HC Deb 15 December 1989 vol 163 cc848-9W
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about United Kingdom support for the international Peto institute.

Mr. Scott

I have been asked to reply.

We continue to value conductive education as practised at the Peto institute in Budapest and welcome the Hungarian Government's plans to build a new international institute in response to increasing demand from a number of countries as well as the United Kingdom.

We recognise that there is a wide and effective range of services for disabled children in this country and we believe that increased availability of conductive education would be a valuable addition to those services.

Conductive education is an educational system based on a whole person approach, which aims to develop children with a motor disability to enable them to participate fully in mainstream education. The professional input comes from one individual, the conductor, who takes the child through the whole range of processes connected with development. The conductor's role integrates some of the knowledge and skills of a number of separate professional groups, for example, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, teachers and nurses. Close and active parental involvement is an important feature of the system.

We have concluded that the best way forward is to enter into an agreement with the Hungarian Government that in return for a financial contribution towards the capital costs of the new institute the United Kingdom would have guaranteed access to a proportion commensurate with our contribution of the available places both for children to receive conductive education and for trainees to be trained as conductors. In this way we would secure the continuing availability of conductive education for United Kingdom children in Budapest while building up a nucleus of trained conductors to provide this service in the United Kingdom.

We have therefore agreed to provide a total of £5 million from Government funds over the next four financial years towards the capital costs of the new institute subject to conclusion of a satisfactory agreement covering access for the children and trainee conductors, and to satisfactory progress with construction. In addition, we will be seeking to stimulate interest in the private and voluntary sectors with a view to supplementing the Government contribution by a similar amount raised from these sources. Officials will be taking forward the detailed negotiations with the Hungarian authorities early in the new year.