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NHS Trusts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 16th October 1991.

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Photo of Robin Cook Robin Cook , Livingston 3:30 pm, 16th October 1991

The Secretary of State will be aware that today's announcement follows three months of consultation. Does he recognise that his statement today makes a farce of that consultation? If not, why has he approved the application from Burnley after a local opinion poll found that local people opposed it by 4:1, and why has he approved the application from East Birmingham after the staff who work there voted against it by 9:1? Does he even know that, out of 21 ballots of all staff in hospitals on his list, not one was in favour of the trust status?

Why does the right hon. Gentleman think that he knows better than local people what is good for their hospitals? Is it not just possible that local people are right when they oppose their local health service being broken up; that local health staff are right to worry about what happens when their hospitals have to compete against each other in a market, not co-operate in a public service?

The Secretary of State claims—[Interruption.] Conservative Members may be able to shout down the voice of opposition, but they will find that they will not be able to shout down the voice of the electors when they come to vote. The Secretary of State claims success for existing trusts. Is he aware that trust hospitals are already in deficit in London, Leeds, Liverpool, Southend, Sheffield, Crewe and Manchester? The right hon. Gentleman quoted the Newchurch survey. Is he not aware that that very survey concluded that, without extra money, trusts will have to cut patient care?