Select Committee on Health First Special Report


The Long Term Care of the Elderly


SESSION 1998-99
Health Committee Recommendations: Progress - The Long Term Care of the Elderly

Fourth Report: The Long Term Care of the Elderly (HC 318) Published: 22/04/99
Government Reply: Cm 4414 Published: 07/99

Recommendation

Government Response and Action

We recommend that the Government accepts the idea of a National Care Commission and that its remit should include the requirement to pay proper attention to preventative care and to advocate the benefits, both in cost and social terms, of encouraging qualitative improvement in the lives of older people through exercise, constructive leisure pursuits and education. (Para 3)

A National Care Standards Commission was established through the Care Standards Act 2000 and will begin work in April 2002. It will regulate care providers and provide a national overview of the availability and quality of care.

The Government agrees that preventative care is of vital importance. Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation and the NHS Plan stress that the NHS and its partners have a lead role to play in encouraging moderate exercise and a balanced diet and helping people to stop smoking at all ages. The needs of older people are being addressed across Government by an inter-ministerial group.

We recognise there are significant problems with introducing major structural change, yet we remain unconvinced that, in the long term, a sensible, efficient and seamless service to patients is possible without an integrated health and social care system. We therefore take the opportunity once again to urge the Government to give the matter further consideration. (Para 7)

There needs to be an immediate improvement in the availability of reliable, consistent and universally accepted data to inform debate within the field of health and social policy. (Para 9)

There needs to be an immediate improvement in the availability of reliable, consistent and universally accepted data to inform debate within the field of health and social policy. (Para 9)

The Government agrees that data must improve and recognises the importance of good quality information to inform health and social services planning.
Work is underway to improve the data available for planning. The 2001 Census will contain two questions on health and one on informal care. The General Household Survey routinely includes questions on health and use of key health services and questions on smoking and drinking. The Department of Health has commissioned the Personal Social Services Research Unit to conduct two substantial surveys of older people in residential care. A group of Government Departments, led by the Office for National Statistics, has been investigating the need for longitudinal data on older people to inform policy and a proposal is currently under consideration.

We believe it would be well worthwhile for ministers to look closely at Danish models of care for older people with a view to extracting ideas relevant to our own sustainable progress and development in this area. (Para 14)

The Government recognises that there is much to be gained by the international exchange of information and we shall continue to share experiences with other countries, including Denmark.




 
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