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Delayed Discharges

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 1036W, on delayed discharges, for what reason his Department ceased to collect figures on the basis of age. [9145]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: We are continuing to collect figures on delayed discharges for over 75s as a sub-group of delays for all adult patients. The breakdown on reasons for delay are now collected for all ages to give a more comprehensive picture of the reasons for delayed discharges.

National Service Frameworks

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will ensure that voluntary organisations are funded to play a full part in the preparation of National Service Frameworks; [8708]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Each National Service Framework is developed with the assistance of an external reference group (ERG) which brings together health professionals, service users and carers, health service managers, partner agencies, and other advocates. ERGs adopt an inclusive process to engage the full range of views. The ERGs advice is informed by the evidence base, including National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidance where available, and ERGs' advice have been sought on the development of NICE guidelines. The members of the ERG are reimbursed for travelling and expenses incurred while helping in the development of the National Service Framework. The Department supports the ERGs and manages and co-ordinates the overall process including co-ordination between NICE and NSFs.

Non-residential Services (Charging Guidance)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will publish guidance relating to charging for

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non-residential services; when the closing date for consultation on the draft guidance was; and when local authorities are expected to implement the guidance. [8701]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: We published draft guidance on fairer charging policies for non-residential social services on 3 January, and consultation ran until 30 March. We plan to issue final guidance later this year. This will include a time scale for implementation.

Older People

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will write to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam concerning the National Service Framework for Older People according to the undertaking given by the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), of 4 July 2001, Official Report, column 90WH. [8698]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 17 October 2001.

Nursing Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the bonds set out in the guidance for free nursing care will be uprated annually. [8700]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Appendix 6 of the guide attached to HSC2001/17: LAC(2001)26 makes it clear that the amounts of the bands of nursing care will be reviewed after 12 months with a view to any changes becoming operative with effect from April 2003.

Neurology Services

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to establish the baseline (a) prevalence levels of neurological conditions and (b) position of services for people with neurological conditions; and if he will make a statement on the work to date on the National Service Framework on Neurological Conditions. [8707]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: The Department has numerous information systems that help it to understand the picture of diseases including, for example, the Health Survey for England. This is complemented by academic research which provides more detailed prevalence information of people with neurological conditions. We have also asked voluntary organisations to submit any information they might have.

One of the key tasks of the scoping process for the National Service Framework for Neurological and other Long-term conditions will be to establish the position of services particularly concentrating on areas where the need for service improvement is identified. We have established an analytical group to begin to assess the evidence and are also working closely with users, carers, professionals and voluntary organisations.

Community Care Services Grant

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) to what extent social services departments in receipt of the community care services grant are able to commit expenditure in subsequent years; [8917]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Consultation on the conditions of the grant will end on 24 October. No decisions have been made about allocations of the grant in 2002–03, but Ministers have made the commitment that no council will receive less in 2002–03 than it does in 2001–02.

Dementia Care Services

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce plans to speed up the diagnosis of dementia sufferers needing personal care. [9033]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: The National Service Framework (NSF) for Older People was published on 27 March this year. It sets, for the first time, new national standards of care for all older people, across all care settings. It focuses on those conditions that mainly affect older people, including dementia.

Standard 7 of the NSF relates to mental health and will ensure that those older people who have mental health problems have access to integrated mental health services, provided by the National Health Service and councils, to ensure effective diagnosis, treatment and support, for them and for their carers.

In particular it emphasises how an early and accurate diagnosis of dementia enables older people and those caring for them to understand what is happening to them and to access appropriate help, including treatment and personal care. This will require effective integrated specialist mental health services. The NHS Plan provides for an additional 85 old age psychiatrists to ensure a prompt and responsive diagnostic service across the country.

In addition, we are streamlining the assessment process to ensure better and more consistent assessments. The single assessment process for older people will be implemented by local health bodies and councils from April 2002.

The Department intends to issue detailed guidance on the single assessment process in November. It will ask professionals to work together to ensure assessments are centred on the views and circumstances of older people, and that they are accurate, timely, and proportionate to needs. It will ask professionals to share assessment information, subject to proper observance of confidentiality, rather than duplicate each other's assessments as often happens now.

The single assessment should therefore ensure that following a diagnosis of dementia individuals receive the prompt provision of care to meet their needs.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what specialist dementia care services in Coventry have been developed recently. [9032]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Coventry Healthcare national health service trust in conjunction with Coventry health authority and local primary care groups have agreed to make £180,000 available for instigation of a community-based service specifically for early onset dementia. The team will

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consist of medical, psychological and nursing staff and will offer advice and support to sufferers, their carers, and agencies and professionals in Coventry.

The health authority has also confirmed its agreement to implement the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommendations regarding anti-dementia drugs from 1 April 2001. An additional drug budget of £250,000 has been made available for 2001–02 with access to drugs controlled by the consultant psychiatric team. Agreements are also in place with regard to future funding up to 2005–06. Additionally, in August 2001 a further £180,000 was agreed to fund a health team to support and monitor treatments of patients using anti-dementia drugs.

The trust has initiated discussions with the Alzheimer's Disease Society, health and social services colleagues in Coventry and Warwickshire to further explore the potential for developing a hospital and community- residential element to the early onset dementia service.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent measures have been introduced to support the elderly suffering with dementia. [9030]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 October 2001]: It is important that older people with dementia have access to a full range of services that will meet their needs in whatever setting is most appropriate.

The National Service Framework (NSF) for Older People was published on 27 March this year. It sets, for the first time, new national standards of care for all older people, across all care settings. The NSF looks at conditions that mainly affect older people, including dementia.

Standard 7 of the NSF relates to mental health and will ensure that those older people who have mental health problems have access to integrated mental health services, provided by the National Health Service and councils, to ensure effective diagnosis, treatment and support, for them and for their carers.

The Care Standards Act 2000 will have a big impact on raising the quality of care for people with dementia in residential and nursing homes. From April 2002 all care homes will have to have a statement of purpose and be able to demonstrate that they can meet it. Homes catering for people with dementia will have to show that they have suitably trained staff, know, understand and apply the relevant specialist and clinical guidance, provide stimulation and leisure activities that are suited to the needs of people with dementia.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence appraisal of anti-dementia drugs published in January 2001 will ensure that effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease are available on an equitable basis across the country.


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