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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 23 February 2016 for answer on 1 March 2016

R - Signifies the Member has declared an interest.
W - Signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.

(Self-identifying Question no. shown in brackets)

Written Questions must be tabled at least five working days before they are to be answered. In practice, Ministers aim to answer within seven/eight days but are not bound to do so. Answers are published in the language in which they are provided, with a translation into English of responses provided in Welsh.

To ask the Minister for Natural Resources

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minster make a statement on the practicality of monthly bin collections? (WAQ69896)

Answer received on 7 March 2016

The Minister for Natural Resources (Carl Sargeant): It is a matter for each individual local authority to decide on collection frequencies.

To ask the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

Mark Isherwood (North Wales): Will the Welsh Government confirm how much it has spent on the Communities First scheme over the duration of the fourth Assembly, and the allocated spend on the scheme for the 2015/16 financial year? (WAQ69901)

Answer received on 2 March 2016

The Mininster for Communities and Tackling Poverty (Lesley Griffiths): The current phase of Communities First was launched in November 2012. Since then, the amounts paid to the 19 Communities First Lead Delivery Bodies for delivery of the programme in their respective Clusters were £3,895,894.24 in the last quarter of 2012/13, £26,555,039.34 during 2013/14, and £31,468,168.64 in 2014/15.  Funding of £31.7million has been agreed for Communities First in 2015/16.

The Communities Purposes Budget Expenditure Line, through which the Communities First programme is funded, also funds Communities First shared outcomes projects and support contracts.

 

To ask the Minister for Health and Social Services

Darren Millar (Clwyd West): What assurances can the Minister provide, and for what period of time, that consultant-led maternity services will continue to be available at each district general hospital in north Wales? (WAQ69892)

Darren Millar (Clwyd West): What discussions has the Minister had with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board about consultant-led maternity services at district general hospitals in north Wales? (WAQ69893)

Answer received on 2 March 2016

The Minister for Health and Social Services (Mark Drakeford):

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board agreed in December consultant-led maternity services would remain at each of the three district general hospitals. The health board's priority is to make sure women's and maternity services across North Wales are sustainable and stable for the long term.

The Deputy Minister and I meet regularly with the chair of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to discuss service issues.

 

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): What monitoring and regulation is being carried out across the Welsh NHS to avoid the "lethal mix" of failures reported at the Morecombe Bay Furness Hospital? (WAQ69894)

Answer received on 2 March 2016

Mark Drakeford:

When failings in Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust were made public in 2013 all maternity services in Wales carried out reviews to ensure similar issues were not happening in Wales. No similar problems were identified.

Learning from Morecambe Bay led to a strengthened model of midwifery supervision being implemented across every health board in Wales in 2014.
 

The all-Wales Maternity Network was established in January 2015 to drive improvements in the quality and safety of maternity services.

National performance indicators have been in place in Wales since 2012, which are measured via annual maternity performance boards.

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister advise as to the total cost of developing the new Minor Injuries Unit at Llandudno Hospital? (WAQ69895)

Answer received on 2 March 2016

Mark Drakeford:  I approved £1.951m capital funding to develop the new Minor Injuries Unit at Llandudno Hospital.

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister confirm which type of 'flu vaccine, for which strain of 'flu, has been ordered by each Health Board for winter 2015/16? (WAQ69902)

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister confirm which type of 'flu vaccine, for which strain of 'flu, has been recommended by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales for winter 2015/16? (WAQ69903)

Answer received on 4 March 2016

Mark Drakeford: The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors influenza globally and each year it recommends the strains of influenza virus which should be included in the vaccines produced by manufacturers for use in the forthcoming influenza season. For the 2015-16 season, WHO recommended the following three virus strains should be included in all vaccines:

  • An A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus.
  • An A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • A B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

For quadrivalent vaccines, the WHO recommended the above three virus strains along with a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales has not made any specific recommendations about the flu vaccine for Wales over and above those made by WHO guidelines, with the exception of advice about the use of the nasal spray vaccine which is used in the children's vaccination programme. 

In line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the nasal spray vaccine is made available from centrally-held stocks to GPs and health board school nursing services. This vaccine contains the four virus strains indicated above.

Health boards are responsible for ordering influenza vaccines for use in their staff vaccination programmes and for those patients who require vaccination in hospital. GPs order influenza vaccines direct from manufacturers.

To ask the Minister for Public Services

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister make a statement on why the threshold of electoral support for local referenda is 10 per cent in Wales, but 5 per cent in England? (WAQ69897

Answer received on 2 March 2016

The Minister for Public Services (Leighton Andrews):

The Welsh Government believes 10% of the electorate is an appropriate threshold for local referenda. It provides the right balance between public accountability in respect of matters of broad public concern and the disruption and unnecessary cost which frivolous or malicious petitions cause.

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister provide a breakdown per local authority of how much was budgeted for community engagement costs in the year 2014-15? (WAQ69898)

Answer received on 26 February 2016

Leighton Andrews:

We do not hold this information centrally.

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister provide a breakdown of how the extra £2.5 million announced in the 2016/7 Budget for Powys, Ceredigion and Monmouthshire will be allocated? (WAQ69899)

Answer received on 26 February 2016

Leighton Andrews:

I refer you to my Written Statement of 10 February.  It provides a breakdown of the allocation of the £2.5 million of top-up funding to the three Authorities in question:

http://gov.wales/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2016/lgsettlement/?lang=en

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Minister make a statement on that part of the Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Draft Local Government (Wales) Bill, which states that the Welsh Government "is clear that the overall amount of council tax collected by authorities should not need to increase as a consequence of mergers"? (WAQ69900)

Answer received on 26 February 2016

Leighton Andrews:

Councils in Wales collect around £1.3 billion a year in council tax.  There is no reason why this figure should increase solely as a consequence of mergers.

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