Strategic Defence Review
Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:
What extent they consider that it is time for a revision of the foreign policy-led Strategic Defence Review in order to avoid overstretch of the British Armed Forces.[HL3654]
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Lord Gilbert: The Strategic Defence Review does not need revision. The MoD's new strategic planning process ensures that there is now a policy-led re-evaluation of defence plans every year.
The problem of overstretch is a key priority which is being addressed urgently both as part of this process and through the introduction of measures such as those announced by the Secretary of State on 19 July.
Royal Navy: Orthopaedic Surgeons
Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many orthopaedic surgeons are now working in the Royal Navy; and what is the estimated number of orthopaedic surgeons who will be left in post in the Royal Navy by the end of this year.[HL3675]
Lord Gilbert: At present there are five consultant orthopaedic surgeons in the Royal Navy. Current predictions are that by the end of the year there will be four.
Haslar Hospital Intensive Care Unit
Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the intensive care unit at Haslar Hospital is due to be closed; and, if so, whether this means there will be no military hospital in the United Kingdom with an intensive care facility.[HL3673]
Lord Gilbert: As the result of further integration between the MoD and the NHS, the intensive care unit at the Royal Hospital Haslar is to close. That is likely to happen during August. Services will be transferred to the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. Haslar will retain a high dependency unit that will be able to administer to all critically ill patients other than those requiring ventilated life support. The level of intensive care provision within the Portsmouth area will remain the same.
The four NHS trusts, in which Ministry of Defence hospital units are situated, all have intensive care units. Military medical staffs contribute to the operation of these units which are available for the treatment of military personnel.
Armed Forces: Retirement of Senior Medical Officers
Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is the current premature voluntary retirement rate for senior medical personnel in the services; and what measures, if any, are being taken to retain senior medical officers.[HL3677]
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Lord Gilbert: In the year ended 31 March 1999, the rate of premature voluntary retirement among senior medical officers, namely those of major or equivalent rank and above, was 4.3 per cent. A number of measures have been taken, or are being taken, to help improve retention of medical officers generally. These include: the Government's acceptance of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body's recommendations for a pay award of 4.5 per cent. for 1999, which is 1 per cent. higher than the awards for NHS doctors and dentists and for the rest of the Armed Forces and a significant increase in trainer pay for general medical practitioners who supervise trainees in general practice and the forthcoming introduction of a distinction awards scheme for consultants, as well as further work to identify the causes of overstretch and more effective ways of reducing it. Work also continues on the harmonisation of different terms of service for medical officers from the three services. We are making good progress with our project to establish the new centre for defence medicine which is to be the professional focal point for the Defence Medical Services at an NHS centre of excellence and an important academic institution undertaking clinical research and teaching.
Armed Forces: Secondary Care Medical Treatment
Lord Craig of Radley asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many service men and women currently waiting for secondary care medical treatment expect to receive their treatment within (a) four weeks and (b) 13 weeks of referral to their consultant; and how many may expect to have to wait for over six months.[HL2717]
Lord Gilbert: It is not possible to provide a precise forecast of expected waiting times for service personnel waiting for secondary healthcare at any particular time. However, extrapolating from performance in 1998-99, we estimate that, of the 4,211 service patients who on the 30 March 1999 were waiting for their initial outpatient appointment at units of the Defence Secondary Care Agency, 1,642, or 39 per cent., will have been seen within four weeks and a further 1,685, or an additional 40 per cent., within 13 weeks.
No statistics are maintained of longer waiting times, but very few cases would have involved a wait of more than six months.
School Curriculum: Religious Education
Lord Dormand of Easington asked Her Majesty's Government:
What action they are taking to ensure that the non-religious point of view is included in the school curriculum.[HL3770]
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The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The school curriculum requires schools to offer a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and opportunities exist for teaching about a breadth of religious and non-religious views. The Government have no plans to bring religious education into the national curriculum or to remove the statutory framework for religious education.
