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Queen's Counsel

Keith Vaz: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many persons applied to take silk in the last five years; and what percentage were successful. [64831]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The table shows the total number of applicants for silk in the last five years and the percentage of total awards made (excluding Honorary Silk):

Total applicants511553506456429
Total awards(16)60697877113
Percentage of applicants granted the award of Queen's Counsel11.7412.4815.416.926.3

(16) Excl. Honorary Silk

Keith Vaz: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when feedback is given to persons who apply for silk who are not successful. [64833]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Applicants who have been unsuccessful in their application for silk may receive feedback at any time following publication of the list of successful candidates.

EU Directives

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the EU directives relating to his Department which have been (a) amended and (b) repealed in 2002. [64943]

Yvette Cooper: There have not been any.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the EU directives and regulations that have been implemented through his Department in 2002; and what was the cost of each to public funds. [64993]

Yvette Cooper: The Council Regulation (EC) No. 44–2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters entered into force on 1 March 2002. Its impact on public funds is minimal.

Freedom of Information

Norman Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement

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on plans to allow access to information about the environmental activities of business; and if this will extend to state-owned interests. [61119]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.

We will shortly be consulting the public on proposals to replace the Environmental Information Regulations 1992 (SI 3240) as amended in 1998 (SI 1447).

The new regulations will apply to public authorities and to some private bodies performing public administration functions in relation to the environment. They will include exemptions for certain categories of information, including information which is commercial in confidence.

When a public authority receives a request for information, that authority must decide whether they regard the environmental information requested as a matter of commercial confidentiality. If they are satisfied that an exemption applies, then under the new Environmental Information Regulations, they will also apply the public interest test.

Decisions as to whether information is commercial are subject to challenge in a court of law. In accordance with the new proposals the information commissioner will be able to consider whether public authority is following good practice and examine appeals against any refusal to supply information.

Family Proceedings (Contact Orders)

Margaret Moran: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list each target set for his Department to increase the number of contact orders in family proceedings for each year since 1997. [66044]

Jacqui Smith: I have been asked to reply.

The Department of Health has no such targets.


Northwick Park Hospital

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of improvements in service at Northwick Park hospital since 1999; and if he will make a statement. [48897]

Mr. Hutton: Several assessments have been made at Northwick Park recently by the winter and emergency services team (WEST), the patient environment and action team (PEAT) and the commission for health improvement (CHI).

WEST visited the trust on 13 December last year and were pleased to see a number of developments and innovation projects. These included:

3 Jul 2002 : Column 441W

The trust has recently received a London modernisation award for the cardiology team as a result of the work to reduce delayed transfers.

PEAT carried out its latest visit on 10 April this year and Northwick Park hospital has shown continued improvement in the hospital environment and now has green light status.

The CHI completed its report on 23 October 2001 and found many areas of good practice particularly around the multidisciplinary collaborative care team and the ambulatory care and diagnostic service.

Mount Vernon Hospital

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what inspections of Mount Vernon hospital have taken place by NHS agencies in the last five years; and if he will publish their conclusions. [48905]

Mr. Hutton: Since 1999, Mount Vernon hospital has received two visits from the patient environment and assessment team (PEAT) and a routine clinical governance review by the commission for health improvement (CHI).

The PEAT results were published for the August 2000, March 2001 and August 2001 inspections and are available under the Hillingdon Hospitals National Health Service Trust at: national_results/index.asp?menuID=nationalresults.

The CHI report will be published shortly.


Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average response time for emergency ambulances was for each hospital in Lancashire in each year since 1997. [53107]

Jacqui Smith: Information about emergency calls to the ambulance service is not available specifically for each hospital in Lancashire. Information about Lancashire Ambulance National Health Service Trust and all other ambulance NHS trusts, about the number of emergency calls and the proportion of emergency calls resulting in an ambulance arriving at the scene of the reported incident within the Government's target response times is contained in the Department's Statistical Bulletin "Ambulance Services, England 2000–01". A copy of the bulletin is in the Library and available at sb0115.htm.

EC Decisions

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the effects of Commission Decision 18 of 27 June 2001, 2002/I55/EC, OJ L54 of 25 February 2002, on current practice. [57897]

Mr. Hutton: Decision 183 of the Administrative Commission on social security for migrant workers concerned the interpretation of the provisions of Regulation (EEC) 1408–71 relating to maternity care. Its effect is that health care services required in connection with pregnancy or childbirth shall be regarded as an immediately necessary benefit, provided on the basis of EU Form E111, during a temporary stay in another member state. This applies up to the beginning of the 38 week of pregnancy, provided that the reasons for the

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temporary stay are other than medical. From the 38 week, EU Form E112 concerning travel specifically for medical care, will be required.

Current practice in the UK is to issue Form E112 for pregnant women wishing to receive ante-natal care or give birth in another member state. Guidance to this effect is contained in the Department's leaflet "Health Advice for Travellers" (available in the Library). We expect to issue a suitably revised version of the leaflet in the late summer.

In respect of women from other member states presenting in the UK, current UK practice is already broadly in line with Decision 183 but guidance to the NHS will be amended as necessary.

Mixed Sex Wards

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 14 May 2002, Official Report, column 624W, on mixed sex wards, how many mixed sex wards there are in the NHS. [60817]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not available in this format as compliance is measured on a trust by trust basis rather than on an individual ward level.

The reasons for measuring at the trust level is because hospital wards generally care for both men and women. To provide the required levels of privacy and dignity for patients, wards are split into single sex bays, or single rooms, or otherwise configured to provide adequate segregation of gender. It is the responsibility of each National Health Service trust to determine the most appropriate configuration to meet their specific requirements.

The Department has set three objectives which trusts must meet to be deemed compliant. These objectives refer to single sex accommodation and not single sex wards.

The target set is for three objectives to be achieved in 95 per cent. of trusts by December 2002.

The three objectives are:

Trusts are required to re-assess and report their position annually. This information has been collected through health authorities. Separate validation programmes are undertaken to ensure that information provided is robust and reliable.

This is a very challenging target and we are working with the NHS to provide professional and technical support to ensure progress towards meeting this target continues.

Guidance on maintaining privacy and dignity was issued to the service in 1997.

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