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Written Statements

Volume 697: debated on Wednesday 9 January 2008

Written Statements

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Child Maintenance

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Peter Hain) has made the following Statement.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Geraghty—the current chief executive of the Child Support Agency—as the commissioner designate of the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission as from 1 January 2008. I believe his appointment—alongside that of Janet Paraskeva as the chair designate—will give the commission an experienced and committed leadership well equipped for the vital task of tackling child poverty.

Subject to the passage of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission will have responsibility for the future child maintenance system. The commission’s key objective will be to get more money to more families, helping to lift more children out of poverty.

NHS: Infection Control and Cleanliness

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A comprehensive strategy to tackle healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) and improve cleanliness in the NHS has been published today by the department and placed in the Library. Copies are available to honourable Members from the Vote Office and the document can be accessed online at PolicyAndGuidance/DH_081650.

The strategy Clean, Safe Care draws together recent initiatives to tackle HCAIs and improve cleanliness and details new areas where the National Health Service should invest the government funding of £270 million per year by 2010-11. This investment was announced in October 2007 as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review settlement to support infection control and cleanliness in the NHS.

Patients have a right to clean and safe treatment wherever and whenever they are treated by the NHS. As set out in the NHS operating framework for 2008-09, improving cleanliness and reducing healthcare-associated infections is one of the NHS’s top priorities. It must be an essential element of every procedure in the NHS so that patients have the confidence they need in the care they receive.

This strategy sets out where there are national expectations and requirements—such as the new national target for Clostridium difficile or the requirement for every hospital to have undergone a deep clean by March 2008. It also guides NHS organisations and staff as to the actions and investment that will be most effective in continuing to tackle infection and improve cleanliness in their local area.

As well as recently announced initiatives, the strategy outlines some further areas that NHS organisations need to consider when developing their local plans. These include investing in specialist staff such as infection-control nurses, pharmacists and isolation nurses, and promoting innovations through a range of programmes designed to accelerate the development and uptake of new technologies. The strategy also outlines stringent new requirements on NHS foundation trust applicants meaning that only top performers on HCAIs will now be considered, and explains how the new national contract, published in December 2007, will allow primary care trusts to fine NHS trusts that are not hitting local targets on C. difficile improvement. The department is also ensuring that NHS trusts have the resources for further investment by including an element to tackle infection in the national tariff uplift.

Schools: Primary Curriculum

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Children's Plan announced that Sir Jim Rose had been appointed to lead an independent review of the primary curriculum. I have today written to Sir Jim Rose setting out the remit for the review. Sir Jim Rose will begin his review immediately and provide a report and recommendations by March 2009 so that agreed changes to the curriculum can be implemented by September 2010.

The primary curriculum must ensure that pupils build on prior learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to develop the essential literacy, numeracy and personal skills they need in order to learn and develop, and to ensure they are able to make a smooth and seamless transition into later learning. It must provide all pupils with a broad and balanced entitlement to learning that encourages creativity and inspires in them a commitment to learning that will last a lifetime.

This will be a fundamental review of the primary curriculum. In addition to reviewing the existing subjects and programmes of study, Sir Jim Rose's review will also consider and make recommendations on how to:

best introduce languages as a compulsory subject in key stage 2 as recommended by Lord Dearing's languages review;

best introduce pupils to a broad range of subjects during primary education without overcrowding the curriculum or overburdening schools;

provide greater continuity between the early years foundation stage and key stage 1, and between key stage 2 and key stage 3;

introduce greater flexibility to help schools narrow the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers;

improve outcomes for summer-born children and consider whether it would be appropriate to allow greater flexibility in start dates;

develop a framework of the personal development skills that all pupils should expect to develop through their schooling.

I am placing in the Library a copy of my letter to Sir Jim Rose detailing the remit for the review of the primary curriculum.