Elder Abuse

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:47 pm on 20 April 2007.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham Minister of State (Department of Health) (Delivery and Quality) 2:47, 20 April 2007

I certainly will. If the hon. Gentleman will permit me, I will also write to him with a fuller answer on the issue of anti-psychotic drugs, on which I do not have any specific briefing to give him.

The hon. Gentleman asked about "Room for Review", a guide to medication that was published by medicines partnership in conjunction with the Medicines Management Services Collaborative. That was followed up by the publication of the medication review for patients, which better prepares patients and enables them to ask the appropriate questions. Although the focus has been on older people, the principles apply to other patients, including those with learning disabilities. He asked what the follow-up has been since the publication of "Room for Review". The national prescribing centre is currently working on an updated version to be published later this year. That will help to deal with some of the issues that he has brought to the House.

Let me turn to "No Secrets", which formed a large part of the hon. Gentleman's remarks. He will know that CSCI, in assessing the performance of local authority social services, takes into account how "No Secrets" is being implemented. I appreciate that that is different from his call for it to be placed on a statutory footing, which he has made on other occasions. This is the system that we have at present, and there is no reason why it cannot and should not be effective, given that it is reflected in the star ratings that councils receive. I am told that CSCI will also consider how local authorities are ensuring that directors of adult social services have the resources that they need to meet their adult protection responsibilities. Again, that will be reflected in their overall rating.

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concerns, and those raised through the Association of Directors of Social Services and others, about financing the implementation of "No Secrets" guidance. That issue is on the Department's agenda, and I am sure that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will want to update the hon. Gentleman in due course as we further consider it.

Usually, I would want to refer to further measures to reassure the hon. Gentleman that we are taking action on a range of fronts. However, given the time that remains, I shall just give a brief indication. Of course, the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill has become the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which will bring into place the new vetting and barring scheme. As a former Home Office Minister, I think that it will have a huge beneficial impact right across our health, education and social care system in ensuring that timely and relevant information is put before employers so that they can make good decisions. I hope that the hon. Gentleman agrees that that will be a considerable step forward. Encouraging progress on the issue is being made and it will build on the principles of the protection of vulnerable adults scheme.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for introducing this debate. He said that the message sent out should not be that old people do not matter. I agree entirely, of course, and we need to work together to make sure that the opposite message is heard loud and clear.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at Three o'clock.