NHS Commissioning Board (Mandate)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 13th November 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health 12:44 pm, 13th November 2012

The redundancies in management and administration will save the NHS £1.5 billion every year—£1.5 billion that can be spent on the front line. We should compare that with the £1.6 billion the NHS must spend every year to deal with the right hon. Gentleman’s disastrous private finance initiative policies that left the NHS with £73 billion of debt overhang.

Let us talk about clinical networks, which are extremely important. We have four clinical networks—for cardio, cancer, maternity and mental health—and they will continue. The budget that the networks are using is increasing and not decreasing under the Commissioning Board.

The right hon. Gentleman said that ambulance services in Manchester would be run by a private bus company. I am sure the House will be interested to know who the Health Minister was when the guidelines that allow private bus companies to bid to run ambulance services were drawn up. It was the right hon. Gentleman. He was in post when that happened.

The right hon. Gentleman describes the mandate as a wish list. He should tell that to the 570,000 people who have dementia, for whom Government Members want to do a better job. He should tell it to people who suffer from cancer. They have below-average European survival rates, but we want them to have the best survival rates in Europe. He should tell it to the families and carers of people who are worried about the level of care they receive in certain parts of the system.

Government Members are determined to aim high for our NHS, because we believe in it. We believe it is doing incredibly well in difficult circumstances, but it can do even better. The right hon. Gentleman should also want an ambitious NHS. Just because he did not have those ambitions when he was Health Secretary does not mean that the Government should not aim high to make our NHS the best in the world.