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Registered Homes Act

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the most recent date of publication has been of the statistical report on private hospitals, homes and clinics registered under section 23 of the Registered Homes Act 1984. [40873]

Jacqui Smith: The statistical bulletin—"Community Care Statistics 2000—Private Nursing Homes, Hospitals and Clinics" was published in February 2001.

Parental Leave Directive

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the (a) financial costs and (b) benefits to his Department of the Parental Leave Directive. [42477]

Ms Blears: As any annual leave taken by staff is recorded and checked locally by business areas within the Department, there is no centrally held information available on the cost of parental leave taken by staff.

The Department has for some time had a special leave policy enabling its staff to take parental leave. Since it came into force the Department has complied with the Parental Leave Directive. As a responsible employer the Department is committed to supporting its staff to work flexibly around their family responsibilities and has a flexible working pattern policy and a child care and carer support scheme. The Department benefits by retaining skilled staff and being valued as an employer.

Correspondence

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average length of time taken to answer letters to Ministers has been in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [43948]

Ms Blears: For the calendar year 2001, the average time Ministers have taken to reply to letters is 22.91 days.

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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter dated 17 October 2001 from the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell relating to any inquiry by Mr. Reeve of 6 Wellesford Close, Banstead, Surrey. [48209]

Jacqui Smith: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 23 October 2001.

Territorial Forces

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many members of staff of his Department are members of the Territorial forces; and if he has a strategy to encourage members of staff to become members of the Territorial forces. [44069]

Ms Blears: The Department does not record details of civil service staff who are also members of the Territorial forces.

The Civil Service Management Code (paragraph 9.2.5) requires Departments and agencies to allow members of the Reserve Forces, Territorial Army or Cadet Forces time off work. The decision over whether such time off is paid or unpaid has been delegated to Departments and agencies.

The Department has a special leave policy that allows members of the Reserve Forces, Territorial Army and Cadet Forces to take special leave with pay for periods of training. Staff are also permitted to accept payments in respect of their membership of the Reserve Forces, Territorial Army and Cadet Forces.

Advertising

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department will spend on advertising, other than for job vacancies, in the current financial year. [43883]

Ms Blears: The Department has spent £19.81 million so far on advertising in this current financial year.

Golden Jubilee

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Department has spent on the Queen's Jubilee in each of the past three years; how the money was allocated; and if he will make a statement. [44597]

Ms Blears: No specific allocations have been made for expenditure on the Jubilee by the Department. Information is not collected centrally in a form to identify any incidental expenditure that may have taken place.

Staff (Locally Elected Representative)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many members of staff at his Department are locally elected democratic representatives; and if he has a strategy for his Department to encourage members of staff to become locally elected democratic representatives. [44544]

Ms Blears: The Department does not record details of civil service staff who are locally elected democratic representatives.

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Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) requires employers to allow their staff reasonable time off for public duties. The Civil Service Management Code (paragraph 9.2.5) also requires departments to allow time off for attendance required by section 50 of the ERA 1996.

Special leave policy rests with individual departments and agencies who are free to decide on the amounts of special leave, and the circumstances for which it is granted and whether such leave is paid or unpaid.

As part of its commitment to encouraging staff to be active in the community, the Department of Health has a special leave policy that allows staff who are elected members of local authorities an annual limit of 18 days paid leave.

New Deal

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been employed by his Department in each of the last three years under (a) the New Deal for Young People, (b) the New Deal for the Over 50s and (c) the New Deal for Lone Parents; and at what cost, listed by category, to public funds. [44925]

Ms Blears: The Department does not record New Deal recruits under these categories.

New Deal recruits take up existing vacancies so extra costs to public funds are limited to the subsidy, where appropriate, and any additional training and development which may be needed. The cost of the latter cannot be readily identified.

Since joining the scheme in 1998 the Department of Health has taken 72 New Deal recruits. The Department also regularly provides Cabinet Office with New Deal statistics for progress reports for Department for Work and Pensions Ministers on recruitment to meet the benchmark figure for civil service participation in the New Deal programme.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people employed by his Department under the New Deal for Young People in each of the last four years have subsequently (a) found unsubsidised employment for more than 13 weeks and (b) returned to jobseeker's allowance or other benefits. [44905]

Ms Blears: Information is not held centrally on the number of New Dealers who have found unsubsidised employment for more than 13 weeks or who have returned to jobseekers' allowance or other benefits.

Creche Facilities

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what creche facilities are provided by his Department; and at what cost. [44867]

Ms Blears: While the Department does not provide creche facilities for its staff, it does provide staff with an allowance towards the cost of nursery care.

The allowance year runs concurrently with the academic year and the cost of providing nursery allowance (£600 per parent) for the last academic year (1 September 2000 to 31 August 2001) was £95,725.

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Anaesthetic Services

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the provision of anaesthetic services (a) in the Scarborough accident and emergency Yorkshire NHS Trust area and (b) in the Yorkshire and north-east area as a whole. [45107]

Ms Blears: Clinical governance was introduced into the national health service for the first time in 1999. This is underpinned by a statutory duty of quality on NHS trusts, primary care trusts and health authorities in the Health Act 1999, which requires them to put and keep in place arrangements for monitoring and improving the quality of health care they provide.

In the case of the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, difficulties were identified in the provision of services for general anaesthetics across the trust due to a shortage of consultant anaesthetists. In order to ensure adequate cover, the trust decided to restrict operations that require general anaesthetics to three sites and as Malton Community Hospital was the site with the lowest general anaesthetic activity, general anaesthetic services at Malton will cease with effect from 1 April 2002. From that date patients will either have their operations under a local anaesthetic, where appropriate, in Malton or be treated under a general anaesthetic at one of the trust's other sites at Scarborough, Bridlington or Whitby.

National Care Standards

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2002, ref 43898, on National Care Standards, how many and what percentage of care homes have completed their (a) application for registration, (b) statement of purpose and (c) application for registration; and what enforcement action the Commission can take if compliance with these standards is not achieved. [45659]

Jacqui Smith: As of 1 April 2002 the National Care Standards Commission had received approximately 2,500 applications from providers and managers who were required to apply for registration by that date. It is not possible to say how many of these applications are from care homes since the commission is still assessing from which service areas the applications originated and the associated documentation with them.

Providers who have submitted their application for registration will be given protection from section 11(1) of the Care Standards Act until their application can be processed by the commission. Providers who failed to submit their application for registration by 31 March are committing an offence under section 11(1), of the Act. However, before taking prosecution action as set out at section 11(5), we would expect the commission to take account of the circumstances as to why an application was not made.


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