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2 Apr 2003 : Column 770W—continued

Care Home Beds

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many beds were available in Buckinghamshire in the care home sector in 2002. [105694]

Jacqui Smith: Information on the number of care home beds in Buckinghamshire in 2002 is not yet available. At 31 March 2001, there was a total of 5,380 residential and nursing care home places in the Buckinghamshire area: 3,430 residential care places in Buckinghamshire County and Milton Keynes Unitary authorities and 1,950 nursing care places in Buckinghamshire Health Authority.

Children's Institutions

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many children's homes there are in England; how much funding is allocated to each per year; and what estimate he has made of the number of children living in institutions in each year since 1997; [105933]

Jacqui Smith: The table shows the number of children's homes and number of looked after children in children's homes at 31 March 2002. The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) now collates data on children's homes. Figures for 2002–03 should be available later in the year.

EnglandAll children's homes(23)Looked after children placed in homes(24),(25)

(23) Figures are available for 1997 and 2000 only.

(24) Some homes may include children who are not looked after

(25) Excludes children placed in homes under an agreed series of short term placements. Includes children in secure units, homes and hostels.

In 2001–02, the gross expenditure by councils in England on children's homes was £716.7 million. In 2002, 89 per cent. of the 59,700 children looked after in England were in alternative placements to children's homes. The Children Act 1989 is based upon the belief that children are generally best looked after within the family, with both parents playing a full part and without resort to legal proceedings. When a child is being looked after by the local authority, the local authority is required to make arrangements for that child to live with a member of his family unless to do so would be impractical or inconsistent with the child's welfare. If they cannot live with their family, their placement should be best suited to their needs. The "choice protects" review focuses on the way in which placement options for looked after children are commissioned, and on support for fostering services.

The "quality protects" programme has focused on ensuring children looked after gain the maximum life chance benefits from educational opportunities, health care and social care. The Department of Health recently announced a new public service agreement target for the education of children in care, to improve life chances for children by substantially narrowing the gap between the educational attainment and participation of children in care and that of their peers by 2006. Joint Department for Education and Skills/Department of Health Guidance on the Education of Young People in Public Care (May 2000) sets out clear steps for local authorities to take to improve attainment. The Department of Health also published new guidance in November 2002 on "Promoting the Health of Looked After Children".

National Minimum Standards (NMS) for Children's Homes were published in April 2002. They set out standards covering provision of healthcare, education and life skills to children looked after as well as the training and qualifications of care staff and registered managers. A new grant, the National Training Strategy Grant, is to commence this year. A proportion of this grant (£17.9 million) will support the completion of National Vocational Qualifications required under the NMS.

Delayed Discharge Data

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those NHS bodies found by the National Audit Office not to be adhering to his Department's definition of delayed discharge in data returns; and what in each case the cause of inaccuracy was. [105393]

Jacqui Smith: No. The national health service trusts identified by the National Audit Office survey as departing significantly from the Department's central definition for delayed transfers of care, have subsequently confirmed that they are now working within the central definition.


Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the drug therapies available to treat children with enuresis; and what proportion of children with enuresis are receiving drug treatment for the condition. [105808]

Jacqui Smith: Drug therapy is an option in the treatment of childhood enuresis. There are four drugs that can be used to treat children with enuresis listed in the British National Formulary (BNF 6.5.2 Desmopressin Acetate, 4.3.1 Amitriptyline Hydrochloride, Imipramine Hydrochloride and Nortriptyline).

Information on the number of children with enuresis and on those who receive the drugs listed above is not collected centrally. However, it is estimated that around 180,000 prescription items for these drugs were dispensed in the community in England for children in 2001. This relates to prescription items rather than numbers of children. Also this does not take account of prescription items dispensed in hospitals or private prescriptions.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on including the treatment of enuresis in the Children's National Service Framework. [105810]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) on 24 February 2003, Official Report, columns 33–34W and on 4 March 2003, Official Report, column 996W.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on how he ensures that children with enuresis are treated equally in each primary care trust; [105811]

Jacqui Smith: Early development of the national service framework for children, young people and maternity services has shown that the standards set will be relevant to, although not specifically about, the management of enuresis. One key theme being developed is improving the management of common childhood illnesses and health concerns. The new standards will help to ensure that children and young people are able to access appropriate services at the right time and that they can take an active part in making decisions about their care.

Information on the numbers of children with enuresis is not collected centrally.

Foundation Hospitals

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many foundation hospitals are proposed; and where they will be located. [105947]

Mr. Hutton: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave my right hon. Friend, the member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) on Thursday 6 March, Official Report, columns 1207–08W.

An announcement about those invited to put forward second stage applications will be made shortly.

Mental Health

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the registration and inspection requirements are for independent hospitals caring for young people detained under the Mental Health Acts. [105974]

Jacqui Smith: Independent hospitals caring for young people detained under the Mental Health Act are required to register as independent hospitals with the National Care Standards Commission under the Care Standards Act 2000, and are required to comply with the Private and Voluntary Health Care Regulations made under that Act.

Inspections are carried out annually. In considering whether an independent hospital complies with the Regulations, inspectors take into account the extent to which it meets the National Minimum Standards. There are two types of standards: Core Standards, which apply to all establishments, and Service-specific standards, which apply to the particular services provided. There are service-specific standards for all mental health hospitals, additional ones for those hospitals that treat children and adolescents, and a further set of standards addressing hospitals that take people who are liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act.

Copies of all the regulations and standards are available in the Library. They can also be seen on the website at:

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to make widely available an account of the responses to the consultation on the draft Mental Health Bill. [106583]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 2 April 2003]: We received almost 2,000 responses to the consultation. Work on the Mental Health Bill continues carefully and the results of the consultation will be made public before the introduction of the Bill.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the average cost per child to mental health services of treating children with enuresis that are believed to suffer from psychological problems. [105793]

Jacqui Smith: The information is not available in the form requested.

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