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Community Equipment Services

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards the establishment of a single integrated community equipment service to assist disabled and elderly people to remain in their own homes. [120093]

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. 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.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is made available for community equipment and adaptation services to enable elderly and disabled people to remain in their own homes; and what plans he has to increase this funding. [120094]

Substantial investment has been made available in baseline funding to social services and to the national health service for the modernisation and integration of community equipment services each year since 2001. The intention of this funding was to improve the lives of all disabled people needing such equipment as well as to enable elderly and disabled people to remain in their own homes. Of the community equipment funding made available in 2001 to 2004, only £105 million for the NHS has been announced. The element within the councils' personal social services allocation was not announced, following normal practice.In addition, to help services achieve extended targets for community equipment, councils with social services responsibilities are now receiving a ring-fenced grant funding for community equipment. For 2003–04, this is £7.6 million. This is ring-fenced for councils that are not three-star or high-performing two-star councils. Details of this grant in future years will not be finalised until the time of the local government settlement.Primary care trust and council funding, including the Systems and Access Grant, is set to continue to rise in real terms and will be used at local discretion to invest in community equipment and adaptation services.