NHS (Private Sector)

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 8:03 pm on 16th January 2012.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley The Secretary of State for Health 8:03 pm, 16th January 2012

That is exactly the same question that the hon. Lady asked during oral questions. The Prime Minister and I did indeed go to Salford Royal hospital and we were tremendously impressed by what is being done there but, like other hospitals across the NHS, as part of a process of using resources more effectively and as part of the consequences of a transfer to supporting patients more in the community than in the acute sector, that hospital is changing the way it manages its services, and it is delivering cost improvements. We make no bones about that.

We delivered £4.3 billion of cost improvement in the NHS in the last financial year. We are aiming to do more this year. We delivered £2.5 billion, according to the deputy chief executive of the NHS, in the first two quarters. Every penny saved by reducing costs in the NHS is available to be reinvested in the NHS. That is why we are in a position to improve the performance. The hon. Lady did not talk about how that funding is becoming available through savings on central costs—for example, £150 million extra funding this year announced since Christmas for support for the integration of health and social care.

Was that Labour’s priority? No. Did Labour come to the House and say, “We want to welcome the way the NHS has achieved an increase in the flu vaccine uptake,” or the simple fact that flu activity at this stage is at its lowest level for the past 20 years? No, none of that. The hon. Lady talked about Salford Royal and the way nurses are engaging in some best practice—