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Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have died in the last five years as a result of brutality inflicted on them by (a) relatives and (b) people known to the child as a "family friend", while the child was on the at risk register of the social services department of Norfolk county council; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not collected centrally. However, we are informed by the social services department of Norfolk county council that one child has died in the last five years as a result of injuries inflicted on them by a relative, while the child was on Norfolk's child protection register. The social services department is not aware of any registered child who has died in the last five years as a result of injuries inflicted on them by a person known to the child as a family friend.
18 Oct 2001 : Column: 1341W
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is the number of drug misusers who were not given immediate access to appropriate treatment, upon application, in each year since 1997. 
Ms Blears: This information is not available centrally. There has been an increase of 16 per cent. in the number of people entering treatment over the last three years. In fact, the latest information from the regional drug misuse databases published on 11 October, indicates that the number of users in treatment was approximately 118, 500.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the General Medical Council will be required by him to take in order to advise complainants of the availability of judicial review of its decisions. 
Ms Blears: None. In August we published "Modernising Regulation in the Health Professions" in which we have consulted on the functions of the proposed Council for the Regulation of Healthcare Professions. These include a power to make public interest appeals in extreme cases against individual decisions of the regulatory bodies.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of responses to complainants and subsequent notification of decisions the General Medical Council has failed to issue within its own target times for each year since 1997. 
Ms Blears: Since July 2000 the General Medical Council has set itself a series of explicit service standards for dealing with fitness to practise complaints. It reports on its performance against these standards each year. It aims to acknowledge all letters promptly and to keep complainants informed of progress but it does not hold separate performance information on these activities.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what provision the General Medical Council is making to fast track complaints against doctors where (a) previous disciplinary action has been taken against them and (b) another complaint is presently being considered by the General Medical Council; 
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what proposals his Department has to ensure that public interest immunity is not a barrier to providing complainants to the General Medical Council with an adequate explanation of the reasons for decisions of the Professional Conduct Committee; 
18 Oct 2001 : Column: 1342W
Ms Blears: The General Medical Council recognises the importance of providing information to complainants about the reasons for the Professional Conduct Committee's decisions and it does so in all cases.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance the Government will provide on the training appropriate for registered managers; who will decide what training is appropriate; who will pay for the training; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: Guidance on the training appropriate for registered managers for Care Homes for Older People has been given in the National Minimum Standards for Care Homes for Older People published in March 2001. Guidance on the training appropriate for registered managers of Care Homes for Younger Adults and for Children's Homes will be given in the relevant set of National Minimum Standards. These standards are presently being finalised and will be published later in the year.
It is an employer's responsibility to ensure that they and their staff receive the relevant training for the work that they have to undertake. However, help towards the cost of funding for national vocational qualifications is available from the learning and skills councils. The Department also contributes towards the cost of training social care workers via the training support programme grant and this year. The Department has also provided £2 million towards the implementation of the national training strategy for social care workers.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health to what extent the views of care home staff on the Care Homes Regulations 2001 will be collected by the Care Standards Commission; where the results will be published; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: The Department completed the consultation exercise on the draft Care Homes Regulations 2001 on 21 September. Copies of that document were made available widely to interested groups and individuals through direct mailing, the National Care Standards Commission internet site and the Department's distribution unit. Care workers were welcome to give their views as were any other interested parties. Responses were received from a few individual care workers. In addition, under section 7 of the Care Standards Act 2000, the National Care Standards Commission will have the responsibility of keeping my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State informed about the availability and quality of the services it regulates. The Commission will also be required to make public information about these services. Much of this information will be obtained through the inspection processes that the Commission will adopt. Section 31(3)(d) gives the Commission powers to interview any person employed by a regulated provider. It is likely that staff views would be sought through this power.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action will be taken against a registered provider if a care home worker refuses to make available their passport, as required in section 19(4)(c) of the Care Home Regulations 2001: and if he will make a statement. 
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Jacqui Smith: Section 19(4)(c) of the draft Care Homes Regulations will require the registered person to obtain certain information regarding the fitness of a person who is working or seeking to work in the care home. Schedule 5 of the draft Regulations sets out the details of the information for the purpose of establishing identity to be provided by the care worker. The care worker is required to provide a birth certificate, a passport if he or she has one and a recent photograph. Where a person who has a passport refuses to provide that document to the registered person then an application for employment should be refused or employment terminated. No action will be taken against a provider who refuses to employ or terminates the employment of someone who has a passport but who refuses to provide that document.
|(a) Residential care homes||24,480||24,880||24,820||24,830|
|(b) Registered nursing beds in nursing homes(28)||196,300||205,600||202,200||193,300|
(26) Rounded numbers
(27) This refers to the period 1 October 1997 to 31 March 1998
(28) Registered beds in general and mental nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics.
Department of Health annual returns
Jacqui Smith: [holding answer 18 October 2001]: On 9 October, we announced an extra £300 million investment over this year and next year for local councils to spend on community care services. This major cash investment will be used to reduce bed blocking and will help to stabilise the care home sector, giving them greater confidence in the future.
We, also launched a new agreement "Building Capacity and Partnership in Care" on 9 October. The agreement focuses on councils and the independent sector working together as partners throughout the commissioning process. This should promote a more strategic, inclusive and consistent approach to capacity planning at a local level.
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