NHS (Private Sector)

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 8:48 pm on 16th January 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Chair, Health and Social Care Committee 8:48 pm, 16th January 2012

The right hon. Gentleman is in danger of creating another consensus. Indeed, there is a debate about whether the Bill moves things forward as far as the rhetoric suggests. I am on the record many times saying that the claims made for the Bill by, if I am honest, both the Government and the Opposition spokesmen are grossly overstated. It introduces greater engagement by clinicians in commissioning and greater engagement by local authorities in commissioning through the health and wellbeing boards, and those are good things. I agree, however, with the tone of the right hon. Gentleman’s last intervention: the new world is not quite as far removed from the old as he sometimes likes to suggest and as he suggested in his speech.

Let us focus for a second on what it means to have commissioners in the health service. When the shadow Secretary of State has more time one day, I would like to hear him talk us through the process, which he would, on occasion at least, advocate, of turning down a good idea that is brought to a commissioner to improve care for patients and good value for taxpayers because that idea comes from the private sector. I hold no brief for the private or public sector in the delivery of care; I hold a brief for tax-funded equitable access to higher quality care from whomsoever provides that care. That is what I mean when I say that I am a straightforward Blairite and I look forward to welcoming the shadow Health Secretary back into the fold.