NHS Workforce and Service Development

Part of Opposition Day — [18th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:05 pm on 11th October 2006.

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Photo of Bob Blizzard Bob Blizzard PPS (Rt Hon Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State), Department for Transport, PPS (Rt Hon Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State), Scotland Office 4:05 pm, 11th October 2006

No; I have given way twice. I am absolutely confident that our hospital will remain a first-class district general, and I will not accept scare stories spread in this House.

The hospital is high quality because it has met every target set for it ahead of time: 100 per cent. of people do not wait six months or more; 100 per cent. of cancer patients are seen in two weeks; 100 per cent. of those diagnosed with cancer are treated in one month; and 98 per cent. of people who turn up at A and E are seen in under four hours. My local hospital has got to grips with MRSA: last year it saw 300,000 patients and had 41 cases. It has had only 14 cases in the past seven months, but it wants to do better. Even its food was given a 98 per cent. satisfaction rate among patients in a recent national survey. That is why the hospital has been a three-star trust for successive years, why it has had no deficit for 2005-06—in fact it had a surplus—and why in August this year it became a foundation trust hospital, joining the other 47 in the country.

I have been calling it the James Paget hospital, but its new name is the James Paget University hospital, because it is now part of the new medical school that was established at the university of East Anglia, which has done so much for the health service in our area, bringing new, young medics whom we can recruit when they qualify.

This year will be a challenge for the hospital, but it is having to make no redundancies and I am increasingly hopeful that all the trainee nurses will get jobs. In another recent national survey, on staff satisfaction, the hospital came 10th among 200 surveyed.

That is a great performance and it has been aided by innovation. I told the House last year about the work of orthopaedic surgeon Mr. John Petri, who carries out dual operating and so has no waiting list. He moves between two theatres and two teams. If hon. Members want to do something for their local health service today, they should ask their hospitals why their orthopaedic surgeons are not carrying out dual operating and getting waiting lists down.

The future is bright for my local district hospital. As a foundation trust and a self-governing hospital, it has £40 million to invest over the next five years on ward upgrades, to enable it to exercise even better infection control, and on upgrades of patient facilities too. Its aim is to be a full district general hospital of high quality. That is what local people want and I am confident that that is what it will remain.