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Nursing and Residential Homes

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 12:19 pm on 3rd April 2001.

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Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health) 12:19 pm, 3rd April 2001

With great respect to the hon. Gentleman, I will not give way.

Through the Care Standards Act 2000 we want to remove the difficult dilemma that local authorities face, and put in place robust independent inspection arrangements. The difficulty raised by the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey will be addressed by what is to happen in April next year. He knows the answer to his question about what will happen between now and then. It is currently the responsibility of both local and health authorities to apply their local standards and to inspect homes against set criteria. From next April, that function will transfer to the National Care Standards Commission and a new set of national minimum standards, that have been set centrally in the Department of Health after consultation, will form the benchmark against which care homes will be inspected. We have consistently told local authorities that in the next 12 months or so as we move from the current arrangements to the new system, no one must take their eye off the ball. Change is difficult--