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Written Question
Maternity Services: Prisons
15 Nov 2021

Questioner: Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (GRN - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that all women's prisons have (1) paediatric, and (2) neonatal, emergency equipment; and how they intend to ensure that all healthcare staff are trained in paediatric and neonatal resuscitation.

Answered by Lord Kamall

NHS England and NHS Improvement is responsible for commissioning virtually all healthcare services in prisons in England, including clinical services for pregnant women.

Basic resuscitation equipment only is provided in prisons. NHS England and NHS Improvement has consulted experts in the field of neonatal resuscitation, following which a decision was taken not to provide neonatal resuscitation equipment in prisons due to the highly specialised nature of neonatal resuscitation, which requires specialist training, equipment and immediate access to highly qualified and skilled staff. Should these staff not be available there is a risk that the equipment could be used by untrained staff which risks harming the baby.

All healthcare staff should receive relevant first aid training, including basic adult life support and what to do in emergency situations where specialist neonatal resuscitation is required. This normally includes seeking a rapid response from the local ambulance service who can guide staff through cardiopulmonary resuscitation/rescue breaths and keeping the baby warm until the local ambulance service are in attendance.

While the training of staff employed by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service working in prisons is a matter for that organisation, as the commissioner for NHS services in prisons, NHS England and NHS Improvement seeks evidence that commissioned healthcare providers field competent and appropriately-trained staff to fulfil specific requirements in their contractual obligations.


Written Question
Ambulance Services
25 Oct 2021

Questioner: Wendy Chamberlain (LDEM - North East Fife)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to Ambulance Services on prioritising call outs; and on what basis the priority of call outs is determined.

Answered by Edward Argar

The Department has issued no such guidance. The prioritisation of responses to 999 calls is an operational matter for National Health Service ambulance services. The following table shows the ambulance service’s categories for evaluating 999 incidents, with corresponding response time standards.

Category

Headline description

Sub description

Mean response time standard

90th percentile response time standard

1

Life Threatening

A time critical life-threatening event requiring immediate intervention or resuscitation.

7 minutes

15 minutes

2

Emergency

Potentially serious conditions that may require rapid assessment and urgent on-scene intervention and/or urgent transport.

18 minutes

40 minutes

3

Urgent

An urgent problem (not immediately life threatening) that needs treatment to relieve suffering and transport or assessment and management at the scene with referral where needed within a clinically appropriate timeframe.

None

2 hours

4

Less-Urgent

Problems that are less urgent but require assessment and possibly transport within a clinically appropriate timeframe.

None

3 hours


Written Question
Green: Redundancy
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Chi Onwurah (LAB - Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) the employees of the energy company Green and (b) Ofgem on training and redeployment for the employees of Green following the company's exit from the energy market.

Answered by Greg Hands

BEIS Ministers have not met with Green Energy Company employees. Energy suppliers have a duty to inform both Ofgem and their employees before exiting the market. Government help and support, including training and finding new employment is delivered by the Job Centre Plus Rapid Response Service and is available to all employees affected by energy suppliers exiting the market. For more information on government support visit the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/redundancy-help-finding-work-and-claiming-benefits.


Written Question
Long Covid: Health Services
15 Oct 2021

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of long covid on workforce planning within the NHS; and what steps he is taking in response to that matter.

Answered by Edward Argar

The National Health Service will continue to monitor the impact of ‘long’ COVID-19 on staff as part of operational planning for service recovery and winter. For NHS staff suffering from ‘long’ COVID-19, the support offer includes a package of comprehensive support for health and wellbeing including mental health hubs, rapid referral to services, local occupational health and online wellbeing resources.


Written Question
Electric Vehicles: Charging Points
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Baroness Randerson (LDEM - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the report by the Competition and Markets Authority Electric Vehicle Charging market study, published on 23 July; and what steps they intend to take in response to the issues raised.

Answered by Lord Callanan

The Government agrees with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that a comprehensive and competitive charging network is essential to support the country’s transition to electric vehicles. In line with the CMA’s recommendations, an Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Strategy will be published later this year.

