HC Deb 16 June 1992 vol 209 cc760-1
2. Mr. McAllion

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she has any proposals to change the current arrangements for the monitoring and inspection of private care or nursing homes.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Tim Yeo)

We have no plans to change the existing statutory arrangements. In England and Wales health authorities remain responsible for registration and inspection of independent nursing homes and local authorities for registration and inspection of care homes.

Mr. McAllion

Has the Minister read the recent report by the Royal College of Nursing, which reveals that the placement of elderly people in residential care has little or nothing to do with the level of care required or with the wishes of the old people themselves, and everything to do with keeping costs down and a lack of adequate available accommodation? The RCN also warned that the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990, due to come into force next year, will do nothing to change a situation that it describes as a scandal waiting to happen. The Minister has been warned by those who should know. What does he intend to do about it?

Mr. Yeo

I wholly reject the second conclusion that the hon. Gentleman cited from the RCN report. We are confident that when the new arrangements come into effect next year, the process of assessment that everyone will undergo will ensure that an individually tailored care package appropriate to their needs will be available. Some people may be able to stay at home, some may go into residential homes and some may go into nursing homes. Whatever the appropriate solution is, it will be found.

Mr. Paice

My hon. Friend will be aware that monitoring homes costs money. Is he aware that county council authorities that have a relatively small number of private homes but a large number of social services departments find that they are penalised under the standard spending assessment arrangements? Cambridgeshire is a particular example. Will my hon. Friend undertake to consider that and to talk to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment about the composition of the SSA as it relates to care homes?

Mr. Yeo

Decisions about SSAs are taken by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, but my hon. Friend the Minister for Health is a Cambridgeshire Member and will take a close interest in the Cambridgeshire SSA for personal social services expenditure.