HL Deb 22 July 2002 vol 638 cc24-5WA
Lord Ashley of Stoke

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they have taken to ensure that money they intended for disability equipment is going to equipment services; and [HL5145]

What discussions they have held with the National Audit Commission about disability equipment; and with what results; and [HL5146]

Whether they have consulted with the relevant disability organisations' complaints about disability equipment. [HL5147]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Members of the National Integration Support Team continue to take every opportunity to encourage and support health and social services to make appropriate investment in equipment services to meet NHS Plan targets. The targets are to integrate health and social care community equipment services and to increase by 50 per cent the number of people who can benefit from such services by 2004.

Progress towards the attainment of the targets will be monitored in a number of ways. These include regular statistical returns from councils with social services responsibilities and health authorities, and monitoring through the Social Services Inspectorate. The Department of Health is keeping the need for further performance measures under review, being advised by those in the field, service users and others with an interest.

We will build on the strong messages for commissioners of services contained in Fully Equipped 2002. We are also encouraging users and their representative organisations to become involved in local service integration projects and plans.

Since publication of the National Audit Commission's (NAC) report Fully Equipped in March 2000 the Department of Health has developed, with the active involvement of the NAC, guidance on the modernisation of community equipment services. Representatives of the NAC also play an active role on the department's community equipment services external reference group and its subgroups. Members of the National Integration Support Team are also working with the NAC to produce, by the autumn, guidelines for commissioning community equipment services.

Officials meet regularly with disability organisations to discuss disability issues, including the provision of equipment.