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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the running costs were of (a) his Ministers' private offices, separately identifying expenditure on staff and (b) his Department in each year from May 1997 to the nearest date for which the information is available. 
Ms Blears: Information is available for the financial years 199798 to 200001. The running costs for Ministers' private offices and the Department for each of these years is shown in the table.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the annual costs of (a) the Commission for Health Improvement, (b) the National Care Standards Commission, (c) the National Clinical Assessment Authority, (d) the National Patient Safety Agency and (e) the National Institute for Clinical Excellence will be for 200203, and the following three years. 
Ms Blears: The central Departmental revenue funding which has been reserved for 200203 is set out in the following table:
|Organisation||Funding for 200203 in # millions|
|Commission for Health Improvement||34.0|
|National Care Standards Commission||88.1|
|National Clinical Assessment Authority||13.3|
|National Patient Safety Agency||15.0|
|National Institute for Clinical Excellence||14.8|
Decisions on the level of funding for 200304 to 200506 will be made in the light of the work on the 2002 Spending Review.
26 Mar 2002 : Column 919W
Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will (a) collate, (b) evaluate and (c) disseminate best practice found in NHS trusts offering services for ME sufferers. 
Jacqui Smith: The Chief Medical Officer commissioned a report from the CFS/ME independent working group, which was published on the 11 January. Copies of the report and its annexes are available at the following website: www.doh.gov.uk/cmo/publications.htm. The report recommended the development of service networks to increase knowledge and understanding of the condition, and this is something we would support.
Although there are currently no specific plans to collate, evaluate and disseminate best practice in NHS trusts offering services for ME sufferers, we are committed to take other action which will help spread best practice. A referral to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) to provide guidance on management and treatment is something we will consider.
We are also ensuring that the External Reference Groups who will be developing the two National Service Frameworks (NSF) for both children's services and adults with long term conditions, consider this report and its recommendations for improving treatment and care.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to raise the status of social workers; and if he will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: We have established the General Social Care Council (GSCC) to raise the standard of social care and increase the protection of the public. The GSCC will do this by promoting high standards in the training of social workers and other social care staff, publishing codes of practice, setting out the standard of conduct expected of social care workers and by registering the workforce, starting with qualified social workers in 2003. In order to maintain registration with the GSCC individuals will be expected to keep their practice and training up to date. We have also announced a change to the social work qualification from a two-year diploma in social work to a three-year degree level qualification.
The term Social Worker is often used by people working in social care who do not hold a social work qualification. When sufficient numbers of qualified social workers have been registered by the GSCC we shall take steps to protect the use of the title social worker to those who have a social work qualification and who are registered as such with the GSCC. It will be an offence under the Care Standards Act 2000 for anyone to misrepresent his/her self with the intention of deceiving.
26 Mar 2002 : Column 920W
Last year we started a three year recruitment and retention campaign. One of the objectives of the campaign is to raise awareness of social work and to improve the image of social workers.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many care home beds there were, broken down by local authority in England in each year since 1997. 
Jacqui Smith: Information on the total number of residential care places by Local Authority for the years 1997 to 2001 is shown in Table 1. Information on nursing care beds by Health Authority is shown in Table 2.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many care homes have closed in (a) Shropshire and (b) the West Midlands since 1997. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 21 March 2002]: The information on the number of residential and nursing care homes in Shropshire and West Midlands is shown in the table at 31 March each year. A copy has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the extent to which people are inappropriately placed in (a) residential care homes and (b) nursing homes; and what steps he is taking to ensure appropriate placements. 
Jacqui Smith: The Audit Commission's report XThe coming of age", published in 1997 and subsequent work by the Department of Health, confirmed that better assessment and the development of preventative and rehabilitative services, could lead to more appropriate and effective permanent placements of state-funded individuals in residential care and nursing homes.
Since then through the NHS Plan and the National Service Framework for Older People, the Department has introduced a single assessment process to ensure that individual's needs are assessed in the round, and funded the development of a range of preventive and intermediate care services. These developments will help to ensure that older people and other adults, wherever possible, are only admitted to residential accommodation when necessary.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what ceiling he has put on start up costs for the new strategic health authorities; and whether this is in ratio to the size of the population served. 
Mr. Hutton: New Strategic Health Authorities will have a cap on their staffing numbers of 75 staff and #4 million running costs but the exact amount per authority will be determined by their franchise plan. The functions of the strategic health authorities are substantially the same across all 28 irrespective of size of the population they serve.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the costs of establishing the North Yorkshire and Humberside Strategic Health
26 Mar 2002 : Column 921W
Authority (a) in new purpose-built health premises on the York Science Park and (b) by converting the existing NHS property at Willeby. 
Jacqui Smith: The only cost incurred in provisionally locating and establishing the Strategic Health Authority (StHA) HQ for North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire is for the rent of two offices in the York Science Park for February and March 2002. This will be approximately #3,500. This is the Project Office for the Strategic Health Authority pending a discussion about its permanent location.
On 20 March 2002, the StHA shadow Board discussed the option appraisal and work in progress to produce an outline business case. It was unanimously agreed that appropriate criteria had been used to inform the option appraisal on the location of the StHA and that the decision made by the Chairman and Chief Executive (Designate) to accept the recommendation of the York Science Park was supported. Formal consideration of the outline business case will be part of the first StHA Board Meeting on 18 April 2002.
All the existing NHS accommodation, including the accommodation currently occupied by the East Riding and Hull Health Authority at Willerby, is proposed for future use in each locality and will largely accommodate primary care trust staff including shared services to support these organisations. For this reason, no estimate was made of the cost of establishing the North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire StHA HQ at Willberby.
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