Acute Hospital Services

Part of Opposition Day — [6th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:36 pm on 21st February 2007.

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Photo of Patricia Hewitt Patricia Hewitt Secretary of State, Department of Health 2:36 pm, 21st February 2007

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"recognises that the NHS must respond to developments in medical technologies and changes in patients' needs if it is to continue delivering high quality care;
acknowledges that the Government established a clear process for consulting patients, the public and their representatives on changes to the NHS;
notes advice received from clinicians that some services need to be concentrated in centres of excellence so that professionals with the right expertise, experience and equipment can treat patients safely and effectively;
further notes that, in the case of primary angioplasty services, this could save 500 lives a year and prevent around 1,000 further heart attacks and around 250 strokes;
recognises that advances in medical technology mean that other services which were previously delivered in hospitals can now be delivered safely and effectively in the community and people's homes, such as minor operations and outpatient appointments in GP clinics;
understands that with an ageing population and more people living with long term conditions there needs to be a shift in services into the community, as patients and the public said in response to consultation and as set out in the White Paper 'Our Health, Our Care, Our Say';
welcomes the Government's commitment to supporting this shift including £750 million being invested in new community hospitals and services;
and agrees that the focus of Government policy and NHS services should be on improving health and saving lives, not on preserving buildings and beds."

I welcome every debate on the health service, but I am afraid that they are developing a familiar pattern. Every time, I look forward to hearing from the Opposition an acknowledgement of the dramatic improvements that NHS staff are making and an apology for the condition in which they left the NHS 10 years ago. Every time, I hope that we will hear constructive criticism and practical proposals to build on the success that has already been achieved to meet the enormous challenges that we still face. Every time, we are disappointed. Today, we have had to listen again to the usual mishmash of evasions and contradictions, the whingeing and nit-picking that passes for a speech from Mr. Lansley. He complained about reconfigurations and changes—