Archive for November 28, 2006


Questions to the Minister for Health 1.6.02   Shortage of neurologists in Wales Alison Halford: What action has the Minister taken to combat the shortage of neurologists in Wales? (WAQ18192) Jane Hutt: The workforce planning information for all healthcare professionals, which is collected annually, is providing the Welsh Assembly Government with a full picture of the needs of NHS Wales. From the results of this year’s workforce planning process, and in conjunction with locally prepared recruitment and retention strategies, we will be able to produce realistic, planned numbers for the future in all consultant specialisms, including neurology. I expect to be able to set workforce targets this summer.In the meantime, we are training more doctors in Wales and the annual student in-take has been increased from 190 in 1998 to 290 in 2001. By 2004 there will be at least 1,385 medical students enrolled in Wales. More staff are also being trained in the grades leading to consultant. This year there are seven specialist registrars in the field of neurology. The shortage of neurologists remains a UK-wide problem and the Welsh Assembly Government is working with NHS trusts in Wales to identify long-term vacancies and to explore the potential for …..


Questions to the Minister for Health 17.5.02 Health Spending Alison Halford: Can the Minister guarantee that the new money for health spending made available by the UK budget increases will not result in a growth in the funding gap between north and south Wales? (WAQ17705) The Minister for Health and Social Services (Jane Hutt): I refer to the answer that I gave on 9 May to questions WAQ17585 and WAQ17593, tabled on 1 May.


Questions to the Minister for Health 9.5.02   Doctors Surgeries in Delyn Alison Halford: What action has/will the Minister taken to refurbish/improve the quality of doctors’ surgeries in Delyn? (WAQ17571)Alison Halford: What action is the Minister taking to ensure local health boards are aware of the need to refurbish and improve the quality of doctors’ surgeries in Delyn? (WAQ17572)   Jane Hutt: The Assembly issued guidance on 12 July 2001 outlining new flexibilities in arrangements for funding and developing primary care premises which will assist local health groups in this work. A pilot study to develop a primary care estates strategy is underway in Rhondda Cynon Taff local health group. This project is drawing to a close and we hope to learn much to support future work in this area. These lessons will inform future guidance and support to local health boards in tackling premises issues.   Complaints Advocacy in North Wales   Alison Halford: Will the Minister establish and finance a complaints advocacy pathfinder scheme anywhere in north Wales to compliment the two Assembly-funded complaints advocacy pathfinder schemes recently established in south Wales? (WAQ17573) Jane Hutt: The Gwent and Cardiff complaints advocacy schemes are pilot projects which are being …..


Questions to the Minister for Health 26.4.02 Transport Assistance for Cancer Patients in North Wales Alison Halford: What will the Minister be doing to ensure that north Wales cancer patients have the same transport assistance to that currently enjoyed by south Wales people via the successor body to the Cancer Care Society, which recently received £40,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government? (WAQ17133) The Minister for Health and Social Services (Jane Hutt): I was pleased to be able to provide a one-off payment of £20,000 each to the new organisations which were set up in Mountain Ash and Merthyr Tydfil to take over the transport services and drop-in centres threatened by the pull-out by the Cancer Care Society. These sums helped the new organisations, which bring together local people, voluntary organisations and the statutory services, to bridge a short-term funding gap. I released the funding against receipt of robust recovery plans which showed a reasonable chance of a long-term future for the new organisations, including secure, stable core-funding arrangements. I shall judge any future similar situation on its merits, wherever it occurs in Wales, and subject, of course, to funds being available at the time.


