Topical Questions

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 16th July 2013.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health 11:30 am, 16th July 2013

If the hon. Lady heard the exchange earlier, she will know that what Robert Francis was recommending was evidence-based tools, not a national minimum staffing level. The reason for that is that the number of nurses needed varies from hospital to hospital and ward to ward. We need to make sure that that happens. In the best hospitals it already does. The system that we have—this was supported by the shadow Health Secretary in his evidence to the Francis review—is not one where the Secretary of State sits behind his desk and dictates the number of nurses required in every hospital. If we did that, we would not be able to run the NHS properly, but we need to make sure that there are proper standards in place, which is why we have a chief inspector of hospitals to make sure that that happens.