HC Deb 10 November 2003 vol 413 cc134-5W
Mr. Horam

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will standardise the procedure for closing NHS care homes. [134069]

Dr. Ladyman

[holding answer 5 November 2003]: It would not be appropriate or practical for the Government to try to impose a standardised closure procedure on care homes. This is because care home closures may occur for a wide variety of reasons, such as a fall in the local demand for care home places or the rising value of property.

Also, the overwhelming majority of care homes are private businesses and the Government cannot intervene in a decision by the owner of that business to cease trading as a care home. However, providers are required under the Care Homes Regulations 2001 to give residents a reasonable period of notice when closing the home. The period of notice should be set out in the residents' contracts or statement of terms and conditions.

Local councils should have contingency plans, drawn up in consultation with service providers, for dealing with the closure of homes. Local councils have a responsibility for making alternative arrangements for anyone that they place in a home which subsequently closes.

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