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Community Care

Volume 130: debated on Monday 28 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimates he has for expenditure on community care in (a) each health region in England and Wales and (b) each health district, for each of the next three years.

The Department does not hold estimates of expenditure for the provision of community care in the form requested, nor does it generally identify funds for specific purposes such as the provision of care in the community within its overall allocations to regions, or in its indicative figures for local authority social services expenditure. It is for regions and districts to determine, within a national framework of health care priorities, and in the light of local needs and circumstances, how all their resources can best be used. So far as local authorities are concerned, it is for them to determine the level and balance of their expenditure on the provision of social services.Broad strategies of expenditure were outlined in regions' strategic plans, and annual regional short-term programmes give estimates of expenditure at a regional level for community services which would included provision of community care. Detailed figures for 1988–89 are not yet available and no figures are available for the following two years.

Expenditure on the Health Service in Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services which health regions in England and Wales (a) have provided bridging funds for local care of patients discharged from or excluded from mental hospitals and (b) not so provided.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Irving) on 5 February 1988 at column 800.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has about the monitoring of the follow-up of care in the community for mentally ill people, which regional health authorities were asked by his Department to carry out in their districts in the care in the community and joint finance circular (HC 83/6).

[holding answer 14 March 1988]: The monitoring of progress within each region is a regular feature of the annual review meetings which Ministers hold with regional chairmen. Information provided by regions indicates that the development of locally based community-oriented mental illness services is at present rather patchy but there is evidence of a continuing build-up of such services. Our policy remains that the reduction of hospital provision should not take place without steps being taken to ensure appropriate alternative arrangements.