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3 Dec 2002 : Column 763W—continued

HIV-positive Babies

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many live births to HIV-infected mothers were subsequently found to be HIV-positive in each year since 1997. [84023]

Ms Blears: The table shows the number of reported live births in England to HIV-infected women for the years 1997–2001, by the last reported infection status of child and year of birth.

Year of birth (26)InfectedIndeterminate(27)UninfectedTotal reported live births

(26) For recent years, numbers may increase as late reports are received.

(27) Those children categorised as indeterminate are probably uninfected but it takes up to 18 months (due to persistence of maternal antibodies in the child) before a negative antibody test can rule out infection in the child.

Home Care Services

Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to ensure that home care services are free at the point of need. [83337]

Jacqui Smith: Councils have had the power to charge for non-residential social services since the 1948 National Assistance Act. Councils have wide discretion on how to set their charges, although it is stipulated that if they choose to charge for services, the charges generally should be 'reasonable'.

The Department issued statutory guidance to local councils for home care charges in November 2001. This guidance does not seek to change councils' power to charge, or not, but seeks to ensure that, where councils do charge, this will be based on fairer, well designed charging policies. An important principle of the guidance is that charges should not reduce a person's income below basic levels of income support plus a 25 per cent. buffer.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had on allowing hospices to apply for lottery funding. [84061]

Ms Blears: Department officials have been closely involved in discussions on the eligibility of hospices to apply for lottery funding. I am content that the results of a widespread and public consultation exercise undertaken by the New Opportunities Fund indicated the possible merits of applications for lottery funding from hospices.

The New Opportunities Fund Board is responsible for the operation of the fund. Support for adult hospices has been made by the fund under the Living with Cancer

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programme and further funding is being made available for adult community palliative care services and children's hospices. I understand that a number of hospices have applied to the Fund through this programme and that decisions on applications will be announced in the new year.

Hospital Discharge Workbook

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to update the hospital discharge workbook. [84042]

Jacqui Smith: The guidance on hospital discharge is currently being reviewed with a view to publishing a revised workbook shortly.

Linten Hospital Site

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will decide whether Maidstone and Weald primary trust will be allowed to take forward their proposal for a 48 bed interim care centre at the former Linten Hospital site; and if he will make a statement. [84009]

Ms Blears: Discussions on the future of the Linten Hospital site have been underway for some time. Kent and Medway Health Strategic Health Authority is in close contact with the Maidstone and Weald Primary Care Trust to look at a number of options for the development of intermediate care and associated services in the locality. No decisions have yet been made by the health economy but I am advised by the strategic health authority that a number of proposals are under active consideration.

Medway Secure Training Centre

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many suicides there have been at Medway Secure Training Centre since 1999. [84016]

Hilary Benn: I have been asked to reply.


Mental Health

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to (a) maximise compliance and (b) minimise compulsion in relation to the use of antipsychotic medicines for severe mental illness. [83805]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Mr Loughton) on Monday 25 November 2002, Official Report, col. 129W.

Mental Health Grant

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what surplus resources will remain after the survey process for the final out-turn of the mental health grant has been completed. [84034]

Jacqui Smith: There will not be any surplus resources of the Mental Health Grant as it is redistributed to councils with social service responsibilities in accordance with a detailed bidding process.

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National Care Standards

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will issue guidance to local authority inspectors to enable them to interpret according to individual circumstances the physical standards regulations within the National Care Standards, when registering new community housing projects where service users will not have major physical support needs, including brain injury rehabilitation community housing services; [82924]

Jacqui Smith: We have made it clear in the past that the National Minimum Standards will be continuously monitored. We had always proposed to review them within the first three years of operation, and in the light of the review consider any changes needed. Where significant changes are proposed, the Government have pledged that there will be another consultation process to ensure that the views of the sector are fully represented.

The Department issued a consultation document, XCare Homes for Older People and Younger Adults: Consultation Document—August 2002", on 16 August. It set out how the National Minimum Standards should be amended so that certain environmental standards will no longer apply to care homes which existed before 1 April 2002.

The consultation document draws attention to the package of measures the Department launched in January 2002 to smooth the introduction of the national standards. This included comprehensive statutory guidance to the Commission, under section 6 of the Care Standards Act, setting out the supportive way in which the standards should be applied. The guidance indicates that the standards should be used to help guide all care homes on action they can take to improve their services. In addition, in August 2002, we issued guidance on the regulation of supported housing and care homes.

Responses to the consultation have been received from a range of interested parties, including the voluntary and charitable sector organisations. We are

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currently considering these and will shortly be issuing an amended set of national minimum standards for care homes for older people and for care homes for younger adults.

We have received a number of representations including some from voluntary or charitable providers of care services about the application of National Care Standards.

National Healthy Schools Standard

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of schools have adopted the National Healthy Schools Standard. [84046]

Ms Blears: Over half of the 25,600 schools in England are involved in the national healthy schools programme and over 8,000 are working towards achievement of the full standard.

All schools have received information about the national programme and there are 105 local education and health partnerships recruiting and supporting schools to achieve the standard.

National School Fruit Scheme

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of primary schools are participating in the National School Fruit Scheme. [84013]

Ms Blears: The national school fruit scheme will entitle every child aged four to six to a free piece of fruit each school day from 2004. The scheme is currently being expanded to all eligible schools through large scale pilots on a region by region basis with funding of £42 million from the New Opportunities Fund.

It is currently available to all primary, infant and special schools attended by four to six year olds in London and West Midlands regions and selected schools in small pilot areas in other regions.

In West Midlands 89 per cent, of eligible schools are currently participating. In London, from 2 December, 78 per cent, will be participating. These are schools which have joined the scheme at the first time of asking. We expect the percentage of participating schools to rise in the new year.

Participating schools in West Midlands, London and the small pilot areas represent 20 per cent, of primary, infant and special schools in England attended by four to six year olds.

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