Hospital Services

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 26th April 2011.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change) 2:30 pm, 26th April 2011

What arrangements he has made for continuity of provision of existing hospital services under his proposed reforms of the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

Commissioners would remain responsible for securing continued provision of NHS services to meet the needs of their local populations. We are proposing to support commissioners in this by introducing a comprehensive system of regulation at national level and additional regulation for designated services.

Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change)

The Minister told the Bill Committee that some accident and emergency services might be undercut by private providers, which could force them to close. Will the Government bring forward amendments to the Bill to safeguard existing A and E services in all areas, including Merseyside?

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

I know that the hon. Lady does not want to mislead the House, but she is totally, factually incorrect in how she paraphrased what I said in the Health and Social Care Bill Committee. As any hon. Member who was there will know, I tried to be helpful to Liz Kendall—it is the last time I will—and gave her an illustrative example of how designated services would work. However, I did not say what Luciana Berger attributed to me.

Photo of David Ruffley David Ruffley Conservative, Bury St Edmunds

Clinicians at the West Suffolk hospital in Bury St Edmunds are concerned that they will get the same tariff for an operation as a private sector provider, even though the NHS has to carry the cost of training whereas, on the whole, the private sector does not. What steps will the Minister take to address this perceived unfairness?

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

I should like to reassure my hon. Friend. As he will know, we do not propose to introduce price competition into the NHS; rather, we propose to introduce competition based on quality. His clinicians are correct that the price will be the same. However, they must remember that we are going to stop the practice of the last Government, who, with independent sector treatment centres, paid the private sector over 11% more per operation than they were prepared to pay the national health service.