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Global Warming

36. Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what potential new diseases he has identified in the United Kingdom as a result of global warming. [26396]

Yvette Cooper: The review "Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK" was published for comment in 2001. This review is currently being edited and the final report will be published during the next few months. It was prepared by an expert group and focused on a range of impacts. These included the possible increase in local outbreaks of malaria and in diseases associated with ticks. The full report is available on the Department's website

Care Homes

37. Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the change in the number of care home places since 1996. [26397]

Jacqui Smith: The table shows the number of residential places and nursing beds in care homes in England for each year since 1996. The number of places/beds peaked in 1998 at 553,500, an increase of 8 per cent. from 1996. Since then, the total number of places/beds has fallen to 528,000. However, this is still 3 per cent. higher than the 1996 level.

Further information on places and beds can be found in the Statistical Bulletin, "Community Care Statistics 2001: Residential Personal Social Services for Adults, England". A copy of the publication is in the Library.

Residential places and registered nursing beds, 1996 to 2001
England   Rounded numbers

As at 31 MarchResidential places in residential care homes(24)Registered nursing beds(25) in nursing homes(26)Total care places

(24) Includes residential places in dual registered homes

(25) Includes nursing places in dual registered homes

(26) Nursing homes are defined as general and mental nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics.

(27) Information in 1996 and 1997 refers to the period 1 October to 31 March for registered nursing beds.


Department of Health annual returns

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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what level of support funding has been given to care home owners to enable them to meet the requirements of the Care Standards Act 2001; what level of funding will be available for the continuing adjustments; and if he will make a statement. [7991]

Jacqui Smith: The resources provided for personal social services are increasing by, on average 3.4 per cent. per annum in real terms over the next three years. We expect home owners will cover the costs of meeting the standards through the fees they charge. Local authorities are funded to meet these additional costs. The Government, through the agreement between the statutory and independent social care, health care and housing sectors "Building Capacity and Partnership in Care" (paragraph 6.2), issued in October 2001, made it clear that service commissioners should not set contract prices for care places mechanistically. We expect them to have regard to providers' costs and efficiencies and planned outcomes for service users.

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many beds were available in the Hillingdon and Harrow health authority in the care home sector in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000 and (e) 2001. [27267]

Jacqui Smith: The table shows the number of places in residential care homes and registered beds in nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics in the areas covered by Hillingdon health authority and the Brent and Harrow health authority area between 1997 and 2001. Information is not separately available for Harrow.

Residential places(28) and registered nursing beds in the Hillingdon
and brent and Harrow area(29) between 1997 and 2001 Number

At 31 MarchPlaces in residential care homesRegistered nursing beds in nursing homes(30),(31)Total places/beds
(a) 1997 2,5771,3613,938
(b) 1998 2,5861,6004,186
(c) 19992,4141,7784,192
(d) 20002,5391,7184,257
(e) 20012,5371,8944,431

(28) Excludes places in children's homes.

(29) Information is presented for the area covered by the health authorities of Hillingdon and Brent and Harrow and correspondingly the London boroughs of Hillingdon, Harrow and Brent.

(30) Registered beds in general and mental nursing homes, hospitals and clinics.

(31) Information for registered nursing beds in 1997 relates to the period 1 October 1996 to 31 March 1997.


Department of Health's annual returns

Foster Care

38. Mr. Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he takes to monitor the safety of privately fostered children. [26398]

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Jacqui Smith: Once a local authority has been notified of a private fostering arrangement it is required under the Children Act 1989 to be satisfied that the foster parents, household and accommodation are satisfactory and that the welfare of the child is being safeguarded and promoted.

The private fostering arrangement has to be monitored by the local authority, through supervising, regulating and advising the foster carers and parents. The local authority is required to visit at specified intervals and to report on these visits. They have the power to impose requirements, or if there are serious concerns, to prohibit the fostering arrangement.

A chief inspector's letter was issued in 2000 reminding local authorities of their duties for supervising children placed in private foster arrangements.

The chief inspector heads the social service inspectorate, (SSI) a professional division of the Department, and independent of the local authority, voluntary and private sector providers of social services. The SSI is responsible for inspecting local council personal social services provision and its organisation and management in order to promote quality standards, improve effectiveness and efficiency, and ensure the safety and well-being of service users.


Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the health authorities which do not offer abortions within 10 weeks. [19455]

Yvette Cooper: All health authorities in England and Wales funded some national health service abortions within 10 weeks gestation of pregnancy in 2000. However, the percentage funded by the NHS varied, and ranged from 26 per cent. in one health authority area to 96 per cent. or more in three health authority areas.

The sexual health and HIV strategy states that services should be developed to provide NHS funded abortions in line with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' clinical guideline "Induced Abortion" and 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.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if it is his intention to extend the right of adoption to (a) unmarried opposite sex couples and (b) same sex couples; and if he will make a statement. [19224]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 29 November 2001]: We are looking thoroughly at the many and complex issues of partnership registration, rights and responsibilities. Adoption will, alongside all other relevant issues, be considered as part of that work.

Under the existing Adoption Act 1976 single people may adopt (regardless of sexual orientation), but only married couples may adopt jointly. It is open for one unmarried partner to adopt a child and for the other to obtain parental responsibility by applying for a residence order in respect of the child. The Adoption and Children

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Bill makes no change in this area. The Government's intentions will, of course, be subject to the parliamentary consideration of the Bill currently under way.

NHS Professionals

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he intends to review the NHS's use of framework agreements as part of the tendering process for NHS professionals. [24419]

Mr. Hutton: London, where the first framework agreement was completed, has been the subject of on-going review in line with the structured and widely recognised project management methodology, PRINCE. An initial evaluation was completed with findings presented to the London Agency Project Board. Further evaluation will take place in six months with good practice shared with others undergoing similar processes.

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