Questions to the Minister for Health 19.4.02 Services Available to ME Sufferers in Delyn   Alison Halford: Will the Minister make a statement on the services available to myalgic encephalomyelitis sufferers in Delyn and how the funding of such services is determined? (WAQ17134) Jane Hutt: North Wales Health Authority runs a chronic fatigue support service with the aim of providing patients with information and skills designed to improve their quality of life. Two multidisciplinary teams consisting of a physiotherapist, dietician, clinical psychologist and a GP are based in Connah’s Quay and Caernarfon.The provision of all health services, including those for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis is at present the responsibility of local health authorities. It is for them to determine the level of services, after weighing up the many pressing needs in the area. These are not easy decisions to make, but the authorities, with their local knowledge, are best placed to prioritise the services that people need in their area. We would expect the health authority to work with its partners to plan and prioritise their service to meet the needs of the local population.   Specialist Care for Autism Sufferers and their Families Alison Halford: What plans are there …..


Minister for Finance Local Government and Communities 20.6.02 Innovation Village’ at Swansea Alison Halford: What is the projected total cost to the Assembly and Assembly sponsored public bodies of funding the ‘innovation village’ at Swansea docks? (WAQ18645) Transferred for answer by the Minister for Finance, Local Government and Communities.   Alison Halford: What is the projected total cost to your department and the Assembly sponsored public bodies under your responsibility of funding the ‘innovation village’ at Swansea docks? (WAQ18646) Transferred for answer by the Minister for Finance, Local Government and Communities.   The Minister for Finance, Local Government and Communities (Edwina Hart): The projected total cost of the redevelopment of the Prince of Wales dock, Swansea as the Port Tawe innovation village is £26.45 million, although it is anticipated that this will be partially offset by significant capital receipts, forecast to be in excess of £13 million. The Welsh Assembly Government has specifically allocated £5.6 million to the Welsh Development Agency towards the project, with the remaining costs being met from within the Welsh Development Agency’s budget.   New Opportunities Fund Alison Halford: Is there evidence that the new opportunities fund accounting procedures are counterproductive in causing small voluntary groups …..


Minister for Finance Local Government and Communities 1.6.02 Bute Road PFI scheme Alison Halford: Will the Minister make a statement on whether value for money is being achieved in the acquiring of a 25-year contract to underwrite the Bute road private finance initiative scheme at the annual cost of £5.4 million? (WAQ18201) Edwina Hart: The issue of value for money within the Bute Avenue PFI scheme was considered by the Assembly by reference to a public sector comparator. In April 1999, before project approval, the final terms of the negotiated contract confirmed that value for money had been achieved. ‘Commercially Confidential’ DocumentsAlison Halford: Further to her answer to WAQ17542, can the Minister provide further details on how she decides which documents/information/files are classified as ‘commercially confidential’? (WAQ18236)Edwina Hart: Due to the varied nature of the information concerned, decisions on the release of commercially confidential information will always be made on a case-by-case basis. Factors that will be considered include those given in the response to WAQ17542.   Commercially Confidential Decisions Alison Halford: Further to your answer to WAQ18236, does the Minister plan to ensure a record is kept of all decisions that are treated as ‘commercially confidential’? (WAQ18634)   Edwina …..

9.5. 02

Minister for Finance Local Government and Communities 9.5. 02 Harbour Authority’s Auditing Arrangements Alison Halford: Is the Minister confident that the existing auditing arrangements associated with the payments made by the Assembly to the Harbour Authority are adequate? (WAQ17679) Transferred for answer by the Minister for Economic Development.   The Minister for Economic Development (Andrew Davies): Arrangements have been put in hand through the section 165 agreement for the audit of Assembly payments made to the Harbour Authority. It is up to the Auditor General for Wales, as the auditor of the Assembly’s finances, to reach a view on whether these arrangements are adequate.


Minister for Finance Local Government and Communities 2.5.02   Definition of ‘Commercially Confidential’   Alison Halford: Can the Minister give a definition of ‘commercially confidential’, detailing the process by which documents/information/files are determined to be ‘commercially confidential’? (WAQ17542)   Edwina Hart: There is no absolute definition of the term ‘commercially confidential’. However, the relevant exemptions contained in the Freedom of Information Act 2000—covering information provided in confidence, information that constitutes a trade secret, and information the disclosure of which would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person concerned, including the public authority holding it—are generally used as the basis for classifying information as ‘commercially confidential’.