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Nursing Home Care

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): There are no plans to collect this information centrally. Health authorities already monitor the number of people receiving fully funded National Health Service continuing care in all settings, including nursing homes.

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The issues surrounding residency are dealt with in the draft guidance on free nursing care that has been issued for consultation today. Essentially, the health authority or primary care trust where the person is registered with a general practitioner is responsible for free nursing care. The council where the person was resident prior to entering a nursing home will retain responsibility for funding the other costs of the placement.

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We look forward to receiving any comments that my noble friend may have on this and other issues during the course of consultation.

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether from October 2001 those persons who currently fund their own nursing care will:

    (a) be informed in writing of the outcome of the nursing assessment and the amount the National Health Service is to pay the nursing home for the nursing care they receive;

    (b) be advised to rearrange any existing contract with the home to reduce agreed fees by that amount; and

    (c) be given information about how to appeal.[HL258]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Detailed draft guidance on the implementation of free nursing care will be issued shortly for consultation. After the period of consultation and before planned implementation for those funding their own care from 1 October, we intend to issue a leaflet aimed at residents, their families and carers that will explain the changes. These issues will be addressed in both those documents. Individuals will be advised that from 1 October their contract with a nursing home will need to reflect that from that date the National Health Service will become responsible for their care by a registered nurse.

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What monitoring of fee levels in nursing homes is planned to ensure that residents' fees are reduced by the nursing home to a level to cover living and personal care costs only.[HL259]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: We have no such plan. When free nursing care is introduced for those paying for their nursing care from 1 October, it will be a matter for the individual and the nursing home concerned to agree how the National Health Service contribution to their nursing care will be taken into account in the fee levels that they pay. Advice on this will be included in a leaflet for residents, their families and their carers that will be issued before October.

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they plan to ensure that any increases in the costs of registered nursing care through inflation and wages rises will be covered by the National Health Service as they occur; and if so, how.[HL260]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: From October 2001 health authorities will receive an addition to their general allocations for care by a registered nurse in a nursing home. Each year decisions about increases in general allocations take account of the pay and price pressures health authorities face.

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Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act: Annual Report

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish an annual report under Section 22 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.[HL352]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health is publishing today the annual report for 1999-2000, and copies are being placed in the Library. The report covers research and development work carried out by (or on behalf of) government departments in relation to equipment that might increase the range of activities and independence or well-being of disabled people and in particular such equipment as might improve their indoor and outdoor mobility.

The current report places such research in the context of the NHS Plan and outlines the role of assistive technology in making independent living easier for older people and people with disabilities. The report describes the wide range of government funded projects supporting the development, introduction and evaluation of assistive technology. Relevant projects funded by the European Union are also listed.

Children Act

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will report on the operation of the Children Act 1989.[HL353]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My right honourable friends the Secretary of State for Health, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and the Lord Chancellor have today published a report on the Children Act 1989 pursuant to their duties under Section 83 of the Act. Copies are available in the Library and Vote Office and are being sent to all local authorities in England and to a wide range of organisations. A copy of this document can also be found at the following website address:

Flood Risk and Planning Permission

Baroness Knight of Collingtree asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action is being taken to ensure that local authorities take heed of, and act on, professional

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    warnings of flood dangers before granting planning permission for housing developments.[HL291]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Government have today published a new Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 25 Development and flood risk which advises on the consideration that needs to be given to flood dangers when determining planning applications for housing and other developments. It emphasises the lead role of the Environment Agency in providing advice on flood risk.

The Government recognise, however, that there will be occasions when other planning considerations in favour of development proceeding will outweigh objections from the agency on flood risk grounds. In such cases, PPG 25 makes clear that the provision and future maintenance of any flood defences or other mitigation measures required because of the development should be fully funded by the developer.

The Government will monitor closely the impact and effectiveness of PPG 25 through national land use change statistics and the high level targets published by the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1999. These require the agency to report annually on planning applications on which it has been consulted and whether decisions by local planning authorities or on appeal were in line with or contrary to its advice on flood risk.

In the light of this the Government will consider further whether there is need to introduce a flooding direction under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This could require local planning authorities to refer to the Secretary of State applications they are minded to permit contrary to advice from the Environment Agency on flood risk.

Palace of Westminster: Stone Restoration

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What steps are being taken to complete the cleaning of the fabric of the Palace of Westminster.[HL330]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff): The programme to complete the external stone restoration of the Palace of Westminster is to begin work on Commons and Commons Inner Courts in 2002; Peers and Peers Inner Courts in 2003; followed by Star Chamber, Cloister, Chancellors and State Officers Courts in 2005. The programme is constrained by the need to use courtyards as Summer Recess working areas for other projects and by available budgets.

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