Acute Hospital Services

Part of Opposition Day — [6th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:54 pm on 21st February 2007.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 5:54 pm, 21st February 2007

We have had a good deal of discussion today about how the reconfiguration of acute services will lead to improved clinical outcomes, but the vast majority of Members who are fighting to protect services in their constituencies—Conservative or Labour, Back-Bench or Front-Bench, even members of the Cabinet—will say that it is a question not of clinical outcomes but of financial deficits. This is about savings, not services.

I want to illustrate to the House why that is the case with reference to the Royal Surrey county hospital, which serves many of my constituents. Although I shall talk about one hospital in specific terms, I want to stress that all Surrey MPs are united in opposition to cuts or reductions in services for any of our constituents. We are four-square together on that.

The Royal Surrey county hospital has the lowest mortality rate in the country, and it sees 99.5 per cent. of its A and E admissions within four hours, as against a national target of 98 per cent. and a national average of 98.5 per cent. The Secretary of State spoke earlier about the critical importance of A and E departments managing their admissions so that as many patients as possible were seen locally and seen at hospitals only when necessary. On that indicator, which is known as managing variety in A and E admissions, the Royal Surrey county hospital comes top in the country out of 303 trusts. It is in financial balance and was rated as good by the Healthcare Commission. It even received a £100,000 prize awarded by the Minister of State, Department of Health, Ms Winterton, for real, significant and sustained improvement in performance.