To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the forthcoming publication of the report of the Carnegie inquiry into the third age in relation to life, work and livelihood.
The Department of Health has maintained close links with the Carnegie inquiry throughout the study and I am looking forward to studying the final report. We will be giving the fullest consideration to its findings and their implications for future policy.The development of services for older people is one of the Government's priority areas. Spending on hospital and community health services in England used mainly by elderly people has increased during the life of the present Government by 41 per cent. in real terms and by about 40 per cent. in the personal social services.Older people will be one of the groups who will benefit most from the changes to the health service and from the community care reforms. The reforms will mean better assessment of individual needs and better targeted care. The special needs of older people and their carers will now be fully reflected in the planning and purchasing of services.The Department also has co-ordinating responsibility within the United Kingdom for the European Year of Older People and Solidarity between Generations. A seminar on the implications of the Carnegie inquiry will form part of the core programme of events organised to mark the year. We are also promoting many initiatives as part of the year which closely reflect recommendations made in the Carnegie report. Work on the European year involves extensive liaison across Government Departments and with a wide range of voluntary, statutory and professional bodies.We have made widely available the Department's publication, "Health and Healthy Living: A Guide for Older People", and have taken a number of steps to promote activities which help to keep older people free of sickness and disability. All the key areas in the White Paper "The Health of the Nation" are relevant to older people and we are looking at ways to take this work forward with special reference to the needs of the older age groups.