§ Mr. Ken Hargreaves
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the accuracy with which his Department enumerates homeless people in capitation calculations for health planning purposes.
§ Mr. Dorrell
The weighted capitation formula for allocations to regional health authorities takes account of projections of their resident populations but makes no separate allowance for homeless people.
The projections used are prepared by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys from figures based on the census of population, adjusted for subsequent births,222W
deaths and migration. The census aims to cover everyone, but adjustments are made for under-enumeration in estimating the usually resident population of an area. In common with everyone else, the homeless are either included in figures for their area of residence, if they provide a usual address, or in the area in which they were enumerated if they have no fixed abode.
The Department currently uses projections derived from the 1981 census, but these will be refined in the light of the 1991 census. In 1991, special measurs were taken to produce as reliable a count of people sleeping rough as possible. The results of this have been laid before Parliament in a supplementary monitor to the 1991 census preliminary report.
Guidance to the NHS invites regional health authorities to consider whether they should adjust the allocations for district health authorities to allow for unenumerated homeless people.