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Hospice Funding

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the funds he announced on 26 December 2003 to improve care for the dying will be allocated; and how much will be made available to hospices. [153225]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Command Paper arising from the recent consultation on Choice, Responsiveness and Equity in the NHS, "Building on the Best", stated that, building on work already in hand to develop specialist palliative care services for cancer, we will be working in partnership with voluntary and statutory bodies to build on current initiatives and extend them over time to all adult patients nearing the end of life. The project will, therefore, benefit all patients, including those with cancer. The additional £12 million (over three years) funding to support this initiative announced by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, on 26 December will specifically help support implementation of the Macmillan Gold Standards Framework, South Lancashire and Cumbria Cancer Network's Preferred Place of Care and Marie Curie's Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying.

Arrangements for the allocation of the £12 million is still being finalised. The Department, through the national clinical director, is working closely with key stakeholders on how this project will be handled.

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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much money has been given through the NHS to (a) Derian House Hospice and (b) St Catherine's Hospice in each of the last five years; [153381]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information is not available in the format requested. However, during 2002–03, the Chorley & South Ribble Primary Care Trust provided recurrent funding of £427,000 to St. Catherine's Hospice and £11,000 to Derian House Hospice.

Financial returns in previous years do not separately identify payments made to hospices.

Illegal Meat

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial support the Food Standards Agency is providing to local authorities to aid them in the (a) detection and (b) prosecution of traders in illegal meat. [153265]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) can offer assistance to local authorities (LAs) in the form of access to thirty members of the illegal meat task force and seven investigating officers to assist them in their enquiries into the illegal meat trade.

These officers have received comprehensive training by the FSA on investigative procedures and techniques, so that they can then advise LAs as to the most appropriate way they can proceed with their investigations.

The task force members are regionally based in LAs and each will initially provide up to ten working days per year in their role as adviser. The costs of their services will be borne directly by the FSA.

LAs may also apply to the FSA for financial assistance towards their work of detecting and prosecuting traders in illegal meat.

The FSA has allocated an initial annual sum of £200,000 to assist LAs in this area of work.

Learning Disabilities

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on health provision for (a) children and (b) adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities. [153784]

Dr. Ladyman: Both children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities have the same right of access to national health service treatment as everyone else. Our White Paper, "Valuing People—a New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century" (Cm 5086, paragraph 8.33), recognises that people with severe and profound learning disabilities often have other associated health problems such as physical disabilities, sensory impairments and epilepsy.

The White Paper says that specialist learning disability staff have important roles in enhancing the competence of other local services to support service users in their usual surroundings and in enabling them

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to access mainstream services. Good practice guidance on "Valuing People" proposals for health action plans and health facilitation devotes a full chapter to people with sensory impairments and/or profound and multiple learning disabilities.

"Valuing People" made people with severe and profound learning disabilities a priority for Learning Disability Development Fund (LDDF) capital investment. When we wrote to chief executives of primary care trusts in February 2004, we asked them to take account of the needs of people with high support needs when deciding how best to use their 2004–05 LDDF revenue allocations.

We are also developing the children's national service framework (NSF), which will set new national standards for the NHS and social services. Services for disabled children will be a key part of the NSF, which will include care pathways/exemplar diagrams illustrating optimum approaches to delivering services in a number of different areas.

Mental Health (Suicide)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what standards on (a) furniture and (b) accessories the Government sets for those caring for mental health patients in an effort to reduce the risk of suicide; and whose responsibility it is to ensure that these standards are met; [154416]

Ms Rosie Winterton: NHS Estates publishes guidance for psychiatric accommodation in the form of hospital building notes (HBNs) and design guides (DCs). NHS Estates also provide technical guidance to supplement HBNs and DCs covering individual elements of buildings such as doors, windows etc.

Other guidance includes "Psychiatric intensive care units—policy guidance and standards" published by the Department of Health.

Guidance was also issued in September 2000 to eliminate the possibility of suicides from cubicle curtain tracks, window curtain tracks and shower rails by replacing the ligature points with low weight release systems. This work was completed by April 2002. Attention was also drawn to many other ligature points which should also be removed including wardrobe rails, door closers, rigid fixed coat hooks, door handles, window mechanisms and radiators.

It is the responsibility of the trust and their professional advisors to satisfy themselves that all measures possible have been taken to eliminate the risk of self-harm by a patient.

"The Architectural Healthcare Environment and its Effects on Patient Health Outcomes" an NHS Estates funded research project undertaken by Sheffield University, includes standards which contribute to a reduction in the risk of suicide.

The standards being used in newly designed psychiatric facilities are providing a very high standard of design quality with good space standards, plenty of

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natural light and ventilation, privacy and dignity for the patients and access to a range of therapeutic facilities and external spaces.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the Government's policy is on reducing the risks of suicide in mental health hospitals. [154417]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England has identified those in touch with mental health services as a group at high risk of suicide. The strategy sets out a number of actions mental health services need to take to reduce the risk of suicides within this high risk group. The first annual report of the suicide prevention programme sets out progress made so far and further action that needs to be taken in the medium and longer term. A copy of the report is available in the Library.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health to what (a) precedent cases and (b) expert knowledge (i) the Government and (ii) relevant bodies refer when seeking to reduce the risks of suicide in mental health hospitals. [154419]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) funds the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness to ensure that everyone involved in mental health services learns and implements lessons from the factors associated with serious incidents. The inquiry team published Safety First: Five Year Report in 2001. The key findings and recommendations outlined in this report also helped to develop the national suicide prevention strategy. The National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) has developed a toolkit to help mental health services implement the report's recommendations.

In addition, the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) plays a key role in bringing patient safety to a national level, enabling the entire National Health Service to learn from incidents and make itself safer and more stress free for patients.

Finally, Standard 7 of the national service framework for mental health requires local health and social care communities to develop local systems for suicide audit to learn lessons and take any necessary action.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the links between suicide in mental health institutions and high drug abuse and dependency rates. [154420]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Safety First, the five year report of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, highlighted substance abuse as a risk factor in incidents of suicide by people under the care of mental health services and set out recommendations for local services based on these findings. These included local strategies for dual diagnosis covering training on the management of substance misuse, joint working with substance misuse services, and staff with specific responsibility to develop the local service.

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