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Medium Secure Psychiatric Hospital Beds

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Information on the number of medium secure psychiatric hospital beds is not available in the form requested. Data on the average daily number of beds in wards classified as "mental illness--secure units" have been collected annually since 1987-88. Figures for the most recent year available, five years previous and 10 years previous are given in the table.

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Average daily number of beds in wards classified as "mental illness--secure unit"


Source: Figures are taken from the annual Ko

rner return KH03 "bed availability and occupancy".

General Practitioners

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to reduce the wide variation in the proportion of general practitioners to population revealed in the recent health statistics.[HL3475]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The National Health Service performance indicators highlighted once again unacceptable variations in capacity, health needs, performance and health outcomes across the NHS.

Following the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government published plans to increase the number of places in United Kingdom medical schools by about 1,000 and by providing the cash to allow the NHS to take on an extra 7,000 doctors.

The latest data show an increase of 215 in the number of general practitioner registrars since we came to office, with more registrars in post now than at any time since 1993; and we have provided funding for up to 150 additional GP registrar places from this year as well.

We have also introduced personal medical services pilots: a flexible way of delivering family doctor services that are responsive to local needs and therefore particularly suited to address the problems of recruitment and retention in deprived and under-doctored areas.

Medicine Laboratory Scientific Officers: Remuneration

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the remuneration of medicine laboratory scientific officers should be considered by the appropriate National Health Service review body.[HL3501]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Our proposals for modernising National Health Service pay, which were published in February 1999 in Agenda for Change, include bringing some groups of highly qualified staff within the scope of the Nursing Pay Review Body (NPRB) without changing its fundamentally professional character.

Initial discussions with NHS trade unions on pay modernisation resulted in the Joint Framework of Principles and Agreed Statement on the Way Forward,

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which was published on 8 October 1999. This sets out the following starting point for more detailed discussions with trade unions on the qualifying criteria for groups to come within the scope of the NPRB: professions with a minimum entry requirement of three years' educational study (or equivalent) to diploma level or higher in a health specific area (other than medicine or dentistry) and which are state registered and have a substantial majority of members employed in health care; exceptions might be agreed for staff groups which met the majority but not all of these conditions; staff groups which support professions added to the NPRB remit and who have a direct connection with the transferred groups similar to that between nursing auxiliaries and registered nurses would also need to be considered for transfer.

The widening of the membership of the review body is conditional upon an agreement being reached in the current talks about pay modernisation.

Therapeutic Cloning Report

Lord Turnberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Chief Medical Officer's report on therapeutic cloning will become available.[HL3399]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Chief Medical Officer's Expert Group on Therapeutic Cloning has completed its work on the potential benefits, risks and the ethical issues raised by developments in stem cell research and cell nuclear replacement. The Government are now considering the report's recommendations.

High Garden Hedges Report

Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will report on the responses to the consultation paper on high hedges.[HL3678]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The Government intend to publish the results from the consultation of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions on possible solutions to the problems caused by high garden hedges and our decision on the way forward on this issue during August.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton on 11 July (WA 28), whether the Welsh Office will follow other departments by stating which cars supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency are for use by Ministers and senior officials in the Welsh Office; and what are the numbers, types and makes of vehicles used.[HL3346]

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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I refer the noble Lord to the response given by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, on 24th July 2000 (col. WA 15).

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton on 11 July (WA 28), what are the security reasons preventing the release of the details of the cars supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency to the Welsh Office; and why these reasons do not apply to other government departments.[HL3347]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Because the Wales Office uses only two cars supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency the provision of the level of detail requested may allow the identification of a ministerial vehicle while it is in use.

House of Lords Committee Rooms: Acoustics

Lord Bruce of Donington asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether work to improve the acoustics of House of Lords committee rooms can be started without delay.[HL3510]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): New sound systems have been, or will be, installed in several Lords' committee rooms as part of the 10-year rolling programme of works. Microphones were installed in the Moses Room in 1993, and other improvements, such as quietening the ventilation system and installing additional loudspeakers, were made last year. Voice-activated microphones will be installed in Committee Room 4 in the coming Summer Recess as part of a refurbishment process that will also include the installation of air-conditioning. Committee Rooms 1, 2 and 3 will be similarly upgraded in the 2001 Summer Recess. There are no plans to upgrade Committee Rooms 3A, 4B and G, although microphones can be set up in Rooms 3A and 4B at the request of a committee.

Standards in Public Life Committee: Sixth Report

Lord Strabolgi asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to respond to the Sixth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.[HL3679]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Sixth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which focused on implementation of the committee's first report, was published in January. It concluded that the process of reform of standards of ethical behaviour in public life that had been set in train following the publication of its first report had been a success and made a number of further recommendations. I am grateful to Lord Neill and his committee for their continued work in this vital area.

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The Prime Minister has published today the Government's response to the committee's sixth report (Cm 4817) and copies are available in the Library.

House of Lords: Composition

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of the membership of the House of Lords is composed of--

    (a) men of Afro-Caribbean ethnic origin;

    (b) women of Afro-Caribbean ethnic origin;

    (c) men of Asian ethnic origin; and

    (d) women of Asian ethnic origin.[HL3254]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: This information is not collected at present. In order to collect personal information such as this, the Information Office of the House of Lords would need the authority of a domestic sub-committee or the Offices Committee itself. It is for these committees whether they wish to consider the matter.

Civil Court Judgments: Enforcement Procedures Review

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessment has been made of the enforcement procedures review which was due to end in June.[HL3620]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): We have been engaged in a comprehensive review of the enforcement of civil court judgments since 1998 and the first phase ended in June 2000. In that phase we have examined the present methods available for enforcement of county court and High Court judgments; assessed their effectiveness; and identified what changes would be necessary to enhance the effectiveness of the current methods of enforcement.

Copies of the paper on this work have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It outlines the conclusions reached to date. Many of the proposals have already been exposed in consultation. This paper provides information on the current state of play of the enforcement review. The proposals remain subject to refinement, particularly as we examine in more detail

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the issues arising from the second phase of the review. Its terms of reference are to implement costed recommendations (including the production of a unified set of rules of court for enforcement); and to identify in the light of the amended procedures and revised powers of bailiffs the type of agent(s) or form of agency which should be responsible for carrying out those enforcement procedures; and to make costed recommendations.

I am also pleased to announce that Professor Beatson has now submitted to me his Independent Review of Bailiff Law: Report, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. This report will inform the work of the second phase of the review.

It is the Government's intention to issue a White Paper after the review is complete. It will also cover some issues which arise in the enforcement of the orders of the criminal courts.

Infantry: Primary Role Training

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which infantry battalions have not carried out primary role infantry training at battalion and formation level during the last five years and the last 10 years. [HL3339]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): In view of the various structural changes over the period concerned statistics on this basis would not be meaningful. Moreover such information is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Nonetheless we are confident that the training levels of the infantry in the roles they fill are appropriate to the tasks likely to be asked of them. Their recent outstanding performance in Sierra Leone and Kosovo clearly demonstates this.

Operational Aircraft

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many operational aircraft by type are grounded due to a shortage of pilots. [HL3341]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: There are no operational aircraft grounded due to a shortage of pilots.

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