Private Nursing Homes

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 1988.

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Photo of Robert Wareing Robert Wareing , Liverpool, West Derby 12:00 am, 12th July 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy towards health authorities financing out of their budgets private nursing homes within the precincts of National Health Service hospitals.

Photo of Mrs Edwina Currie Mrs Edwina Currie , South Derbyshire

We welcome close collaboration between the NHS and the independent sector including, where appropriate, making premises available on NHS land. However, the hon. Gentleman should be aware that health authorities have no power to provide finance for private homes, though they can of course buy places on contract.

Photo of Robert Wareing Robert Wareing , Liverpool, West Derby

Is the Minister not worried that ward 5 at Fazakerley hospital in Liverpool was closed recently, causing considerable distress to the elderly patients, and that a private nursing home for 85 people is being established, no doubt at a price? Is it not incongruous that National Health Service wards are closed but the private sector is allowed to get its profits out of nursing homes in the precincts of an NHS hospital?

Photo of Mrs Edwina Currie Mrs Edwina Currie , South Derbyshire

It sounds as though part of the proposal is a good idea. The hon. Gentleman may like to check with his constituents in Liverpool before he takes that line. The total number of council-provided homes for elderly people in Liverpool stands at 43, providing 1,600 places, and the total number of private homes in Liverpool stands at 66, providing 1,800 places. The private and voluntary sectors in Liverpool are already providing most of the care for old people.

Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry , Banbury

Will my hon. Friend confirm that once the Health and Medicines Bill is enacted it will be possible for district health authorities to enter into collaborative projects with private health providers and, if the authorities want, to provide private hospital accommodation in their own right?

Photo of Mrs Edwina Currie Mrs Edwina Currie , South Derbyshire

Depending on the exact terms of the contracts being negotiated. some of these projects are already legal. Work is proceeding on them. We welcome these projects.