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20 Mar 2006 : Column 151W—continued

Elderly Care Provision

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)what assessment she has made of the level of mental stimulation provided for elderly people who are cared for (a) by relatives and (b) in residential accommodation; and if she will make a statement; [48353]

(2) if she will take steps to ensure that elderly people (a) in their own homes and (b) in residential accommodation have free access to companionship and social interaction. [48354]

Mr. Byrne: The rights of older people in residential accommodation to enjoy mental stimulus, companionship and social interaction are covered in the existing CareHomes for Older People—National Minimum Standards", a copy of which is available in the Library.
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The Commission for Social Care Inspection inspects homes against the national minimum standards (NMS), when assessing compliance with the Care Homes Regulations 2001. The NMS address the topic from various perspectives, including the rights of service users to engage in social and community activities and interests, meeting and maintaining contact with friends and family, religious or cultural requirements, the suitability of residential home premises and the social value of meals and mealtimes.

Since October 2004, the Government have been engaged in a review of the NMS and the associated legislative framework for adult social care. The review is a key element in the modernisation of social care regulation and will update the statutory framework for which the Government are responsible.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the cost of providing free long-term care for elderly people. [57291]

Mr. Byrne: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2701W.

Expert Patient Programme

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS has paid (a) Kate Lorig and (b) Stanford university for the use of the Expert Patient Programme for the Chronically Ill. [58598]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 14 March 2006]: In 2002, the Department paid a single payment of approximately £72,000 to Stanford university for an unlimited use licence for the national health service and local authorities to practice the chronic disease self management course (CDSMC). Kate Lorig is head of the Patient Education Research Centre at Stanford university which led the development of the CDSMC and has received no separate payment. This licence to date has enabled 30,000 people with long-term health conditions in England to benefit from the chronic disease self-management course.

Failing Hospitals

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health under the health reform in England proposals, whether the (a) geographical distance and (b) quality of transport links to alternative effective hospitals will be taken into account in the decision over whether a failing hospital is to be required to close. [49626]

Jane Kennedy: Making decisions on local health care provision, including the closure of hospitals, is a matter for primary care trusts and strategic health authorities in consultation with the local population and its representatives. To support the consultation and decision making process the Department has issued two guidance documents:

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The recently published document, Health Reform in England: Update and Next Steps" does not make specific mention of the issues that national health service organisations should take into account when deciding whether a failing hospital is to be required to close.

Food Allergies

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been admitted to hospital due to allergic reactions to (a) nuts and (b) milk in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [58541]

Mr. Byrne: While hospital episode statistics contains details of patients admitted to, and treated in, hospital for food allergies, it is not possible to distinguish from the data how many of these admissions were as a result of an allergic reaction to nuts or milk.

Foundation Trusts

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether foundation hospital trusts have a veto over who may be (a) nominated and (b) proposed by a local authority for appointment to such trusts. [54896]

Mr. Byrne: Schedule 1, paragraph 9(4) of the Health and Social Care Act 2003 allows for a qualifying local authority to appoint a governor to an national health service foundation trust. The NHS foundation trust has no veto on who may be nominated nor appointed, provided the person concerned is not excluded by conditions set out in statute or the NHS foundation trust's constitution.

General Practitioners

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average take-home pay was for general practitioners in (a) England and (b) West Lancashire in each of the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement. [58472]

Mr. Byrne: Information on the average take-home pay for general practitioners in England and West Lancashire is not collected centrally. However, figures based on information for Great Britain are available, which is shown in the table.
Intended average net remuneration/income (£)

(46)Forecast figures

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to paragraph 3.22 of Our health, Our care, Our say", how many and what percentage of general practitioner practice lists are open but full; and if she will make a statement. [53608]

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Mr. Byrne: The new general medical services contract provides for practice patient lists to be either open or closed to new registrations. The Department does not therefore hold information of the number of practices who are claiming to have lists which are open but full. However, we do recognise that some practices may face capacity pressures and don't accept new registrations although they are not formally closed. The recent White Paper commits us to improving the closed list arrangements so that there is clarity for patients on whether a practice is open for new registrations. We intend to work with the NHS Employers and the British Medical Association to deliver that commitment.

Greater Manchester PCTs

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment her Department has made of the Greater Manchester primary care trusts' decision to end the 'in perpetuity' dowry agreements with local authorities and the political impact of the decision on social services budgets in the county; [57816]

(2) what discussions her Department has had with primary care trusts in Greater Manchester on their decision to end the 'in perpetuity' dowry agreements with local authorities. [57831]

Mr. Byrne: The Department has not had discussions with any primary care trust (PCT) in the Greater Manchester strategic health authority area regarding dowry agreements with local authorities and has made no assessment of any PCT decision in respect of this matter. It is for local authorities and national health service providers to determine the best way to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities in their population.

The Department has supported more sustainable partnership funding arrangements through section 31 of the Health Act (1999) flexibilities, which created the provision for a strategic transfer of funding for the population as a whole. The NHS block transfers its funding in return for the local authority taking a lead commissioning role that includes covering people who formerly lived in a long stay hospital.

PCTs should continue to transfer to local authorities funding associated with people who used to live in long stay hospitals.

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