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(2) what investigations his Department is carrying out into the models of pricing care, with specific reference to reducing levels of paperwork; 
(3) if he will make a statement on the recent report of Laing and Buisson on care home costs. 
Jacqui Smith: The Government welcome the contribution made by the Joseph Rowntree report to the discussion about the appropriate level of care home fees. We support any publication that aids councils in setting fair and realistic fee levels. The Government are putting record levels of investment into the system. We increased resources to social services by 20 per cent. in real terms between 199697 and 200203, this represents a national real terms increase of 3 per cent. per annum. There is evidence that this extra investment is making a difference. In a recent report by Laing and Buisson, the authors of the Joseph Rowntree report, it is stated that councils have raised care home fees by an average of 3 per cent. in the last year.
The social services performance assessment framework indicators published in October 2001 contain information on local council's unit costs for nursing and residential care for different client groups.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer of 22 May 2002, Official Report, column 424W, on care homes, how many of the letters from (a) hon. Members and (b) the public were about increases in care home fees related to the introduction of free nursing care; and if he will list the other subjects which (i) hon. Members and (ii) members of the public wrote concerning the introduction of NHS-funded care; 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 12 June 2002]: Since October last year, the Department has received in excess of 10,000 letters from hon. Members and in excess of 24,000 letters from members of the public. Of the letters received, 232 and 150 from hon. Members and members of the public respectively covered issues relating to free nursing care, including fee levels, the process of assessment, banding levels for registered nursing care contribution, policy justification, the mechanisms of payment and the costs of equipment. The letters from hon. Members are broken down by party as follows:
Liberal Democrats: 19.
27 Jun 2002 : Column 1094W
column 167W, on long-term care beds, what resources and local priorities will prevent primary care trusts and NHS trusts from providing continence services. 
It is for health authorities in partnership with primary care trusts and other local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services.
As a result of the Budget, the NHS in England will receive an annual average real terms growth in resources of 7.4 per cent. for the five years from 200304 to 200708. This means that over the same five year period there will be an increase of £34 billion in NHS funding for England. This is the highest sustained growth in funding in the history of the NHS.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 17 June 2002, Official Report, column 167W, on long-term care beds, if he will set out the factors he considers other than number of beds in his determination of planning expenditure on long-term care. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 24 June 2002]: Chapter 2 and Research Volume 1 of the Report of the Royal Commission on long-term care set out the factors which affect the demand for and cost of long-term care.
Jacqui Smith: Intermediate care has made rapid progress over the last two yearsthere is very good progress towards the targets set in the NHS Plan and there are many examples of good practice around the country. However, it is still a relatively new service and there is more work to be done to ensure that it becomes firmly established and meets its full potential.
The Department's recent review of intermediate careIntermediate Care: Moving Forwardis available on the website and a copy has been placed in the Library. The full results of the Department's survey of intermediate care provision conducted last summer are also in the Library.
Jacqui Smith: An announcement about which national health service trusts will join the modernising hearing aid services project and will be providing digital hearing aids by the end of March 2003, was made in my reply to the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) and the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 46566W.
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In addition to the second wave sites, we intend to provide at least a further 15 sites with the training and equipment they need to start fitting digital hearing aids from April 2003. I understand that Surrey and Sussex Healthcare has already expressed an interest in being one of those sites.
Mr. Sedgemore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to publish the report of the National Review of Neonatal Care by Dr. R. MacFaul and others; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: The report follows a very important review of provision for neonatal services. The report is under active consideration at present. I expect to determine the next steps in this process shortly.
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 14 May 2002]: It is not possible to provide information on liabilities inherited by Chelmsford Primary Care Trust as it was newly established on 1 April 2002. The information will be published in the final accounts at the end of the financial year.
Ms Blears [holding answer 24 May 2002]: Available information was published in a report, "Modern Matrons in the NHS: a progress report", on 15 April 2002, showing that there are 1,895 nurses in modern matron posts across the national health service in England. Data broken down by individual trust are not available centrally.
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 June 2002]: The data available are shown in the table. The table shows the number of looked-after children who started one or more periods of foster care during the year.
|Year ending 31 March|
|Redcar and Cleveland||135||115||145||115||115|
|Stockton on Tees||115||130||130||115||90|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||265||280||310||335||285|
|Blackburn and Darwen||150||105||80||95||120|
|Yorkshire and Humberside||3,700||3,800||3,500||3,400||3,100|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||110||120||110||145||85|
|Kingston upon Hull||395||420||325||285||270|
|North East Lincs||170||155||120||140||150|
|Telford and Wrekin||130||70||90||75||100|
|Bath and North East Somerset||85||85||65||100||65|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||135||175||155||200||270|
|Kensington and Chelsea||75||105||95||70||100|
|Barking and Dagenham||65||95||115||135||155|
|Kingston upon Thames||60||60||65||40||65|
|Richmond upon Thames||80||50||80||80||55|
|Brighton and Hove||355||340||265||220||200|
|Isle of Wight||140||155||135||155||90|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||50||35||20||35||45|
(26) Not available.
1. The table excludes children looked after under a series of short term placements.
2. All local council figures have been rounded to the nearest five.
3. Data for three local councils, Rutland, City of London and Isles of Scilly, have been suppressed for reasons of confidentiality. All regional and England figures include estimates for missing data and have been rounded to the nearest 100.
27 Jun 2002 : Column 1098W
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