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Community Health Services: Medical Equipment

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what (a) research and (b) consultation his Department undertook before instructing local authorities to become the accrediting bodies for the Transforming Community Equipment and Wheelchairs Services retail model; and how many retailers have registered with local authorities for the purpose of providing such services; (309283)

(2) how many retailers have registered with the Community Equipment Dispensing Accreditation Board;

(3) how many organisations are using prescriptions for wheelchairs under the Transforming Community Equipment and Wheelchairs Services retail model.

The Department has carried out a review of the developing retail marketplace and obtained feedback from the five local authorities and health partners who implemented a retail model by April 2009. Results show that most authorities prefer to undertake accreditation and monitoring of retailers within their localities using existing supplier vetting procedures. The Department does not collect information on how many retailers have registered with local authorities for the purpose of providing equipment.

The Department has not collected information on the number of retailers who may have received accreditation through the Community Equipment Dispensing Accreditation Board, and the Department did not renew its endorsement of national accreditation after 30 September 2009.

The prescription within the retail model has been designed for simple community equipment aids to daily living and does not include a delivery model for wheelchair services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many equipment stores have been decommissioned as a result of the implementation of the Transforming Community Equipment and Wheelchairs Services retail model; and what model is in place to provide the complex aids to daily living in areas in which such equipment stores have been decommissioned; (309286)

(2) how many organisations have been using the retail model since his Department's (a) stakeholder events and (b) endorsement of the Transforming Community Equipment and Wheelchairs Services retail model; whether those organisations are using that model for simple aids to daily living alone; and how much has been paid to management consultants for work for those organisations.

The Department does not collect information on the decommissioning of local equipment stores. Decommissioning equipment stores is a decision for local authorities and their health partners to take based on their individual business cases.

For the provision of complex aids, the Department has developed a methodology, tools and materials to assist and support local authorities and their health partners.

Since ministerial endorsement of the wider implementation of the retail model in June 2008, the model is live in seven local authority and health partnerships where prescriptions are being issued for simple equipment. There are also nine local authority and health partners on track to start issuing prescriptions by the end of March 2010 and a further 14 who have contacted the national programme for support to implement the retail model.

The Care Services Efficiency Delivery, on behalf of the London Joint Improvement Partnership, successfully bid to Capital Ambition, the London Regional Improvement and Efficiency Programme, for £1.93 million to accelerate the implementation of the retail model for simple aids across London within two years. The first wave of five sites have started their projects and it takes each locality between nine and 12 months from taking the decision to completing the implementation of the new model for simple aids to daily living. Sites will start to consider their complex equipment solution during months three to nine of their simple aids to daily living project. Currently there are three “clusters” of organisations developing in London, the North West and South West, who wish to work together to design more efficient complex equipment solutions.

The Department does not collect information on how much has been paid to management consultants for work for those organisations.