The Government committed £1.3 billion to EV infrastructure at the 2020 Spending Review. This includes the £950 million Rapid Charging Fund which will ensure that every Motorway Service Area in England has the grid capacity it needs to support the growth in EV usage to 2035. The Government has allocated £275 million in extended support for chargepoint installation at homes, workplaces, and on-street locations, and a further £90 million to support the roll out of larger, on-street charging schemes and rapid hubs in England.


Written Question
Aviation: Employment
21 Sep 2021

Questioner: Andrew Rosindell (CON - Romford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help support workers in the aviation industry.

Answered by Robert Courts

The UK Government recognises the impact COVID-19 has had on the aviation sector. In addition to the unprecedented cross-economy package of support, which included the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which the aviation sector has utilised extensively, we have put in place several measures to help the sector recover and support its workers.

Skills retention and skills fade for highly trained jobs is a key element of the sector’s recovery plan. To support this, we introduced the Aviation Skills Retention Platform (ASRP) in February 2021 to support the retention of skills within the sector, by offering increased visibility of opportunities across the sector. We are also looking to better understand employment trends through vacancy data submitted to the ASRP by employers.

The Department is also working with industry on maximising use of the existing support measures such as DWP’s Flexible Support Fund and Rapid Response Service to support aviation workers at risk of redundancy to stay in employment or move between sectors.


Written Question
Aviation: Recruitment
15 Sep 2021

Questioner: Justin Madders (LAB - Ellesmere Port and Neston)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the retention and recruitment of commercial pilots in the UK.

Answered by Robert Courts

The most recent data from the Annual Population Survey – Employment, provided by the Office of National Statistics, shows that the number of aircraft pilots and flight engineers employed reduced from 26,100 in 2019 to 24,000 in 2020. This latter figure includes pilots who may have been furloughed by their employers and experienced support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Skills retention and skills fade for highly trained jobs needs to be a key element of the sector’s recovery plan. To support this, we introduced the Aviation Skills Retention Platform (ASRP) in February 2021 to support the retention of skills within the sector, including for pilots, by offering increased visibility of opportunities across the sector. We are also looking to better understand employment trends through vacancy data submitted to the ASRP by employers.

The Department is also working with industry on maximising use of the existing support measures such as DWP’s Flexible Support Fund and Rapid Response Service to support aviation workers at risk of redundancy to stay in employment or move between sectors.


Written Question
Electric Vehicles: Charging Points
15 Sep 2021

Questioner: Martyn Day (SNP - Linlithgow and East Falkirk)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the (a) availability and (b) reliability of electric car charging points.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

Government and industry have supported the installation of over 25,000 publicly available charging devices including more than 4,700 rapid devices. On average, over 500 new chargers are being added to the UK’s road network each month. A recent study found that the UK now has more rapid chargers every 100 miles of key strategic road than any country in Europe. In November 2020, we announced we will invest £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years for rapid chargepoints and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

By 2023, we aim to have at least six high powered, open access chargepoints at motorway service areas in England, with some larger sites having ten to twelve. By 2030, we are planning for there to be around 2,500 high powered chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads, and, by 2035, we expect the number to increase to around 6,000. Government is working with the private sector to deliver this wherever possible.

For example, there are plans for further investment into the Electric Highway along the Strategic Road Network giving drivers more confidence when making longer journeys. GRIDSERVE are undertaking a programme of upgrades to the existing hardware, which will include the option to pay by contactless methods at the chargepoint and they are on track to complete upgrades to all existing 50kW chargers before the end of the year. Tesla also recently confirmed plans to open the Tesla Supercharger network up to vehicles from other manufacturers. The government has welcomed these developments.

For motorists who do not have access to off-street parking, the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. The ORCS has supported 49 different local authorities to install over 1,400 chargepoints. A further 88 local authorities have also been awarded grant funding, providing more than 3,200 on-street public chargepoints with their installations yet to be completed. This year, £20 million is available under ORCS to ensure more local authorities and residents can benefit from the scheme. Government also committed at Spending Review the £90 million Local EV Infrastructure fund, to support the roll out of larger, on-street charging schemes and local rapid hubs in England.

