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3 Dec 2002 : Column 763Wcontinued
|Year of birth (26)||Infected||Indeterminate(27)||Uninfected||Total 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.
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.
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.
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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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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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; 
(3) if he plans to review the effect of the National Care Standards on the provision of care home, supported and community housing services to people with disabilities; 
(4) what representations he has received from voluntary or charitable sector providers of care home, supported and community housing services for people with disabilities concerning the application of the National Care Standards. 
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 DocumentAugust 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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