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Community Equipment Services

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a progress statement on integration of community equipment services and additional funding for these services. [118543]

Of the 150 areas in England where there are expected to be integrated community equipment services, 111, or 74 per cent, are indicating currently that they will achieve local integration by the target date of April 2004. The integrating community equipment services team is supporting the remainder to achieve integration as soon as possible afterwards. Removal of the power of councils to charge for community equipment, which came into effect 9 June 2003, will further help integration by aligning councils' equipment charging regimes with the National Health Service.In addition to the amounts being made available in baseline funding, £7.4 million has been made available to councils for community equipment as part of the Access and Systems Grant in 2003–04. It is ring fenced for councils that are not three star or high-performing two star councils. The requirement to use this funding in a pooled budget has also given progress towards integration a boost.