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Mr. Hutton: Health authorities' revenue allocations for 2001-02 and for 2002-03 and 2003-04 will include funding both for intermediate care and community equipment services. Health authorities will be asked to agree joint plans with councils, setting out how they intend to deploy these resources and what the expected outputs and outcomes will be. Performance will be monitored and managed by the regional offices of the National Health Service Executive and social services inspectorate.
Mr. Hutton: In the current financial year (2000-01) an additional £150 million has been made available, recurrently, for investment in intermediate care and related services, as confirmed in the National Health Service Plan.
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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 11 December 2000]: In 1998, the Department published "Signposts for Success"--good practice guidance for commissioning and providing health services for people with learning disabilities, who include many with autism. In 1999 we issued "Once a Day" which sets out good practice in this area for primary health care teams.
The needs of autistic people who also have a learning disability will be covered by the forthcoming White Paper on learning disability which we expect to publish early next year. We are also considering the recommendations of a review of the current issues surrounding children and adults with Asperger's Syndrome which we commissioned late last year.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research studies into the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder his Department has funded; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 11 December 2000]: There is a large volume of research on all aspects of autism. Details of projects can be found on the National Research Register (NRR) which also contains details of projects and trials funded by the Medical Research Council and other research funders. The NRR shows that there are currently 51 ongoing and 82 completed projects on autism. Of these, seven examined the diagnosis of autism.
Mr. Hutton: The number of children identified as having autism is increasing. Although the full explanation for this is not clear, it is at least in part due to improvement in diagnosis by the clinical professions, including child mental health specialists and community paediatricians.
Most experts agree that the estimated prevalence rate of classic autism is between four and five per 10,000 population. Prevalence of all autistic spectrum disorders is more difficult to estimate but could be as high as 91 per 10,000. We are in dialogue with the Medical Research Council over the autism agenda including the possibility of further work on prevalence and incidence.
|Region||Number as at 31 March 2000|
|North East England||2,106|
|North West England||2,798|
|Yorkshire and Humberside||3,388|
|South West England||2,487|
|South East England||3,833|
(3) As at 31 March 1999
(4) As at 31 March 1998
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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many couples have been turned down by the NHS for infertility treatment (a) in Gloucestershire and (b) in the UK, in the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement; 
Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not available. A report to the Scottish Office's Clinical Resources and Audit Group estimated the average cost of assisted conception treatment as £1,900. (Expert Advisory Group on Infertility Services in Scotland: "Evidence and Equity: a national service framework for the care of infertile couples in Scotland" April 1999.)
Mr. Charles Clarke: My officials have discussed the proposals in detail with representatives from local authorities, telephone operators, the police, CPS and other agencies. In the light of these discussions we have modified the proposals in two main areas.
First, we propose a national, not an adoptive offence. Although this is as yet largely a local problem, an adoptive approach could lead to circumvention and be impractical. Secondly we favour a more limited offence which would cover advertisements for the services of prostitutes and other sexual services in telephone boxes in public places rather than a general offence of unauthorised advertising. We believe the offence should attract a power of arrest. There should be a power to extend the offence, by affirmative resolution, to other structures providing shelter to the public, in case the activity is displaced to, for example, bus shelters.
As part of a co-ordinated approach, the Director-General of Oftel is consulting with the telecommunications industry on how best to bring in effective call-barring schemes to deal with the nuisance of prostitutes' cards. I believe that the co-ordinated action
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on call barring and the new criminal offence will enable us to crack down on this illegal and undesirable practice and protect local communities from the obvious nuisance that these cards cause.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the sickness rate in terms of days per staff member for (a) prison officers and (b) other staff in each of the young offenders' institutions in the last 12 months. 
|Sickness absence rate:|
|Prison name||Per prison officer grade from 1 December 1999 to 30 November 2000||Per other member of staff from 1 December 1999 to 30 November 2000|
Prison officer grades include Prison Officers, Senior Officers and Principal Officers.
12 Dec 2000 : Column: 89W
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