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The Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson):
On 17 March 2009 the Healthcare Commission, the independent health regulator, published its comprehensive report into the severe failings in emergency care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between
2005 and mid 2008. It was a catalogue of appalling management and failures at every level for which I apologised on behalf of the Government and the NHS in my oral statement to the House the next day.
I announced at the same time a range of measures, including two swift reviews into the circumstances at Mid Staffordshire to be led by Professor Sir George Alberti, National Clinical Director for Emergency Care and Dr David Colin-Thomé, National Clinical Director for Primary Care.
Professor Alberti has looked at the hospitals procedures for emergency admissions and treatment and its progress against the recommendations in the Healthcare Commissions report. In addition, he looked at other related areas of work, including the quality of care issues highlighted in the report in relation to the medical admission wards 10, 11 and 12.
Dr Colin-Thomé looked into the circumstances surrounding the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust prior to the Healthcare Commissions investigation to learn lessons about how the primary care trust and strategic health authority, within the commissioning and performance management systems that they operate, failed to expose what was happening in this hospital.
The new Health and Social Care regulator, the Care Quality Commission will, together with Monitor and the PCT, take stock with the trust after three months. The CQC will do a follow-up review in six months. Monitor, the independent regulator for FTs, will hold monthly meetings with the trust to ensure it implements all of the recommendations.
The NHS chief executive David Nicholson will be writing to NHS organisations to bring these reports to their attention and asking them to ensure they implement all of the recommendations that are relevant to them. Monitor will be writing in similar terms to foundation trusts.
The Healthcare Commission report identified severe failings at Stafford Hospital. While much has been done to rectify these, the two reports indicate that work still needs to be done to ensure quality of care at the hospital reaches the highest standard. Swift and decisive action is being taken to ensure that is the case. Stafford hospital was exceptional, not typical, but all those working in the NHS can learn from this experience so that such events do not occur again elsewhere.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Shahid Malik):
On behalf of the Home Secretary and the Minister for the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety for
Northern Ireland, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith, Mr. Michael Dennis, Dr. Ian Peers, Dr. David Smith and Mrs Sarah Wolfensohn as members of the Animal Procedures Committee from 2 February 2009, each for a four-year term.
Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith of the University of Stirling has considerable expertise and knowledge of primate behaviour and welfare. Professor Buchanan-Smith has also worked widely as a consultant to industry and researched, with the pharmaceutical industry, primate behaviour in laboratory environments.
Mr. Michael Dennis, a microbiologist with the Health Protection Agency, has considerable experience in scientific procedures involving both rodents and primates, including using category 4 facilities (facilities that contain highly infectious human pathogens). Mr. Dennis has also authored on the subject of care management of laboratory animals.
Dr. Ian Peers is a statistician with Astra Zeneca with experience of biostatistics and experimental design. Dr. Peers has experience of working with a wide range of species (including fish and primates) and manages a global statistics resource.
Dr. David Smith, a senior director for Astra Zeneca and president of the Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA), has a thorough knowledge of industry practices, and excellent engagement with welfare interests and working across the spectrum of stakeholders in this field.
Mrs Sarah Wolfensohn, a veterinary practitioner with the University of Oxford, has a thorough working knowledge of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, extensive experience of working with a wide range of species, in particular primates, but also including other regularly used laboratory animals and livestock and has been involved in the design of animal facilities in the UK and overseas.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Mr. David Hanson): On 5 December 2007, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor announced that my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Bradley, reporting jointly to the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice, would carry out a review into the diversion of offenders with mental health problems or learning disabilities away from prison into other more appropriate services.
The Government are very grateful to Lord Bradley for carrying out this review, and to the many organisations and people who formed part of the consultation and contributed. The Government welcome the report and its analysis, identifying where further work or reforms are needed and setting out the case for change.
The Government recognise the need for reforms in this area, and accept the direction set out in Lord Bradleys report. In particular the Government will
establish a Health and Criminal Justice National Programme Board, bringing together the relevant Departments covering health, social care and criminal justice, for children and adults.
The boards first priority will be to consider Lord Bradleys recommendations in detail and to develop a national delivery plan by October 2009. The Government also accept Lord Bradleys recommendation for a National Advisory Group, to help ensure wider involvement from interested organisations. The Government would welcome comments on Lord Bradleys recommendations and the nature and constituency of the National Advisory Group by 31 May 2009
Copies of Lord Bradleys report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and it is available at: www.dh.gov.uk. The Government response has also been placed in the Library and is available at: www.justice.gov.uk. The Government will make a further report to Parliament in October 2009.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Kitty Ussher): In order to offer further support to families on low incomes during the recession, the Chancellors Budget report on 22 April included the announcement that additional funding has been made available for social fund loans. In addition, to ensure that money is directed to those who are in the most need, the Secretary of State will be making changes to the discretionary social fund. The changes will take effect from 27 April 2009 for applications and awards made within the south-west region and from 8 June 2009 for the east midlands region. This is because of the introduction of a requirement for third and subsequent living expense crisis loan applications to be usually completed at a face to face interview at a Jobcentre Plus local office. In addition, a customer will usually be limited to three non-aligned living expenses crisis loans within a 12-month rolling period. This will be where the first and subsequent awards are made within the south-west region on or after 27 April 2009 (8 June 2009 for the east midlands region). Customers in these regions will be advised of the three non-aligned loan limit before taking out their first and second loans. Subsequent loans will still be available for customers who require assistance to meet living expenses:
A: as a consequence of a disaster.
B: in an emergency which
1. is not a consequence of an act or omission for which applicant or his partner is responsible.
2. the applicant or his partner could not have taken reasonable steps to avoid (as in guidance), regardless of the number of loans already taken out in a given year.
As part of the third and subsequent application interview customers will be provided with a leaflet that gives customers local and national organisations that are available to provide money management advice. The leaflet has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.