§ 12. Mr. Kevin Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the preparations of the national health service for its role in the provision of community care services after April 1993.
§ 15. Mrs. Mahon
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the preparations the national health service has made for its role in the provision of community care services after April 1993.
§ Mr. Hughes
Will the Minister tell the House who will pay for the extra community nurses who will be needed to care for the ill and frail elderly people who are being sent out of hospitals too soon by doctors who are under pressure from administrators who want to increase their bed-throughput to achieve the targets required by the Government's new market economy in health care?
§ Mr. Yeo
As an important plank in our community care reforms, we have made it clear that all health authorities must agree with social services departments robust arrangements for the discharge of patients and that a care plan in respect of each patient who is about to be discharged must be agreed. With regard to resourcing, as we have made clear on many occasions, there will not only be a transfer of resources from the Department of Social Security to increase resources available to local authorities, but continuing increases in the nearly £5 billion of personal social services expenditure available to local authorities every year.
§ Mrs. Mahon
Will the Minister take time to study the report by the Royal College of Nursing entitled "A Scandal Waiting to Happen"? Will he assure the House that he intends to act on some of that report's recommendations, not least in respect of the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, North (Mr. Hughes), about the inappropriate discharge of elderly people into a community which does not have the resources to care for them?
§ Mr. Yeo
We have studied the report to which the hon. Lady refers. I can assure her that we will certainly take into account the nursing needs of all elderly people in residential and nursing home care, when decisions about that care are made and when the local authorities enter into contracts for the arrangement of such care.
§ Mr. David Atkinson
Can my hon. Friend confirm that after 1 April next, every mentally ill patient and schizophrenia sufferer discharged from hospital can be guaranteed a package of care in the community best fitted to their needs? In that event, should we tolerate older hospitals for the mentally ill being kept open for a minute longer?
§ Mr. Yeo
I am aware of my hon. Friend's very close interest in mental illness and schizophrenia. I am glad to be able to inform him that from last April, under the care programme approach, all health authorities are required 965 to initiate individually tailored care programmes on the basis of a full assessment for all in-patients about to be discharged from mental illness hospitals.