The temporary suspension is being introduced in response to concerns raised by and investigated by officials from the DfES who visited Cambodia, by the British Embassy in Cambodia and, separately, by other stakeholders about the intercountry adoption process in Cambodia.
I believe that the safeguards in the Cambodian adoption system are currently insufficient to prevent children being adopted without proper consents being given by their birth parents and improper financial gain being made by individuals involved in the adoption process.
Evidence relating to the systematic falsification of Cambodian official documents related to the adoption of children;
Evidence relating to the extensive involvement of adoption facilitators in the adoption procedure in Cambodia even though Cambodian law expressly forbids facilitators participating in the adoption process;
Evidence relating to the procurement of children for intercountry adoption by facilitators, including by coercion and by paying birth mothers to give up their children; and
Concern about the prevalence of children trafficking and corruption generally in Cambodia.
The temporary suspension will take effect immediately and will be imposed on all UK applications to adopt children from Cambodia where the prospective adopter has not yet received a matching report from the Cambodian authorities. This is the latest point in the adoption process in Cambodia where a temporary suspension could take effect before a Cambodian adoption certificate is issued.
Although the UK authorities could intervene where a prospective adopter applies to bring a child into the UK there is a considerable risk that the child might be left in the situation where they have been legally adopted in Cambodia, and as such are no longer an orphan but are unable to enter the UK with their adoptive parents. This would pose a significant risk to the individual child and would clearly be unacceptable.
I intend to consider reviewing the temporary suspension when the Cambodian Government pass new adoption legislation or if there is another development I
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consider to be significant, for example if Cambodia were to implement the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of intercountry adoption.
Only in exceptional circumstances will I consider that the temporary suspension should not apply in a particular case. Any decision relating to a particular case will of course take account of what is in the best interests of the child and all the facts of the particular case.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Dr. Stephen Ladyman): I am publishing today figures that detail the progress made on investigations into cases where individuals may have been inappropriately denied national health service care.
Strategic health authorities have been required to investigate cases where individuals may have been inappropriately denied fully funded NHS continuing care since 1996. Where investigations have revealed that care should have been provided the NHS has been recompensing, or will recompense, individuals for the cost of that care. This process has formed part of the Department's response to the health service ombudsman's report into long term care, which was published in February 2003.
The Department requested that investigations, as far as possible, were completed by 31 March 2004. The number and complex nature of new cases presenting themselves during the three months from January to March 2004 posed significant challenges to meeting that deadline, but the NHS has remained committed to completing investigations as accurately and thoroughly as possible. At the end of March the NHS had completed 57 per cent. (6,713) of all outstanding investigations. This number is greater than the number of cases that the NHS was aware of at the end of December 2003, and demonstrates the NHS's commitment to completing cases promptly once they are received. The Department will check that those cases outstanding at the end of March have been completed as of the end of July. From then onwards I will expect any cases to be completed within two months of all the information on the case being received by the SHA. The situation in each SHA is summarised in the table.
Following the work carried out by SHAs in reviewing, revising and investigating the provision of fully funded NHS continuing care, awareness and application by the NHS is improving. The NHS expects to pay a total of over £180 million when all the cases received by the end of March 2004 have been investigated and restitution made for incorrect decisions. There is a timely appeal process for current cases, so that the need for a retrospective recompense process will decline.
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|SHA Name||No. of CasesEligible forRecompense||Investigations Completed||Investigations Underway|
|Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA||0||281||370|
|Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire SHA||34||102||110|
|North West London SHA||10||181||191|
|North Central London SHA||8||64||61|
|North East London SHA||0||169||11|
|South East London SHA||60||183||90|
|South West London SHA||62||194||21|
|Northumberland, Tyne & Wear SHA||27||126||172|
|County Durham and Tees Valley SHA||10||48||178|
|North & East Yorkshire & North Lincs SHA||29||266||93|
|West Yorkshire SHA||25||130||219|
|Cumbria and Lancashire SHA||15||154||186|
|Greater Manchester SHA||5||102||240|
|Cheshire & Merseyside SHA||107||774||422|
|Thames Valley SHA||4||181||202|
|Hampshire and Isle of Wight SHA||30||386||121|
|Kent and Medway SHA||24||186||44|
|Surrey and Sussex SHA||5||15||860|
|Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire SHA||43||612||349|
|South West Peninsula SHA||25||433||120|
|Dorset and Somerset SHA||14||448||467|
|South Yorkshire SHA||138||232||78|
|Leics, Northants and Rutland SHA||29||202||22|
|Shropshire and Staffordshire SHA||38||412||19|
|Birmingham and The Black Country SHA||10||213||73|
|West Midlands South SHA||8||237||187|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Miss Melanie Johnson): In July 2002, the Government's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, commissioned Professor Brian Toft to investigate the circumstances surrounding four adverse events that had occurred in the reproductive medicine units at the Leeds teaching hospitals NHS trust. This followed reports of a mix-up in treatment that led to mixed-race twins being born to a white couple.
He makes a number of recommendations for the trust, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Department. He also recognises that significant progress has already been made to address the issues his recommendations raise.
The Government recognise fully the distress that these mistakes and failings have caused to patients and their families, and the importance of ensuring that
22 Jun 2004 : Column 80WS
lessons are learned to minimise the likelihood of them happening again. We are grateful to Professor Toft for a thorough investigation, and welcome his report.
|KT1financial performancereturn on capital employed (ROCE).||The measurement of ABRO's ROCE.||To achieve a return, averaged over the period 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005, of at least 3.5 per cent.|
|KT2delivery performance.||The measurement of revenue projection.||To complete delivery of 100 per cent. of the planned revenue projection (£150 million) in FY200405, and in each of the next three years.|
|KT3business systems.||The measurement of the introduction and operation of TABS and the imperative to detach from the current supply system.||To introduce and have operational the ABRO business system (TABS) and to have detached from the ESPPA supply system by 31 March 2005.|
|KT4efficiency||The measurement of the reduction in price of ABRO output.||To reduce the average equipment repair price, across the whole programme, by 20 per cent. against the 200203 baseline.|
|KT5winning work||The measurement of ABRO winning work.||To maintain a closing order book of at least£80 million for FY200405 and to maintain this level for the next three years.|
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