Public Policy: Privatisation of Arms Industry
Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether control over the conduct of public policy by government and Parliament has been reduced by the privatisation of the arms industry.[HL3721]
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): The UK's defence industry is now one of the most competitive. As a major customer the Ministry of Defence has developed a close relationship with its suppliers; a relationship that the Smart Procurement Initiative aims to bring closer to help ensure value for money in defence acquisition. Applications for licence to export goods entered in Part III of Schedule I to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994 are assessed using the criteria announced by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 28 July 1997 and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, and both sets of criteria are also used to assess applications for licences to export dual-use goods to end-users in the Armed Forces or internal security forces of the country concerned. The defence industry, like any other, is normally also subject to the usual regulatory mechanisms.
Lord Brabazon of Tara asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will list the wards in Annex C to The Government's Proposals for new Assisted Areas, published on 15 July, separating each ward or group of wards which is not contiguous to any other ward or group of wards.[HL3802]
Lord Simon of Highbury: Each proposed ward is adjacent to at least one other.
The proposed wards in Angus and Dundee are contiguous with each other. The other proposed wards in Scotland and the north-east of England are contiguous. The proposed wards in Allerdale and Copeland (apart from Haverigg, Holburn Hill and Newtown) are contiguous; those three wards are contiguous with those in Barrow in Furness and South Lakeland. The proposed wards in Lancaster are contiguous. The proposed wards in Ribble Valley, Hyndburn, Burnley, Rossendale, and Blackburn are
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contiguous. The proposed wards in Rochdale and Oldham are contiguous. The proposed wards in Tameside, Manchester, Trafford, Salford and Bolton (apart from Blackrod) are contiguous; that ward is contiguous with the proposed wards in Wigan and West Lancashire, which in turn are adjacent to Merseyside. The proposed wards in Warrington are also adjacent to Merseyside; so too are the contiguous wards proposed in Halton, Vale Royal, Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Alyn and Deeside, Delyn and Wrexham Maelor, which are also adjacent to West Wales and the Valleys. The contiguous proposed wards in Montgomeryshire are also adjacent to West Wales and the Valleys; so too are those in Brecknock; as are the contiguous proposed wards
in the Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Newport and Monmouth. The proposed wards in South Hams and Plymouth are contiguous and are adjacent to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The proposed wards in Lewes, Brighton, Hove and Adur are contiguous. The proposed wards in Thanet, Dover and Shepway are contiguous. The proposed wards in Swale, Gillingham, Rochester, Gravesham, Thurrock, Dartford, Bexley, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich and Newham are contiguous. The proposed wards in Enfield, Haringey and Waltham Forest are contiguous. The proposed wards in Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Brent are contiguous. The proposed wards in Luton and South Bedfordshire are contiguous. The proposed wards in Waveney and Great Yarmouth are contiguous. The proposed wards in King's Lynn and West Norfolk and Fenland are contiguous. The proposed wards in Coventry, Rugby, and Nuneaton and Bedworth are contiguous. The proposed wards in Lichfield, Tamworth, North Warwickshire, Solihull, Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Sandwell, Dudley, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Cannock Chase and South Staffordshire are contiguous. The proposed wards in Newcastle under Lyme, Stoke on Trent, Stafford and Staffordshire Moorlands are contiguous. The proposed wards in North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Bolsover, Ashfield, Amber Valley, Gelding, Nottingham, Newark and Sherwood, Mansfield, Bassetlaw and West Lindsey are contiguous and are adjacent to South Yorkshire. The contiguous proposed wards in Wakefield, Selby and Boothferry are also adjacent to South Yorkshire. The proposed wards in Bradford are contiguous. The proposed wards in Beverley, Kingston upon Hull, Holderness, Great Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Glanford are contiguous.
The map in Annex A of The Government's Proposals for New Assisted Areas indicates the distribution of the wards listed in Annex B using 1991 district and ward names and boundaries.