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Health Care (Somerset)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many disabled people are registered in England; how many have learning difficulties; how many NHS registered wheelchair users there are; and how many have hearing loss. [107326]

Figures on how many disabled people are registered in England are not collected centrally, except for figures relating to sensory impaired disabled people. However, each local authority is required by law to maintain a register of disabled people living within its area, for the purposes of planning and providing appropriate social services. Registration, though, is entirely voluntary, and is not required as a condition of receiving services from local authorities.The White Paper "Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century" (CM 5086), published in March 2001, estimated that there were around 210,000 people with severe and profound learning disabilities in England and a prevalence rate of around 25 per 1,000 population, or up to 1.2 million people, for mild/moderate learning disabilities.The Audit Commission estimates that there are at least 640,000 long-term wheelchair users in the United Kingdom, about 70 per cent. of whom are over 60 years. The current total number of manual wheelchairs within the national health service in England is estimated to be approximately 1.2 million with some 200,000 issued each year. In addition to the manual wheelchairs, there are approximately 25,000 powered wheelchairs, mainly electrically powered indoor and outdoor chairs (EPIOCs), with some 6,000 new EPIOCs issued each year.On 31 March 2001, the last date for which we have data, 194,840 people in England were registered with local authorities as deaf or hard of hearing. The Royal National Institute for the Deaf estimates that as many as one in seven of the population has a hearing impairment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what help is given to local authorities to help place elderly people in care homes. [107334]

Councils with social services responsibilities have considerable experience in placing older people and other vulnerable adults in care homes. Since 1993 they have had responsibilities for placements in both their own homes and independent sector homes where residents need financial support or do not have care and attention otherwise available to them.To assist councils, the Department of Health has published guidance on the way in which older people's needs should be assessed; information that councils should make available to prospective residents; the choices that individuals may make; and the rules for determining financial and care management responsibility for out-of-area placements. Regulations and associated guidance provide councils with a national framework for determining how much individual residents should contribute to care home fees.Much of this information is brought together in the 1996 publication "Moving into a care home" that can be used as source material by prospective residents, actual residents, councils and other interested parties. An updated version of this publication will be available later in 2003.