HC Deb 15 June 1998 vol 314 cc93-4W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will issue guidance to commissioners on how best to undertake local needs assessment and planning, including carers needs, to inform local health improvement programmes; [45734]

(2) if he will issue further guidance to health authorities and primary care groups on the partnership strategies that should be adopted in relation to parents and carers; and how their representation is to be secured in the commissioning process; [45733]

(3) if, in response to the report Ignored and Invisible: Carers Experiences of the NHS, he will strengthen guidance to health authorities, trusts and primary health care teams on implementing the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995; [45732]

(4) what plans he has to implement the recommendations contained in the report Ignored and Invisible: Carers Experiences of the NHS. [45735]

Mr. Boateng

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 10 June that I will be leading a Government-wide review of measures to help carers as part of a national strategy for carers. Our strategy will bring together a range of existing initiatives and policies from across Government and will also examine how the problems faced by carers could be tackled by new initiatives and policies. It is too early to say what the outcome of our review will be, but the report "Ignored and Invisible?" will be a real help in identifying areas where there is a need for change. We will be setting up an independent group for carers' organisations and others to give advice to Ministers and policy makers and expect to consult on the strategy early in 1999.