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Means Testing

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: No. Income-related benefits and tax credits are an efficient way of getting help to those people who need it most.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The Answer to the previous question (WA 20) related solely to cars purchased and owned by the Department of Social Security. It did not include cars supplied on a hire or lease basis from any third party, including the Government Car and Despatch Agency or commercial car hire company.

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by my right honourable and learned friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 6 July, Official Report, WA 148.

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The list did not include cars supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency, which is operated by the Cabinet Office on behalf of all government departments.

10 Jul 2000 : Column WA7

NHS Boards: Appointments

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What response they propose to make to the report by the Commissioner for Public Appointments on Public Appointments to National Health Service Trusts and Health Authorities, published in March this year. [HL3232]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health set out the department's response to the recommendations made by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, Dame Rennie Fritchie, in a letter to her dated 7 July 2000. It confirms our concern to ensure that appointments to National Health Service boards are made in a way which is seen to be both open and fair. A copy of the letter is available in the Library.

Kent and Canterbury Hospital

Lord McColl of Dulwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they are proposing to downgrade Kent and Canterbury Hospital, which has a bed occupancy of 98 per cent. with the loss of 250 acute beds, resulting in cancellation of surgical cases every week. [HL3104]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The decision on the reconfiguration of acute services in East Kent was made to ensure that all residents of East Kent have access to high quality, safe and effective healthcare services fit for the 21st century.

There will be an overall reduction of 148 acute beds in East Kent as a whole, with a reduction of 138 acute hospital beds at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. Eighty-five per cent of patients who would currently expect to be treated at Kent and Canterbury Hospital will continue to receive treatment there after the reconfiguration. This approach has been independently assessed and agreed with by the York Health Economics Consortium.

East Kent Health Authority will continue to monitor and review bed numbers closely.

The average weekly number of cancelled electives in East Kent has reduced from 139 between January and March 2000 to 54 between May and June.

HIV/AIDS Treatment

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their assessment of the recent trial published in the Journal of Molecular Medicine (78:55-62) showing benefit to immunological functions in HIV+ patients from supplementation with amino acid n-acetyl-cysteine; and whether they will review their advice on the treatment of HIV/AIDS in the light of it.[HL3103]

10 Jul 2000 : Column WA8

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government do not assess individual trial results neither do they issue clinical guidelines for treatment of HIV/AIDS. The choice of treatment is a matter for discussion and agreement between an individual patient and his or her doctor.

Comprehensive clinical guidelines for antiretroviral treatment of HIV-infected adults, which carry a wide consensus, were issued by the British HIV Association in March 2000. These guidelines are being considered by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

Medical Student Places

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 21 June (H.L. Deb., col. 252) about the number of additional places for medical students in the United Kingdom, how many of the figure of 1,126 students announced in June 1998 are now in medical schools; and when the programme for additional students will be fully implemented.[HL3133]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The announcement of July 1998 indicated that the increase in medical student places in the United Kingdom would be phased up to 2005 to allow the expansion of facilities dedicated to medical education to take place in a planned and orderly manner and to allow the increase to be reviewed over time.

Of the 1,126 places that have been announced in England, 155 became available in autumn 1999, universities plan to make 917 available by autumn 2002 and the rest by autumn 2005.

The information relating to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved administrations.

House of Lords: New Office Accommodation

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What are the conditions and the cost of the lease for the 80 new desks in Little College Street and the 100 new desks in Millbank House.[HL3100]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The lease for 7 Little College Street and Millbank House will run until 2015. The annual rent is £33.50 per square foot and there will be a 12-month rent free period from the date of occupation. In addition to the new accommodation for Members, staff of the House will also move into Millbank House, making further office space available for Members in the Palace and 1 The Abbey Garden.

10 Jul 2000 : Column WA9

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    How it is intended to allocate the new desks in Little College Street and Millbank House; and what criteria will be applied.[HL3101]

The Chairman of Committees: The new office accommodation will be distributed between the parties and the Cross Benches by the Administration and Works Sub-Committee, following a recommendation by the Accommodation Steering Group. Desks will be allocated to Members by the relevant party or the Convenor of the Cross-Bench Peers. The criteria are a matter for the party or the Convenor of the Cross-Bench Peers.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether those Peers who move to the new desks in Little College Street and Millbank House will receive the same level of service from attendants and other staff as is enjoyed by Peers in the main building.[HL3102]

The Chairman of Committees: The need to provide appropriate services for Members in 7 Little College Street and Millbank House has been a key factor in the planning for the moves which will take place between December 2000 and August 2001. This planning has been complemented by a recent review of the role of the Attendants, which took account of the introduction of the revised postal system. From December 2000, when the first tranche of offices will be occupied, a comprehensive Attendant service will be provided from 8.00am until 6.00pm. As in the main building, Members will be able to have their mail delivered to their own desks held in the Mail Room off Peers' Lobby or forwarded. Security staff will be on duty in Millbank House until an hour after the rising of the House. These arrangements were agreed by the Administration and Works Sub-Committee on 4 July and can, of course, be reviewed in the light of experience. In addition, there will be a library and (from August 2001) a conference room and a refreshment facility.

Corporal Punishment of Children

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness David on 14 December 1998 (WA 135), whether corporal punishment of children:


    (a) by parents;


    (b) in schools;


    (c) in residential institutions for children; and


    (d) in the penal system (either as a sentence of the courts or as a punishment in penal institutions); is still permitted under existing legislation in the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey; Jersey; and the Isle of Man.[HL3068]

10 Jul 2000 : Column WA10

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The position in relation to corporal punishment of children in schools, in residential institutions and in the penal system remains as given in the answer by my right honourable friend the Attorney General and then Minister of State for the Home Department, Lord Williams of Mostyn, on 14 December 1998, (Official Report, WA 123). Corporal punishment of children by parents is still permitted in the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. The common law of Guernsey permits parents to use reasonable corporal punishment in the chastisement of their children. In Jersey, there is no legislation currently prohibiting corporal punishment of children by parents. Article 9(5) of the Children (Jersey) Law 1969 provides that: "nothing in this Article shall be construed as affecting the right of any parent, teacher or other person having the lawful control or charge of a child to administer punishment to him". The law in the Isle of Man is that parents may administer "reasonable chastisement" to their children.


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