that date.

EU Treatment (English Patients)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards the treatment of English patients in other EU countries. [28019]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 22 January 2002]: In the light of rulings of the European Court of Justice, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in August 2001 that national health service health authorities and trusts could commission treatment for their patients overseas. Since October 2001 three test-bed sites in the south east of England have been working through the legal and practical issues involved in sending patients abroad. The first patients to go abroad for routine NHS-funded surgery travelled to Lille on 18 January. By the end of the test bed scheme in March this year around 200 patients are likely to have travelled to France and Germany for treatment. Guidance for the NHS will be published, based on the experience of the test bed sites.

The Department plans to launch a tender exercise later this year for surgical procedures overseas, as part of its wider strategy to reduce waiting times and enhance patient choice.

It is also possible for patients to be referred to Europe under the long-standing E112 arrangements described on pages 36–37 of the Department of Health leaflet "Health Advice for Travellers", copies of which are available in the Library and to the public from post offices.

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