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Care Homes

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether recent action has been taken to remove the restrictions on local authorities in England which do not allow them to make and pay for residential placements in Scotland and Northern Ireland. (155333)

Under section 21 of the National Assistance Act 1948 English local authorities only have powers to place people in residential care in England and Wales. However, we wish to change this to enable local authorities to make cross-border placements.

Under section 56 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, the Secretary of State for Health has the power to make regulations to enable local authorities to make placements in other parts of the United Kingdom.

Discussion between the Department and opposite numbers in countries covered by section 56 have revealed that because of the very different care regimes in these countries, this would be much more complex and difficult to make than originally thought. The Department is considering these difficulties and how to deal with them.