The principal reason behind the closure of the accident and emergency unit at my local hospital was the European working time directive, which had a massive impact across the national health service. The NHS as an institution will of course evolve, the better to serve patients up and down the country. That is absolutely right.
That brings me to the third point that I wanted to make: the opportunity that the Health and Social Care Bill will provide for greater localisation in decision making on the future of health care services. I am delighted that the clinicians and GPs in Crawley have already come together to form a GP commissioning body, which is very ably chaired by Dr Amit Bhargava. It is brimming with ideas for innovative ways in which patients can be provided with much better services. For the first time in many years, decisions about the future of health care in Crawley are being made by Crawley clinicians, in conjunction with their patients and in the light of their patients’ needs. The group is working in conjunction with the local authorities—West Sussex county council and Crawley borough council—which, incidentally, will be providing oversight over some of the private sector contracts in the national health service, as envisaged in the Bill. The provision of that democratic oversight for the first time will achieve a localisation of services that is more relevant to the needs of the local communities, as well as a far greater degree of oversight.
I reject the motion before us, and I welcome the Health and Social Care Bill. It will be better for patients and better for democratic oversight. Ultimately, we should be talking about, and delivering, better outcomes for health care in this country, not remaining wedded to an outdated dogma which does not deliver services as efficiently as it could and should deliver them.