HC Deb 10 November 1999 vol 337 cc655-6W
Mr. Swayne

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations he has received regarding the length of the consultation period on the national required standards for residential coma care; and if he will make a statement; [97367]

(2) if he will extend the period of consultation on the national required standards for residential and nursing homes; [97366]

(3) when Hampshire Coma Association can expect a response to its letter to the Minister of State of 6 October. [97360]

Mr. Hutton

I assume that the letter of 6 October referred to is the one from Mr. Ronnie Cairnduff of the Hampshire Care Homes Association. I replied to Mr. Cairnduff on 29 October and I hope that by now he will have received my letter.

On 8 September the Department published the consultation document "Fit for the Future?". About 1,500 copies were distributed to a wide range of representative organisations and individuals for consultation nationally. The document is also immediately accessible on the internet.

To date the Department has received fewer than a dozen letters suggesting that the formal consultation period should be extended.

We currently have no plans to extend the formal consultation period. However, the development of national standards will not be completed overnight and comments received on "Fit for the Future?" within a reasonable length of time after the end of the formal consultation period on 3 December, will be considered.