Health Care in London
Opposition Day — [5th Allotted Day]
Mike O'Brien (Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health; North Warwickshire, Labour)
I beg to move an amendment, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and add:
"recognises that there are health inequalities, particularly around heart disease, stroke and cancer, to be addressed in London;
agrees that there is a need to build stronger organisations which are clinically and financially sustainable and provide the best service to their local populations;
recognises the importance of the work by Lord Darzi and over 200 clinicians who undertook the Healthcare for London review, which was widely supported and consulted on in London;
recognises that trusts have worked closely with their local communities to communicate the aims of the programme;
further recognises that lives will be saved because the NHS in London, supported by public consultation and following review and scrutiny by local and pan-London Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees, has agreed to implement new stroke and trauma networks surrounding world-leading major trauma centres and hyper-acute stroke units to ensure that patients receive high quality and innovative care in centres of excellence, expected to save approximately 500 lives a year;
acknowledges that there have already been improvements in cardiac outcomes;
notes that there must be no further changes to accident and emergency or obstetrics departments unless and until improved access to new services is available and that any changes must be subject to full and formal public consultation;
and further notes that the Government is preparing robust planning systems to ensure that NHS London is fully prepared to meet the challenges posed by the London 2012 Olympic Games.".
In opening, Mr. Lansley took 24 minutes. [Hon. Members: "Thirty-four minutes!"] I apologise. Perhaps I was more generous to him than I should have been. I normally take a lot of interventions, as the House will know, but I will try to make some progress today, because I am conscious that many hon. Members will want to raise their local concerns about NHS London.
I had a lot of sympathy with the hon. Gentleman's comments on inequalities, and with the motion, which is about a number of those. There is common ground on the need to address those inequalities. The difficulty is that the motion, and indeed his comments, identify a series of problems but offer no possible solution. I can see the opportunist, pre-election attempt to wrong-foot Labour, but the motion and the speech offer no vision, no new ideas, and frankly no agenda for government. They expose the Conservative party as offering no constructive way forward to address the very problems that the hon. Gentleman and his motion identify. We know that there are inequalities in stroke provision, and in heart provision. We know that London has worse outcomes and greater inequalities than other parts of the country. We know that lives are lost because of the current disposition of services. We know that infant mortality rates in Haringey are three times those in Richmond. We know that life expectancy deteriorates by a year for every stop on the Jubilee line from Westminster to Canning Town, from 77 down to 70. There is an over-reliance on A and E because GP practice in deprived areas in some parts of London is inadequate. But the best that the hon. Gentleman can offer is a vague view that we should leave it up to GPs to solve it through their budgets. He says that GPs should put more money into services if they want to keep them, on an ad hoc basis and without any process. That is an abdication of responsibility.