§ Mr. Edwards
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will change his policy on free provision of long-term nursing personal care. 
§ Jacqui Smith
The Government introduced national health service funded nursing care in care homes on 1 October 2001. We do not intend to make personal care free.
In England, in our response to the Royal Commission in the NHS plan, we stressed that personal care for everyone would be costly, and would not be guaranteed to lead to service improvements. Instead, we will invest £1 billion in social care services for older people by 2006. This will improve access to social care services, expand the capacity of these services and increase the choice of services available to older people, stabilise the care home market, and ensure that delayed discharge is reduced to a minimum.