To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what requirements his Department places on local authorities to record or declare the number of visits cancelled or unattended by carers to clients under the care of a local authority;
(2) what requirements there are on local authorities and commissioned care agencies to ensure the health and wellbeing of a client on the occasions a carer is unable to attend an appointment;
(3) what assessment his Department has made of the cost to local authorities of cancelled or unattended carer visits in each of the last five years;
(4) whether local authorities are required to pay care agencies for appointments where the carer fails to attend the appointment or the provider cancels the appointment;
(5) what systems his Department has to monitor how many care appointment visits are cancelled by care organisations paid by local authorities.
The Department has made no such assessments and does not monitor numbers or the cost of missed care visits or appointments. Local authorities are responsible, under the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990, for providing or arranging adult social care services for their communities and for ensuring that such services meet peoples' assessed needs.
It is for local authorities to ensure, where services are delivered by external providers under contract, that the terms of any such contract are adhered to, that appointments are not missed and that service users receive the care they have been assessed as needing.
Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to receive good quality care, whether in their own homes, in hospital or in care homes. More than 300,000 people in England currently rely on publicly-funded homecare services. The great majority of care is very good, but there are still examples of poor practice. We are determined to drive up quality and stamp out poor care.
We recognise the importance of local authority purchasing decisions to those whose care is publicly funded. We are working with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Local Government Association to develop standards for local authority commissioning that will support sector-led continuous improvement that should lead to more effective purchasing and better quality services being provided. The Care Bill provides that in commissioning services local authorities must consider the impact on peoples' well-being.