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2 Apr 2003 : Column 770W—continued

Neuroleptic Prescribing

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 371W, on neuroleptic prescribing, what research his Department is commissioning to discover the extent of overmedication in care homes; and how much research has been commissioned on overmedication in each of the last five years. [105882]

Jacqui Smith: The main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments for disease is the Medical Research Council (MRC), which receives its funding from the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology. The MRC is not currently funding any research on overmedication in care homes. The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for research into any aspect of human health, and these are considered in competition with other demands on funding.

The Department funds research to support policy and delivery of effective practice in health and social care. The Department has not recently, and is not currently, funding any research on overmedication in care homes.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health, announced on 31 March 2003 that, as part of its eighth work programme, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence would be looking at the management of dementia, including the use of anti-psychotic medication in people with dementia.

NHS University

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 13 March 2003, Official Report, column 419W, on the NHS University (NHSU), when the NHSU working group last met; and if the NHSU working group have a date which they are working to, to submit the necessary paperwork to the Privy Council to grant the NHSU university status. [106549]

Mr. Hutton: The first meeting of the joint working group on university status for the National Health Service University will take place in early May. By autumn 2003 it will produce recommendations, including a timetable, on the appropriate processes and mechanisms for the NHSU to work towards a successful application for university status.

Occupational Therapists/Physiotherapists

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to revise his Department's targets for recruiting (a) occupational therapists and (b) physiotherapists as a result of the recommendation of the National Audit Office in its report on hospital discharge. [105391]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS Plan acknowledged that there was a shortage of staff in the national health service and set challenging targets for increasing the NHS work force. The Government are committed to increasing the numbers of therapists and other health professionals, including physiotherapists and occupational therapists, by 6,500 by 2004 over a 1999 baseline. By September 2001, there had been an increase of 3,400.

Occupational therapy and physiotherapy are two of the fastest growing professions in the NHS, increasing by 2,030 or 20 per cent. and 1,970 or 14 per cent. respectively since 1997.

Occupational therapy training places have increased by 605 and physiotherapy training places by 687 since 1997 and are set to rise further as part of the NHS Plan commitment to provide 4,450 more training places for therapists and other key professional staff by 2004.

Older People

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many councils have reviewed their eligibility for adult social care to ensure they do not discriminate on the basis of age as part of the milestones set out in the National Service Framework for Older People. [106223]

Jacqui Smith: Councils are asked to implement eligibility criteria in accordance with Department of Health guidance on 'Fair access to care services', by 7 April 2003. Through implementing the guidance, councils will fulfil the first stage requirement of standard one of the national service framework for older people with respect to rooting out age discrimination. This is because the eligibility framework focuses entirely on needs and risks and makes no reference to age. Implementation of the guidance will also assist councils to review wider policies for, and access to, adult social care in pursuit of standard one.

Parliamentary Questions

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will answer the Question, reference 95866, tabled by the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon. [101952]

Mr. Hutton: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on Friday 28 March.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam will receive replies to his questions (a) 103150, (b) 100709, (c) 100710, (d) 100712 and (e) 97271. [105292]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 27 March 2003]: I refer the hon. Member to the replies that I gave him on 25 March 2003, Official Report, column 200W, and on 26 March 2003, Official Report, column 266W. I also refer him to the reply given by my hon. Friend, the Minister of State (Jacqui Smith) on 24 March 2003, Official Report, column 77W, and to that given by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Mr. Lammy) on 25 March 2003, Official Report, column 192W. I answered the remaining question on 1 April.

Pensions

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the (a) funded and (b) unfunded public sector pension schemes for which his Department, its agencies and its non-departmental public bodies are responsible; when the last actuarial valuation was of each scheme; what the value was of the assets at the last actuarial valuation of each scheme; what deficit is disclosed by the last actuarial valuation of each scheme; and if he will make a statement. [104926]

Mr. Hutton: The Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies are not responsible for any public pension schemes but some do participate in the national health service pension schemes.

The NHS Pension Scheme is unfunded and holds no assets. However, for the purpose of assessing the level of employer contributions a notional account is maintained.

The last NHS Pension Scheme valuation report was published on 9 March 1999 and covered the period 1 April 1989 to 31 March 1994. However, the Government Actuary has since assessed the capitalised value of the scheme's liabilities for past service and assumed future service, including pension increases, as £109.3 billion as at 31 March 1999.

Prison Health Care

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the (a) care programme approach and (b) section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 apply to prisoners. [105175]

Jacqui Smith: The Government's policy, as set out in Changing the Outlook a Strategy for Developing and Modernising Mental Health Services in Prisons, December 2001, is that prisoners who were on the care programme approach (CPA) before coming into prison should be able to have their programmes of treatment continued as far as possible within the prison setting. Prisoners whose clinical profile would precipitate CPA in the community should commence on CPA in prison. The NHS Plan included firm commitments that, by 2004, all prisoners with severe mental illness will be in receipt of treatment and no prisoner with a serious mental illness will leave prison without a care plan and a care co-ordinator.

Implementation of the prison mental health strategy will have the effect of applying the aftercare arrangements required under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to prisoners who, having been transferred to hospital for in-patient treatment, are subsequently returned to prison.

Private Hire Vehicles

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements his Department makes for the regulation and training of private hire vehicle companies employed by local authorities to transport (a) adults and (b) children with (i) autism and (ii) other disabilities. [105207]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. friend the Parliamentary Under-secretary of State at the Department for Transport on Monday 31 March, Official Report, column. 517W.

Public Dividend Capital

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was paid in dividends to the Consolidated Fund on public dividend capital by each NHS trust for each year since 1997; and what percentage of the public dividend capital held by each NHS trust these amounts represent. [105144]

Mr. Hutton: The information has been placed in the Library.

Residential Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the Personal Social Services Research Unit examination of demand and supply, by region, for residential care referred to in the National Audit Office report on hospital discharge. [105394]

Jacqui Smith: We commissioned this research from the Personal Social Services Research Unit in 2000. As a result, we published "The Residential Care and Nursing Home Sector for Older People: An Analysis of Past Trends, Current and Future Demand" on 8August 2002. Copies are available in the Library and on the Department's website at: www.doh.gov.uk/careanalysis.index.htm The research illustrated that the supply and demand for care homes is not in balance in each region.


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