NHS Trusts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 29th April 1991.

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Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West 3:32 pm, 29th April 1991

The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that hospitals are not being left to sink or swim in the marketplace. Hospitals are being asked to respond to specific contracts from public health authorities to provide the services at the quality and the quantity that are needed. That is what we are seeing, and it will provide much better and more comprehensive health care.

The hon. Gentleman has once again shown that he has not troubled to understand the reforms that he criticises. It is not for a single hospital to provide comprehensive health care across the range that is needed by a district. Indeed, there are seven major hospitals and other minor hospitals within range of the district that we are talking about, and it is for those hospitals together to provide comprehensive health care, responding to the district's contracts. That is what the district is perfectly prepared to say that it has achieved.

We have discussed the Coopers and Lybrand reports before in the House. It is true that Coopers and Lybrand stated that a minority of the trusts had no financial problems at all. My judgment was that the new managements that we were seeking were far more likely to solve the underlying problems than the old systems that had created those very problems. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman may think that that is odd, but it seems crazy that he should wish to return to the system that caused those problems in the first place.

The hon. Gentleman was forced by the House to back down two weeks ago in his threats to NHS managers, and his spending pledges were shot out of the water by his leader yesterday. He has no credibility whatsoever.