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Heart Surgery Waiting Lists

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people died in 2001 while on the waiting list for heart surgery; and if he will make a statement. [75994]

Ms Blears [holding answer 24 October 2002]: The information requested is not collected centrally.

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Waiting Times

Mr. Laws : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether (a) CT scans and (b) MRI scans are included in figures for (i) in-patient and (ii) out-patient waiting times; and if he will make a statement. [75986]

Ms Blears: [holding answer 24 October 2002]: Information on computerised tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans is not collected centrally. Waiting times for consultant-led in-patient elective admissions and consultant-led first out-patient appointments, following general practitioner referral, are collected on the consultant's main specialty not by procedure. CT scans and MRI scans will be included in the figures if they take place as an elective in-patient admission or as a first out-patient appointment, but will not be separately identifiable.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are waiting for a neuro-physiology (a) diagnostic test and (b) consultant appointment at (i) Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton and (ii) Yeovil District Hospital; how many of these have waited more than (A) three, (B) six, (C) nine, (D) 12, (E) 15, (F) 18 and (G) 24 months; and if he will make a statement. [75990]

Ms Blears: [holding answer 24 October 2002]: Information is not collected centrally on the number of patients waiting for diagnostic tests and consultant appointments.

Information is collected on waiting times for first out-patient appointment for clinical neuro-physiology consultant specialty. There are no data held centrally for Taunton and Somerset National Health Service Trust for this specialty. For East Somerset NHS Trust there were no patients waiting over 13 weeks as at 30 June 2002, the most recent date for which information is available .

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in each NHS Trust have been waiting more than (a) six, (b) 12, (c) 18 and (d) 24 months for (i) CT and (ii) MRI scans; and if he will make a statement. [75991]

Ms Blears [holding answer 24 October 2000]: Information on waiting times for magnetic resource imaging (MRI) scans is not collected centrally. The length of time that a patient may have to wait for any scan is dependent on their clinical condition. Emergency cases need to be seen immediately. Other cases will be

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carried out as quickly as possible, however this is dependent on the clinical priority of all the remaining patients waiting to be scanned. To increase the capacity of diagnostic services, we are making unprecedented investment for the provision of new and replacement scanners. By 2004, 88 new MRI scanners and 186 new computed tomography (CT) scanners will have been delivered through central purchasing initiatives. In addition to this, workforce initiatives are underway that aim to improve recruitment and retention of staff and we are streamlining the way care is delivered through the cancer services collaborative.

Welfare Food Scheme

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on the plans to reform the welfare food scheme to help ensure children from poorer families have a healthier start in life. [78310]

Ms Blears: We have today published proposals to reform the welfare food scheme under the title Healthy Start.

The welfare food scheme has done great service for the last 60 years in providing milk and vitamins, primarily to expectant and nursing mothers, babies and children under five years of age in low income families. In line with our commitment in The NHS Plan, we are seeking to bring the scheme up to date in line with the latest expert advice on nutrition. Our proposals for this #142 million scheme will broaden the nutritional base of the scheme and offer a wider choice to families. We propose to do this through the introduction of a fixed face value voucher that can be exchanged for fruit and vegetables, cereal based foods, other foods suitable for weaning, as well as milk and infant formula. We are also proposing to link the scheme more closely with the NHS through antenatal and post-natal clinics. The new scheme will provide a healthier start for children from poorer families and link with our wider efforts to tackle health inequalities, and improve nutrition and food access.

We are already working with the devolved administrations and actively seeking the views of interested parties and stakeholders on these proposals, including the users of the scheme, health professionals, the food and dairy industry and small firms. This consultation will run until 13 December.

Copies of the Healthy Start document are available in the Library and on the Department's website at

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Anti-tank Missiles

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 16 October 2002, ref: 73313, what steps he will take to find the anti-tank missiles lost in the Bristol Channel. [76178]

Dr. Moonie: Two extensive searches of the range have failed to locate the lost pallet of munitions that contained the anti-tank missiles. The most recent of these was conducted between 7 and 11 October 2002 by a six-strong team from the Royal Navy Southern Diving Group. A report into the findings of this latest search is currently being prepared and its findings will determine the Ministry of Defence's next steps.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the value of the contracts for the two studies awarded to Logica and BAE Systems for the C41STAR is; and if he will make a statement. [76794]

Dr. Moonie: The C4ISTAR contracts awarded in August and September 2002 to Logica and BAE Systems each have a maximum value of #700,000.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many condoms have been purchased by his Department for non-medical purposes in each of the last five years; and what his Department's planned requirement is for each of the next five years. [77372]

Dr. Moonie: Condoms are not purchased for non-medical purposes. The Ministry of Defence purchases condoms for medical use. They are supplied to service personnel for the prevention of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and as a form of contraception.

Department Job Vacancies

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many job vacancies there were at (a) administrative assistant or equivalent, (b) administrative officer or equivalent, (c) administrative executive officer, (d) higher executive officer, (e) senior executive officer, (f) grade 7 principal, and (g) all positions above grade 7 level in his Department for jobs located in (i) London and (ii) the south east between 1 April and 31 March 2001; and what is the total employment for each Civil Service grade. [76564]

Dr. Moonie: Information on the number of job vacancies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The available information is given in the table, showing the position as at April 2001.

London region South east region
Responsibility levelVacanciesTotal staff (headcount)VacanciesTotal staff (headcount)
Grade 6 and above21565
Grade 7335179
EOnot available1,358not available2,720
Trading funds1,2496,753

(35) Not included in the table. The 'Other' section includes staff who do not have a recorded grade and industrials on temporary promotion.


A breakdown by grade equivalence is no longer available for Trading Fund staff and will include staff previously classed as Industrial.

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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 1 February 2002, Official Report, column 596W, what the total area in square feet of all empty properties owned by (a) his Department, (b) his agencies and (c) other public bodies for which he has responsibility was in each year since May 1997 [37917]

Dr. Moonie: Other than information held concerning the dimension of offices within the Ministry of Defence, no central records are presently maintained about the size of empty properties owned by the Department, or agencies or public bodies for which I am responsible. Information on such statistics could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers were employed (i) full-time, (ii) part-time and (iii) on a contract basis by his Department in each year since 1992. (6937)

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 21 November 2001, Official Report, column 340, by my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Leslie).

Information about the number of press officers working in the Ministry of Defence Press Office for the period form 1996–97 to 1998–99 is contained in Appendix 10 of the Report on the Government Information and Communication Service by the Public Administration Select Committee dated 29 July 1998. Copies of the report are available in the Libraries of the House. The number of press officers employed in the Department's Corporate Commissions division Headquarters Press Office during the financial years 1999–2000 and 2000–01 was 13 and 25 respectively. The difference in the figures relates to staff turnover throughout the year. In addition, the Defence Agencies, the Permanent Joint Headquarters, and the single Service Commands and units also employ personnel with a press officer function, some as a secondary task to their main roles. Accurate information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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