HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 cc119-21W
Mrs. Dunwoody

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many private care homes do not comply with the equivalent standard of care provided by public authorities; if he will specify the improved conditions he has now abandoned; and if he will encourage local authorities to re-open or open premises providing aftercare services for the elderly. [74469]

Jacqui Smith

The degree to which individual care homes conform to national standards cannot be quantified in detail at the moment. The National Care Standards Commission will form a more detailed picture of care homes' compliance with the national standards as it completes its first cycle of inspections of providers in England during 2002–03.

We have not abandoned standards. We are simply proposing to change a few of the more challenging physical environment standards so that care homes which existed before 1 April 2002 which do not already meet these standards will not be expected to meet higher standards than those they already meet. National standards will continue to apply to new care homes and extensions and will be regarded as best practice to which all care homes should aspire.

The standards proposed for amendment are as follows:

Care homes for older people Care homes for younger adults
1.2 users' guide 1.2 users' guide
20.1/20.4: communal space 24.2: living space
21.3: assisted baths 24.9: wheelchair access
22.2: passenger lifts 25.3: single rooms

many such stars were awarded to hospitals covering the short-listed asylum accommodation centre sites not chosen. [74522]

Mr. Lammy

The table below identifies the main local acute National Health Service Trusts and their current star rating in the areas which the Home Office has identified as potential sites for accommodation centres for asylum seekers. Performance ratings published by the Department do not cover hospitals in Scotland and Wales.

Care homes for older people Care homes for younger adults
22.5 doorways 22.5 shared bedrooms
23.3/23.4 single room floor space 27.2/27.4 toilets & bathrooms
23.11 single rooms 28.2 shared space

As part of the additional investment for intermediate care and related services announced in the NHS Plan, £66 million has been made available over two years (2002–03 and 2003–04) for intermediate care capital development schemes. All but £4 million of this funding has now been allocated. Some of this funding is being used to develop council premises to increase intermediate care capacity.

Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is putting in place to compensate care homes which have already complied with the national minimum standards on room sizes. [74530]

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 16 October 2002]Under the Care Standards Act the Government is able to review standards at any time and all national standards are due to be reviewed within three years of their introduction. Many home owners meet or exceed the national standards and have no reason to be concerned about them.

We have no plans to provide financial assistance to those providers who needed to improve their care homes to meet national standards, including those standards which we are now consulting on. Care homes are independent businesses. Any improvements they make should be viewed as adding to the value of their property. However, in contracting with independent sector providers of care we expect local authorities to take into account a range of provider costs such as implementing national standards. Providers will also be able to detail the facilities they offer in their prospectuses, so that those purchasing or using the services can make an informed choice.

Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the change in the requirements of the national minimum standard on room sizes for care homes. [74534]

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 16 October 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made a statement to the House on 23 July 2002 explaining the policy context for the consultation now underway. The consultation document published on 16 August 2002 also sets out the issues, which are to ensure that: Care home owners are in no doubt about the standards they should meet; Good local care homes do not fear closure because they may not meet all the environmental standards such as sizes of rooms and doors, the availability of single rooms, the number of lifts and baths: People using care home services can make an informed choice by knowing what a particular home will be offering, with each care home spelling out where they do or do not meet the standards.

Copies of the consultation document are available from Department publications or on the Department's internet website at: www.doh.gov.uk/ncsc.

The consultation exercise runs until 8 November 2002 and we will carefully consider all representations we receive, and the full implications of any changes to the national standards for the care home sector, before coming to conclusions. We will publish our conclusions as soon as possible.

Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he proposes to publish his response to the consultation exercise on interpretation of regulations for care homes under the Care Standards Act 2000; and if he will place copies of the consultation responses in the Library. [75519]

Jacqui Smith

The consultation document issued on 16 August sets out proposals to change certain national minimum standards for care homes for older people and care homes for younger adults (18–65) which relate to the physical environment. The consultation does not propose making any changes to the Care Homes Regulations 2001 issued under the Care Standards Act.

The consultation exercise ends on 8 November. We will carefully consider all the comments we receive and publish revised national minimum standards for care homes for older people and for care homes for younger adults (18–65) as soon as possible.

A report summarising the responses to the consultation exercise will be placed in the Library.

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