|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 27 November 2001]: I have met and corresponded with representatives of the independent care home sector on a number of occasions to discuss matters of mutual concern, and have had similar discussions with hon. Members.
We are committed to working with the independent care home sector to make sure that we use capacity and resources to achieve the best possible outcomes for service users and their carers. To this end, I chair a strategic commissioning group to give greater direction to the commissioning of care services, in particular those for older people. Membership of the group includes representatives of the independent care home sector. Recently the group published an agreement"Building Capacity and Partnership in Care"that focuses on councils and independent sector providers entering into long-term agreements about placing people into care homes or giving them other forms of support.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportions of the provision of residential and nursing home bed spaces are (a) public sector and (b) private sector in (i) England and (ii) Staffordshire. 
Jacqui Smith: The table shows the percentage of places in residential care homes that are in the public and private sector as at 31 March 2001. All of the registered nursing beds in nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics are in the private sector (186,800 in homes in England and 5,200 in the health authorities of north and south Staffordshire).
|Total places in residential care homes||341,200||6,800|
|Public sector(33) (percentage)||15||26|
|Private sector(34) (percentage)||85||74|
(32) Information presented for Staffordshire shire county and Stoke-on-Trent unitary authority. These areas equate to the health authorities of north and south Staffordshire.
(33) Residential places in local authority staffed homes
(34) Residential places in voluntary, private, small homes (with less than four places), including dual registered homes
17 Dec 2001 : Column: 162W
Mr. Hutton: The importance of affordable, appropriate accommodation for national health service health care workers in areas where property prices are high is an important factor in the recruitment and retention of staff and in particular nurses. In recognising difficulties experienced by staff, an NHS housing co-ordinator has been appointed and the NHS plan set a target to provide an additional 2,000 extra units of accommodation in London within three years. In addition suitable accommodation is being sourced outside of London in appropriate locations.
The NHS co-ordinator, together with NHS trusts, had dialogue with a range of local authorities throughout the country to ensure that NHS key worker needs are reflected in local plans for housing and opportunities maximised for affordable housing secured through section 106 planning obligations. The identification of bids and subsequent commencement of implementing the starter home initiative has been a further example of successful joint co-operation.
Jacqui Smith: Over 972,000 individual checks have been made against the Protection of Children Act List since this part of the Act came into force in October 2000. Information is not collected in a way that allows the Department to identify the number of checks that are made where there is no requirement to do so.
Jacqui Smith: From April 2002, primary care trusts will be able to commission abortion services, taking over the current role of health authorities. We will closely monitor any impact of this change, in particular the percentage of women accessing national health service funded abortions.
The sexual health and HIV strategy has set a target that from 2005, commissioners should ensure that women who meet the legal requirements have access to abortion within three weeks of the first appointment with the general practitioner or other referring doctor. An implementation plan for the strategy will be decided following the current consultation, which closes on 21 December. This will include monitoring of progress towards each of the new targets set by the strategy.
17 Dec 2001 : Column: 163W
Jacqui Smith: We have committed £47.5 million to support initiatives in the sexual health and HIV strategy over the first two years. The precise breakdown of this funding for the next financial year will be decided in light of responses to the consultation on the strategy, which closes on 21 December. Future spending on specific activities will be set by the 2002 spending review.
Most abortion services are currentlyand will continue to befunded from main national health service allocations. As part of the implementation plan for the strategy, we will need to work with health commissioners to ensure that there is sufficient investment to meet the level of need locally; and towards achieving the new target set by the strategy that, by 2005, women who meet the legal requirements should have access to abortion within three weeks of the first appointment with the general practitioner or other referring doctor.
Jacqui Smith: There are no set criteria that have to be met. When considering whether an inquiry (in public or private) is appropriate, our main concern is to ensure that the full range of relevant issues is identified and subjected to proper and effective scrutiny. This would include consideration of the depth and nature of any earlier investigations, for example, an inquest or internal review. In making a decision we would also bear in mind the need for effectiveness, fairness, speed and economy.
Jacqui Smith: National health service walk-in centres are one of a range of new initiatives designed to improve access to primary care. Forty-one pilot centres are currently open. The Department has commissioned an independent evaluation of these national pilots. The final report is due shortly and this will inform the future development of NHS walk-in centres.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment of the psychological effects of terrorism on the general public he has commissioned; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: No formal assessment of the psychological effects of terrorism on the general public has been commissioned. However, we are very well aware of the consequences, including a range of long-term effects for a proportion of those directly involved. Following the tragic events of 11 September, Government Departments worked together to ensure support would be available.
17 Dec 2001 : Column: 164W
A dedicated helpline was set up; support for family liaison officers was provided; and the Department issued a leaflet to all general practitioners on the management of acute stress disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. We have embarked on a radical programme of modernisation to improve access to effective treatment and care, reduce unfair variation, raise standards, and provide quicker and more convenient services across the spectrum of mental health services. The National Service Framework for Mental Health, published in September 1999, sets out general standards for treatment and care. In addition, the Allen Report 1989 and 'Planning for Major Incidents: the NHS guidance' 1998 were issued to help those involved in the provision of support for people with post traumatic stress disorder to identify psycho-social support, and disseminate messages about good practice.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|