§ Tim Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions his Department has had with the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham health authority about the role of health and race coordinators; 
(2) how many health and race coordinators are employed by his Department; 
(3) what proposals he has to assess the disciplinary procedure for (a)social workers and (b)health and race coordinators employed by the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham health authority; 
(4) what the role is of health and race coordinators employed by health authorities; 468W
(5) what rights of appeal are available to employees of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham health authority suspended on disciplinary matters; 
(6) what is the policy of his Department on referring health and race coordinators in the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham health authority to an assessment centre; 
(7) how many health and race coordinators are employed by health authorities in England, broken down by health authority. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The Department of Health does not employ health and race coordinators and does not require organisations within the NHS to do so. However, many NHS organisations have sought to establish dedicated posts to work on issues of health, race and ethnicity, in response to the diverse needs of their local communities. Information on such posts is not collected centrally.
Similarly, although there are assessment centres for NHS staff in accessing places on a variety of courses, which are mainly linked to management schemes, there is no specific departmental policy on referring health and race coordinators to these centres. This would be a matter for the local NHS as the employer to address.
Neither has the Department had discussions with Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham health authority about health and race coordinators.
The Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham HA do not employ any social workers. They are employed for those areas by the local councils, who are responsible for all disciplinary procedures. All NHS staff have a right of appeal against a disciplinary penalty available to them. This, however, does not include suspension, which does not fall within the definition of a disciplinary penalty.
The Department of Health is committed to equality and diversity. "The NHS Plan: a plan for investment, a plan for reform", published in July 2000, recognises the need for a modern NHS to respond to the needs of our diverse, multi-cultural society.
The Department has also launched an Equalities Framework for the NHS, "The Vital Connection", in April 2000 which includes clear requirements for the NHS to promote race equality and introduces a package of standards, indicators and monitoring arrangements.
Both these documents have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.