In Spring 2021 we consulted to improve the consumer experience at public chargepoints. We included a section to improve the reliability across the charging network to ensure that consumers can rely on chargepoints wherever they are travelling in the UK. We will publish our government response in Autumn and lay legislation in early 2022.


Written Question
Asylum: Housing
22 Jul 2021

Questioner: Catherine West (LAB - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of accommodation for asylum seekers and refugees; and whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of an independent review of conditions in that accommodation.

Answered by Kevin Foster

To monitor compliance with the standards we expect from our providers, the Home Office access providers’ systems and apply a robust performance management system to the Asylum Accommodation and Support Services contracts (AASC). This is supplemented by a formal governance process which includes quarterly Strategic Review Management Boards and monthly Contract Management Groups. Service credits and subsequent improvement plans are discussed and monitored as part of this process.

Service Delivery Managers speak daily with providers about performance. In response to the global pandemic, officials also have formal meetings on a weekly basis to ensure individuals are housed safely, services are delivered in line with their contractual obligations and guidance from Public Health England (PHE) is followed.

Asylum seekers can raise specific issues or concerns about their accommodation through the 24/7 Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service operated by Migrant Help. The Home Office and our providers receive feedback on complaints raised through our regular dialogue with Migrant Help.

The Home Office contracted an independent organisation, Human Applications, to conduct a rapid review of initial accommodation for single adult asylum seekers, including hotels and the former military barracks. The purpose was to check compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the transmission of Covid 19. We have shared a report summary of findings and recommendations with our partners, including non-Government Organisations and Strategic Migration Partnerships. We also held workshops with our accommodation providers to empower them to action findings.


Written Question
Redundancy: Coronavirus
29 Jun 2021

Questioner: David Evennett (CON - Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the support available to people who have been made redundant as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Mims Davies

The Rapid Response Service (RRS) is all about working in partnerships to address the effects of job losses on individuals and on the local community. Our aim is to work with employers to deliver flexible, timely, and appropriate support for them and their employees and help individuals secure a job or move into self-employment quickly and ideally without the need to claim welfare benefits.

RRS is available to private and public employers. Third sector employers are also eligible where the job losses affect paid workers. RRS support can start when people are under threat of redundancy or during the period of notice.

Where individuals have not found alternative work before they lose their job, RRS support can continue for a further 13 weeks whether they make a claim for benefits or not.

This is in addition to the ongoing support provided by DWP for claimants moving them forward in their journey closer to/back into employment.

We continually review this support to ensure it meets the needs of those people who access this type of support.


Written Question
Asthma: Drugs
22 Jun 2021

Questioner: Jim Shannon (DUP - Strangford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative's (AAC) rapid uptake programme for asthma biologic therapies in response to the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the work of the AAC.

Answered by Edward Argar

The Department, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and NHS England and NHS Improvement set the objective of reaching the upper quartile of uptake in relation to comparator countries for the five highest health gain categories during the first half of the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access, which was published in 2019. This objective is not intended as a target for the prescription of medicines. Medicines prescribing, including the highest health gain categories, remains a decision between the clinician and patient in line with guidance and recommendations made by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

When selecting the countries for international comparison of uptake of the five highest health gain categories, NHS England and NHS Improvement looked for countries with similar health systems and populations to England. NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned an independent third party to develop an objective methodology to compare uptake rate between countries.

The Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) worked closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement in the identification of potential five highest health gain categories for support through its Rapid Uptake Products programme. Following the open selection process, asthma biologics were selected for tailored support to increase their adoption in the National Health Service for the treatment of severe asthma as part of the 2021/22 programme. The Academic Health Science Networks are also providing leadership and support to NHS organisations to implement changes to transform severe asthma services locally and improve access to these medicines. Support for the programme will continue to be kept under review.


