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Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the number of pensioners in resident nursing homes receiving expense allowances of £16.05 or less in (a) Great Britain and (b) south Gloucestershire. 
On 31 March 2001, 65,482 people were supported by councils in nursing homes in England, and 379 people were supported in nursing homes by South Gloucestershire council. The figures for Scotland and Wales are the responsibility of the devolved Administrations.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in (a) residential and (b) nursing home care (i) were self-funders, (ii) paid a proportion of the cost toward their care and (iii) had all their costs paid for by the state in each of the last five years. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 8 January 2002]: The number of people who are resident in residential care homes and paying for their own care is not collected centrally. A survey conducted in June 2001 estimated that around 42,700 residents in general and mental nursing homes were paying wholly for their own care.
Information is not available separately for those who paid a proportion of the cost toward their care and those who had all their costs paid for by the state. Information on the numbers of people in residential and nursing care homes who had all or part of their costs paid for by councils with social services responsibilities is given in the following table.
|Year||Supported residents in residential care homes||Supported residents in nursing homes|
(37) A supported resident is a resident whose fees are paid in part or in full by a council with social services responsibility
Department of Health return SR1
28 Jan 2002 : Column 137W
|At 31 March||Number of places||Number of registered beds(39)|
(38) Registered beds in general and mental nursing homes, hospitals and clinics. Information is presented on nursing beds for the two health authorities of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (equating to the former local authority district of Hereford and Worcester).
(39) Information is presented for the former local authority district of Hereford and Worcester to ensure details of residential places given in the table are on consistent boundaries. (At 1 April 1998 the unitary authority of Herefordshire and the shire county area of Worcestershire were created).
(40) Information for registered nursing beds for 1997 relates to the period 1 October 1996 to 31 March 1997.
Department of Health annual returns
We are aware of concerns about capacity problems in the care home sector. On 9 October we published "Building Capacity and Partnership in Care". This sets out clear policy objectives to improve the planning and commissioning of services in partnership with the independent sector, in a way which will see standards rise within a better range of services. This will benefit service users and allow better discharge planning.
I am advised that Worcestershire county council's allocation of £713,000 from the Government's "Cash for Change" initiative will be used to fund additional residential and nursing home placements, a home care discharge scheme and one off payments to support independent sector homes cost pressures.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 16 January 2002, Official Report, column 379W, on residential nursing home beds, how many residential and nursing home beds were available, broken down by (a) constituency, (b) health authority and (c) region in (i) 1997 and (ii) the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Jacqui Smith: Information on residential and nursing homes is not available at constituency level. Information on residential care homes is collected at local authority level, while information on nursing care homes is collected at health authority level. The number of residential care beds cannot be shown at health authority level due to inconsistent geographical boundaries. My reply of 8 January 2002, Official Report, columns 65658W, gives the number of residential care home beds for each local authority and the number of nursing care home beds for each health authority at 31 March 1997 and 31 March 2001. Information on the total number of residential and nursing care home beds at 31 March 1997 and 31 March 2001 by national health service region is shown in the table.
28 Jan 2002 : Column 138W
|NHS regions||(i) 1997||(ii) 2001|
|Residential care home beds|
|Northern and Yorkshire||42,900||45,300|
|Nursing care home beds|
|Northern and Yorkshire||28,600||27,000|
Department of Health's annual returns
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 18 January 2002, Official Report, column 545W, on correspondence, when he transferred the letter referred to to the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 3 December 2001]: The number of meat hygiene service (MHS) staff employed in licensed premises and therefore qualified to work in abattoirs in the south-west (defined as covering the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire), as at the end of December 2001, was as follows:
|Official Veterinary Surgeon (employed)||1|
|Senior Poultry/Meat Hygiene Inspector||14|
|Poultry/Meat Hygiene Inspector||132|
|Cleansing and Disinfection Supervisor (FMD Controls)||11|
The MHS also contracts the services of 89 full-time equivalent official veterinary surgeons within the south- west. In addition, four veterinary surgeons along with a varying number of Meat and Livestock Commission staff currently fill MHS vacancies in over-thirty-months scheme plants.
28 Jan 2002 : Column 139W
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 15 November 2001]: The chairman of the CJD Incidents Panel requested in writing a copy of "the report on standards of decontamination in England and Wales". He has also requested the results of the subsequent comprehensive survey of decontamination standards.
A preliminary survey of some hospitals and other health premises carried out last year informed the Department that there was considerable variation of decontamination standards in the national health service. It demonstrated the need to invest in sterile services and for a comprehensive look at standards. As a result, a full survey started in October 2000 and a £200 million investment programme was announced in January 2001 to improve decontamination within the NHS over the next two years. A report on the findings of the surveys, including the snapshot survey, was published on 11 December 2001.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if it was his intention, when commissioning the study by Dr. David Hurrell on hospital sterilisation procedures, to publish its findings; 
(3) if he will publish the study by Dr. David Hurrell on hospital sterilisation procedures that reported to him in June 2000. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 15 November 2001]: The survey was a snapshot of a small number of hospitals and other health premises and was not commissioned with a view to publication. It was prepared for specific purposes, one of which was to set in train further workincluding deciding whether a full survey was needed. It told us that there was considerable variation of decontamination in the national health service and it demonstrated the need to invest in sterile services. Hence the announcement of the start of the full survey in October 2000 and the commitment to a £200 million investment programme in January 2001. We have published the results of this full national survey today.
Mr. Hurrell was technical co-ordinator for the snapshot survey, acted as lead assessor for some of the visits and helped to analyse the information collected. Although he contributed to the production of the interim and final reports, he did not write either of them.
Yvette Cooper: The correspondencebetween an official in national health service estates and an external consultantwas sent during an early phase of the systematic work we have undertaken to raise the standard
28 Jan 2002 : Column 140W
of decontamination across the NHS. A full set of the papers describing the programme of work that extended over many months was made public on 11 December. These show that no hospital is assessed as being below standard. The text of the letter dated 26 September 2000 from Kate Priestley, chief executive of NHS estates to David Hurrell is set out:
Re: Confidentiality requirementsDecontamination review
You will be aware of the strict confidentiality approach, which has been continuously applied during the original national survey work and the subsequent report drafting process regarding surgical instrument decontamination and sterilisation.
In light of the somewhat negative outcome recorded by the visiting assessors at the majority of clinical centres there is a need to ensure, at the express request of Ministers, that the final version and earlier draft reports remain strictly confidential.
Excellent progress in terms of planning for the implementation of the conclusions and recommendations of the report is being made. However, this position and the benefits derived from it, in healthcare terms, may be compromised if the findings of the report were to enter the public domain in an inappropriate or unauthorised fashion.
In light of the above we are reinforcing the need for confidentiality and ask that all members of the team return all report drafts as these are no longer needed. In the case of electronic copies would you please undertake to destroy these and to check that no relevant files remain on your system. Please ensure that this request is complied with promptly and confirm the destruction of electronic files by letter to the co-ordinator, Darryn Kerr.
Thanking you for your co-operation in this and many other aspects of the work."
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