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Lord Levy

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister on what date he was informed of the commercial arrangements between Lord Levy and Westfield. [48985]

The Prime Minister: This is a personal matter for Lord Levy. I am satisfied that there is no conflict of interest.

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Overseas Charitable Donations

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister which foreign Heads of State and Government have informed Her Majesty's Government of personal donations to UK charities following visits to the United Kingdom and discussions with the Prime Minister since 1997. [48768]

The Prime Minister: I am not aware of any donations. There is no central record maintained of such donations.

Gifts in Kind

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister if he will include in the Ministerial Code of Conduct a requirement for Ministers to publish the value of gifts in kind provided by overseas Governments. [48771]

The Prime Minister: All gifts are handled in accordance with the requirements of paragraphs 136 to 139 of the Ministerial Code.


Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister which foreign Heads of State have accepted free travel and accommodation within the United Kingdom from the UK Government since May 1997. [48776]

The Prime Minister: It has been the policy of successive Governments to provide hospitality for official visits by Foreign Heads of State who come as guests of Her Majesty's Government.

Travel and Accommodation Allowances

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister if he will refer the subject of travel and accommodation allowances for the Prime Minister to the (a) Senior Salaries Review Board and (b) Committee on Standards in Public Life. [48775]

The Prime Minister: No. All travel by Ministers is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers.

New Zealand

Mr. Jack: To ask the Prime Minister what assurances he has given to the Prime Minister of New Zealand about the length of time that young citizens of that country can work in the UK before returning home. [49298]

The Prime Minister: Under the current terms of the working holidaymaker scheme young Commonwealth nationals may spend up to two years in the united Kingdom and are able to engage in work incidental to the holiday for up to approximately half their stay. The scheme is currently being reviewed.

I have assured the Prime Minister of New Zealand that any reform of the scheme will not erode its benefits to those coming from New Zealand.

The Government fully appreciates the important contribution that working holidaymakers make in the United Kingdom, and is committed to maintaining the benefits of the scheme for New Zealand citizens, as well as citizens of other Commonwealth countries.

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Special Advisers

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will take steps to ensure members of the House of Lords who (a) hold ministerial office and (b) are employed as special advisers agree to give evidence to select committees of the House. [49886]

The Prime Minister: All civil servants, including special advisers, are accountable to Ministers for their decisions and actions. Ministers are accountable to Parliament. It is therefore for individual Ministers to decide who provides evidence on their behalf to select committees. These decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis.

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will make a statement about the rules which apply to the pursuit of outside interests by special advisers and the accountability thereof; [49885]

The Prime Minister: The Model Contract for Special Advisers, which incorporates the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers, sets out the terms and conditions of employment for special advisers. Special advisers are also covered by the requirements of their employing Department's Staff Handbook, which includes the handling of financial interests and outside employment.

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if his policy permits the employment of special advisers who have non-domicile tax status. [49276]

The Prime Minister: The employment restrictions on the recruitment of civil servants, including special advisers, are set out in the Civil Service Management Code.


Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what was the value of hospitality provided to him by the Egyptian Government on his recent visit to Egypt; what charities in Egypt were the recipients of his charitable donations; and what was the value of those donations. [49275]

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister what the value was of the facilities provided to him and his family by the Egyptian Government in December 2001, broken down by (a) cost of hotel accommodation, (b) cost of travel and (c) cost of exclusive access to tourist sites. [48770]

The Prime Minister: The position is as I made clear in the Register of Members' Interests.

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what factors led him to conclude that it was appropriate to accept free tickets for the internal aeroplane flight he made from Cairo to Sharm-el-Sheikh. [49277]

The Prime Minister: For security reasons, the Egyptian Government identified the appropriate accommodation and internal aeroplane travel during my family holiday in Egypt. This is in line with the requirements of 'Travel by Ministers' which makes it clear that for some Ministers, security factors may make special arrangements necessary.

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I made charitable donations to a charity chosen by the Egyptian Government equating to the cost.

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister if the provision of free travel and accommodation by the Egyptian President to the UK Prime Minister is a reciprocal arrangement. [48782]

The Prime Minister: No.

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister if he sought advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before accepting the offer of travel and accommodation from the Egyptian Government. [48774]

The Prime Minister: Yes.

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister whether his Chief of Staff arranged the travel and accommodation details of his visit to Egypt in December 2001. [48781]

The Prime Minister: No.


Cancer Treatment

Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the radiotherapy waiting times are for patients categorised as (a) Group 1, (b) Group 2, (c) Group 3, (d) Group 4 and (e) Group 5 for each UK health authority; and what the comparative figures were for 1997. [37907]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not available centrally. The NHS Cancer Plan set out maximum waiting time targets for first cancer treatment which will come into effect over the next few years. Arrangements to monitor these targets are currently being put in place and will cover radiotherapy where this is the first treatment.

From December 2001, there is one month maximum wait from diagnosis to first treatment for breast cancer and a one month wait from urgent general practitioner referral to first treatment for children's, testicular and acute leukaemia. By 2005, there will be a maximum one month wait from diagnosis to first treatment for all cancers.

NHS Decentralisation

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his policy towards the advancement of mutual solutions to allow further decentralisation of decision-making and operations within the NHS. [39387]

Mr. Hutton: A structural and cultural reform of the national health service is currently taking place with the aim of shifting the balance of power towards frontline organisations, and within organisations to patients and staff. From 1 April 2002, primary care trusts, local organisations run by clinicians and local people, are responsible for improving health, securing services and integrating health and social care locally. By 2004, these organisations will receive 75 per cent. of the NHS budget to enable them to do so effectively, which constitutes considerable devolution in the running of the NHS. As

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responsibility is devolved to the frontline, the Department will develop new ways of working and step back from operational issues.

A package of earned autonomy freedoms and the potential to achieve foundation status will also become available for the best performing primary care and NHS trusts. This will be another way in which the Government devolves decision-making and operational management in the NHS.

Medical Records

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what systems are in place to ensure medical records are not falsified. [39371]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 1 March 2002]: The Department is fully committed to the principles of patient privacy and confidentiality, and to ensuring that medical records are handled in a secure manner and are not falsified.

Caldicott Guardians appointed within NHS organisations have the responsibility for overseeing the handling of confidential patient information within their own organisations. This work includes responsibility for ensuring that procedures and systems are in place to control access to patient information, and that medical records are capable of being robustly audited.

In the case of GP's, their Terms of Service state that they shall be responsible for keeping adequate records of the illnesses and treatment of their patients and forward such records to the health authority on request. Health authorities are able to audit GP practices by Post Payment Verification and the General Medical Council is able to bring to account any GP that does not keep clear, accurate and contemporaneous records.

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