§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the extra costs to local authorities caused by the closure of NHS long-stay facilities. 163W
§ Mr. Boateng
No such estimate has been made. Where substantial changes in service provision, including the closure of part or all of a hospital, are proposed they are always the subject of public consultation. Proposals would not be agreed unless acceptable alternative services were available. There is no direct link between a reduction in the number of long-stay hospital beds and costs to local authorities.
The Department monitors the average daily number of available beds in the three main service areas where long-stay provision is concentrated. The latest figures on the number of beds available are set out in the table.
Average daily number of beds available Speciality 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 Geriatric 40,000 37,000 37,000 34,000 Mental Health 47,000 44,000 42,000 39,000 Learning Disability 19,000 17,000 14,000 13,000 Total 106,000 98,000 93,000 86,000 Year-on-year change — -8,000 -5,000 -7,000