HC Deb 18 July 1995 vol 263 cc1145-6W
Mr. Sims

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the need for, and the provision of, social care in England with particular reference to an assessment of the quality of residential care for older people. [36197]

Mr. Bowis

The annual report of the chief inspector of social services provides such an assessment. It was published on 10 July and copies are available from the Library.

The report highlights the fact that people are living longer and enjoying a better quality of life. This includes those who at an early stage of life have experienced handicaps of one kind or other. I pay tribute to the growing number of carers in our society and the contribution that they make to the quality of life of those who, for one reason or another, need help and support. As the report states, Experience shows that social care touches the lives of most people at some time. It may be within the family or through friends or neighbours, but most of us are aware of at least someone who because of age, illness, disability or family disruption needs care and assistance in daily living. As the demographic changes continue to have an impact it is vitally important that social care becomes not only better established but better able to work within a framework of inter-agency and multi-disciplinary planning and assessment of need".

A great deal of progress is being made by local authorities in working with the other statutory services such as health, housing and education and with a wide range of voluntary organisations and private agencies.

The Social Services Inspectorate's—SSI—"Inspection of Hospital Discharge Arrangements for Older People Being Placed in Residential or Nursing Home Care" showed great commitment by health and social services staff to implementing new assessment and care management changes. Most users were satisfied with the help they had received and placement arrangements. In addition the SSI "Inspection of Residential Care for Older People" showed that in most homes the quality of care was good to excellent and in many homes there was an emphasis on choice.