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 Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 3:32 pm, 29th April 1991

Is the Secretary of State aware that the cuts of £12·8 million in the Guy's and Lewisham budget in one year is the largest cut for any NHS unit since the national health service was set up? Did the right hon. Gentleman approve the plan last autumn knowing that there would be that cut, or did he learn of the nature and size of the cut after he had approved the plan but before the cuts came into operation in April?

Is the Secretary of State aware that his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), the then Secretary of State for Health, told me in a debate in the House in the early hours of 13 March that one of the criteria for approving an opt-out plan was that services for the local community in Lewisham and Southwark would be preserved? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that almost nobody working at any level in Guy's hospital or using it as a patient believes that an overstretched, overworked work force can suffer a cut of 10 per cent. in its numbers and budget without the risk of the health care that is provided in the inner city being substantially affected for the worse?

Is not the reality that the Secretary of State has power, if he wishes to use it, under his legislation, to dissolve a health service trust? Should he not now dissolve that trust and allow that unit to be part of the national health service with everything else?