§ Chris Grayling
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many publicly-funded care home places there were in London in each year since 1997. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
Information on the number of local authority funded care home places in London is shown in the table for 31 March, 1997 to 2001. Figures for later years have been collected by the National Care Standards Commission, which plans to publish the national data this autumn.
Number of places in local authority care homes at 31 March, 1997 to 2001, London.
Year (31 March) Number of places 1997 8,170 1998 7,740 1999 6,690 2000 6,350 2001 5,410
Department of Health form RA Part A.
§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 25 September 2003,Official Report, column 1268W, on care homes, what his assessment is of (a) the reasons for the drop in the number of care home places available since 1998, (b) future trends in the numbers of places available and (c) the impact this will have on (i) this sector and (ii) the NHS; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
There are a variety of reasons for the overall reduction in the number of care home places since 1998.
The decline since 1998 is a continuation of a trend that began in the mid 90s with the implementation of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990. Since then the care home market has been contracting. This trend has been reinforced by increased support for alternative models of care, such as intensive home care packages, introduced since 1997. Local councils are responsible for the commissioning of a range of care options that are made available for older and disabled people, and the availability of care home places, therefore, is a matter for local councils to determine.
The Government believe that people should be given a real choice of care options as far as possible in each locality. While the number of available care home places has decreased since 1998, in the same period there have been 20,900 more households receiving intensive home care, a 34 per cent. increase. Additionally, we are investing in extra care housing in order to offer people greater choice in the future.
Finally, the number of people aged 75 and over delayed awaiting discharge from hospital has reduced from 6,219 in September 1998 to 4,147 in September 2002 and 3,151 in June 2003. The downward trend should continue with the implementation of the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc) Act (2003).
§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 20 October 2003,Official Report, column 453W, on care homes, how many (a) nursing home and (b) residential home places 93WS there were in Gloucestershire in (i) 1997 and (ii) the most recent year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
The table shows the number of care places in Gloucestershire, as at 31 March 1997 to 31 March 2001. Figures for later years have been collected by the National Care Standards Commission and are not yet available.
Number of places in residential and nursing care homes at 31 March 1997 to2001, Gloucestershire 31 March Residential car Nursing care1 Total 1997 3,737 3,881 7,618 1998 3,643 3,790 7,433 1999 2— 3,442 2— 2000 3,988 3,158 7,146 2001 4,241 2,966 7,207 1 Excludes places in hospitals and clinics 2 Data are not available
Department of Health forms RAC5, RA Part A and RH(N) Part A and KQ36.
I understand that Gloucestershire has worked very closely with all stakeholders to maintain the independence of service users. Following independent research by Laing and Buisson, which was joint funded by Gloucestershire county council, the council has made a three year commitment to allocate an additional £1 million per year towards fees over and above inflation. In the current financial year, fees have risen in some cases by 27 per cent.