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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): It is for local employers to determine the level of pay for the adult social care workforce, including the pay levels for social care workers. All social care employers are subject to the national minimum wage legislation.
The department is not responsible for setting the levels of pay for the adult social care workforce. However, we do recognise the importance of offering fair pay, terms and conditions, while also providing best value and a quality service.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Since 2003 professional qualifying training for social workers in the United Kingdom has been a degree in social work. In England, these are approved by the General Social Care Council (GSCC).
In 2003 professional qualifying training for social workers in the United Kingdom changed to a degree in social work. In England, these are approved by the GSCC. The diploma in social work (DipSW) and all other predecessor social work qualifications will continue to be recognised as valid social work qualifications.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 30 April (WA 8283) why, in the case of the murder by Tennyson Obih of PC Jon Henry in 2007 (a) patient confidentiality takes precedence over public interest; (b) the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) has taken two years to initiate the commissioning of an independent investigation into this case; (c) when the independent investigation is expected to begin; and (d) whether it is intended that any such investigation will take place in camera. [HL3359]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 30 April (WA 8283) whether they will clarify, in the case of the murder by Tennyson Obih of PC Jon Henry in 2007, when (a) the independent investigation will begin; (b) that investigation will report its findings; (c) those recommendations will be considered by the National Health Service; and (d) implementation of resultant changes in practice will take place. [HL3360]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Guidance provided by the department makes it clear that confidentiality can and should be overridden when it is necessary to prevent significant harm to other people. However, where a patient is judged not to pose a risk to others then he or she has the same right to confidentiality as any other person. Where clinicians have authorised the release of an individual, and consider that this person poses no risk to others at that point in time, there is no basis for informing anyone about previous mental health history. Removing the right to confidentiality for all patients who have suffered from mental illness would have significant human rights implications.
Now that the legal proceedings have ended I have been assured by the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) that it is currently preparing to contract this independent investigation. It is anticipated that the investigation will begin as soon as a suitable investigation team has been identified.
The East of England SHA and Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social Care Partnership National Health Service Trust will consider the findings and recommendations of the investigation report, once it has been submitted. NHS organisations, for which recommendations are made in relation to this case, will draw up action plans in response to those recommendations. The East of England SHA is committed to ensuring that all possible learning is taken from this incident, and that all actions are taken to reduce the risk of such circumstances reoccurring.
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