Written Question
Redundancy: Government Assistance
21 Jun 2021

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher (LAB - Coventry North East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to support people who have been made redundant as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to (a) access training and skills support and (b) secure suitable alternative employment in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.

Answered by Mims Davies

The Department for Work and Pensions through the Rapid Response Service (RRS) gives support and advice to employers and their employees when faced with redundancy. On receipt of the advance notification of redundancies form (HR1) from the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payments Service, DWP’s National Rapid Response Team or the local Rapid Response Team will make contact with the Employer to offer tailored support.

The range of support available from Jobcentre Plus and partners may include:

· Connecting people to jobs in the labour market.

· Help with job search including CV writing, interview skills, where to find jobs and how to

apply for them.

· Help to identify transferable skills and skills gaps (linked to the local labour market)

· What benefits they may get and how to claim

This service is co-ordinated nationally by the National Employer and Partnership Team (NEPT) and is managed by Jobcentre Plus. Delivery partners include The National Careers Service, local training providers, Money Advice Service and the skills bodies in England.

In Coventry, the local Jobcentre Redundancy Support Team works closely with Coventry City Council, Coventry Jobshop, National Careers Service, Money Advice Service and SERCO to deliver tailor made local redundancy support. The Coventry Jobshop is an organisation within the Coventry City Council, who support Coventry residents looking for support on a range of things, from budgeting advice, welfare rights and job matching for employers and candidates.


Written Question
Revenue and Customs: Apprentices
16 Jun 2021

Questioner: John McDonnell (LAB - Hayes and Harlington)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether HM Revenue & Customs consulted its recognised trade unions on the contract of employment that applies to apprentices working in the HMRC Surge & Rapid Response Team; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Jesse Norman

The Surge and Rapid Response Team (SRRT) was established in May 2015, following a request from the Cabinet Office, Civil Service People Board to find innovative ways to improve operational resilience across Government.

Recognised Civil Service trade unions FDA and PCS were informed of the SRRT contracts prior to advertising the posts.

All contracts were drafted and reviewed by Civil Service Employee Policy, and Treasury Solicitors were also consulted. Any subsequent changes to contracts and the relationship with broader HMRC contractual changes were also done with union consultation.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Screening
9 Jun 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the turnaround time is for variant sequencing following a positive covid-19 test; and what the average timeframe is for positive variant cases being communicated to public health teams at local authorities.

Answered by Jo Churchill

NHS Test and Trace utilises genomic sequencing and rapid genotyping assays to detect variants of COVID-19. For genomic sequencing, the time from a positive test to variant detection is less than six days in 90% of cases. Rapid genotyping assay is being deployed across the entire National Health Service and Lighthouse Laboratories network and will detect and alert health protection response groups, including public health teams at local authorities, to the presence of a targeted known variant of concern within 48 hours from a positive test result.


Written Question
Redundancy
27 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Hay of Ballyore (DUP - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to help people affected by large scale (1) retail, and (2) hospitality, sector redundancies to find employment.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott

Throughout Great Britain, the Department for Work and Pensions through the Rapid Response Service (RRS) gives support and advice to employers and their employees when faced with redundancy. This includes those in the retail and hospitality sector.

The range of support available from Jobcentre Plus and partners may include:

  • Connecting people to jobs in the labour market.
  • Help with job search including CV writing, interview skills, where to find jobs and how to apply for them.
  • Help to identify transferable skills and skills gaps (linked to the local labour market)

Moreover, the Government has announced and implemented the Plan for Jobs measures to create, support and protect jobs, and help everyone to find a job, whoever they are and wherever they live in Great Britain.

The Plan for Jobs measures cover support for youth (Kickstart/DWP Youth Offer) including skills and apprenticeships, for individuals recently made unemployed (Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme), as well as support for those who maybe unemployed for over 12 months (Restart).

The package of measures is underpinned by the extra 13,500 work coaches who have been successfully recruited, who can provide personalised support at the point of need.

Employment support is transferred to Northern Ireland, so this support is provided by the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland.