Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Palmer: My Lords, is the noble Baroness in a position to say what percentage of the figure she quoted will go to towards those of us involved in tourism in Scotland?

Baroness Blackstone: No, my Lords, I cannot give that answer. I shall see whether one of my colleagues from the Scotland Office is able to provide it.

Lord Paul: My Lords, although I commend what the Government are doing for the tourism industry, manufacturing industry is in much deeper trouble and has been for a much longer period. I declare an interest as someone who is in the manufacturing industry. Why are the Government neglecting this industry?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I have to say to my noble friend that his question really does fall outside the Question on the Order Paper.

Lord Swinfen: My Lords, what are the Government doing to improve the ability of disabled visitors to

14 Feb 2002 : Column 1184

travel to the United Kingdom easily? I understand that some of the arrangements at airports and ports are particularly difficult.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, again, this is a matter for the industry—both for the airlines and for the British Airports Authority. They have to be responsive to the legislation relating to disability in the same way as every other area of our national life has to be responsive to it.

Lord Hardy of Wath: My Lords, following the point made by the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, does my noble friend consider that prices and charges in London deter people from visiting not only London but the rest of the country? In view of that, would it be possible for regional and provincial tourist boards to be engaged in more aggressive and positive advertising in order to persuade people that, if they will not come to London, they can enjoy themselves in other parts of the country such as the Yorkshire Dales?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, it is a matter for the industry, not only in London but throughout the country, to try to market its products aggressively and to price its services competitively, as I said earlier. The British Tourist Authority is trying to overcome strong price resistance in its latest campaign, featuring a range of new offers, which the Government very much hope will be successful in bringing more people to the UK.

NHS Hospital Beds

11.30 a.m.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they will ensure that the proposed transfer of "bed blockers" from National Health Service hospitals to rural bed-and-breakfast accommodation will be in the patients' interest.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My Lords, the department has no involvement with this matter. The countryside development unit of Harper Adams University College for agriculture commissioned a feasibility study into the use of rural bed-and-breakfast establishments for the recuperation of patients who do not need to be in hospital for their care. I understand that the college has not embarked on any discussions with NHS bodies in the area.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I am afraid that the Minister's Answer disconcerts me even more than the newspaper article did. That article said:

    "The aim is to fill spare holiday accommodation during traditionally quiet periods".

14 Feb 2002 : Column 1185

The Member of Parliament who represents the area where the first pilot study scheme is to take place said:

    "it will help the bed and breakfast sector in rural Britain which has had such a tough year with the foot-and-mouth outbreak".

I am worried that the patients and their health interests may not be the prime concern. I understand that bed-and-breakfast accommodation means the provision of bed and breakfast. How can anyone recover with just bed and breakfast? It must turn into the virtual equivalent of a care home providing at least full care. Very often, people who are discharged from hospital require follow-up visits from physiotherapists or others and even their relatives need to be able to visit. It is essential that the National Health Service becomes involved if the scheme is meant to represent intermediate care.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, my experience is that bed-and-breakfast establishments in Shropshire are splendid and of course one would want to encourage members of the public to use them. However, that is not the intent of the National Health Service or the Department of Health. As I have said, this was purely a speculative study by a local college, carried out without any discussion or agreement with the National Health Service. The chairman of the BMA's community care committee said that about the only case that he could imagine in which it might work would be a young man who had perhaps broken a leg and needed somewhere to recuperate after leaving hospital. Otherwise, he said, it is a complete non-runner.

Lord Hoyle: My Lords, first I declare an interest as the unpaid chairman of the ExtraCare Charitable Trust retirement village appeal in Warrington. Has my noble friend visited one of those admirable villages? If not, will he do so? The standard of life of their inhabitants means that there is less pressure and less need for them to have NHS beds. Will he also examine whether any ways can be found to enable ExtraCare to build more of those wonderful villages?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, it is a dangerous precedent to accept visits offered in that way, but, seeing as the offer comes from my noble friend, I shall be very interested in visiting the proposed village community in Warrington. I am aware of the extraordinarily good work that such villages do. Experience shows that people who live in such communities make fewer pressure demands on the National Health Service because of the care and support that they already receive. It is one of the many ways in which we can provide effective care and support to older people.

Baroness Noakes: My Lords, is the Minister aware that in her evidence to the Health Committee yesterday, the Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate expressed serious concerns about the possible use of bed-and-breakfast accommodation, as proposed in the report? Will he assure the House that no such arrangements will be allowed to proceed without the chief inspector's agreement?

14 Feb 2002 : Column 1186

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, it is for local authorities and local NHS authorities to decide where intermediate care or care for people who are seeking discharge from hospital ought to be provided. I think that I have already made it clear that I find it very unlikely indeed that the bed-and-breakfast proposal could be a serious runner.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, this is a matter of grave concern to us all. The Minister did not answer my question about how many patients were involved when I asked him on 28th January. Will he at least agree that the number of patients delayed last year was roughly equivalent in days lost to the number of cancelled operations in the same year? Is the Minister encouraging other acute hospitals to follow the example of Birmingham City Hospital, which is reducing the delay in the discharge of patients by planning that discharge from the moment the patient arrives in hospital, or the good example of the East Sussex living at home programme, which removes patients from hospital and rehabilitates them for independent living?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I certainly agree with the noble Baroness that the City Hospital in Birmingham is an excellent hospital that has much to teach others. I have made it clear that the proposal in question came from a rural agricultural college, which was seeking to help the rural economy in Shropshire. The National Health Service and the Department of Health have had no discussions with the college and taken no part in the feasibility study. I cannot make myself clearer on that.

According to the latest figures, which relate to September, 6 per cent of acute beds in the health service are being used by patients who ought to be out of the hospital. However, the action that is being taken and the extra money that was put in this winter to help local authorities provide better support and care in the community are having an effect. It is also worth pointing out that delayed discharges for patients over 75 have steadily dropped since 1997. The figure of 15.7 per cent in September 1997 has dropped to 12 per cent. We know that we have much further to go, but I believe that health and local authorities are working well together to deal with the issue.

Police Reform Bill [HL]

11.37 a.m.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

I shall give a 30-second translation of the Motion, which has been agreed with the usual channels. The only effective change is to take Part 3 of the Bill after Part 4. We shall deal with Part 1, on the Secretary of State's powers, and Part 2, on complaints, and then move to Part 4, which covers police powers for civilians. We shall then take Part 3 along with Parts 5, 6 and 7. I understand that four days have been

14 Feb 2002 : Column 1187

allocated for consideration in Committee. This is not a timetable Motion. The change is suggested for the convenience of the House.

Moved, That it be an instruction to the Committee of the Whole House to whom the Police Reform Bill [HL] has been committed that they consider the Bill in the following order:

Clause 1 to 8, Schedule 1, Clause 9, Schedule 2, Clauses 10 to 13, Schedule 3, Clauses 14 to 27, Clause 33, Schedule 4, Clauses 34 and 35, Schedule 5, Clauses 36 to 42, Schedule 6, Clauses 43 to 55, Clauses 28 to 32, Clauses 56 to 78, Schedules 7 and 8, Clause 79.—(Lord Rooker).

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page