Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 12th December 2013.
I congratulate Mrs Riordan on securing this debate and my hon. Friend Craig Whittaker on staying on to attend and intervening in the telling way he did. There is obviously a keen interest in all these local health matters among Members on both sides of the House. I am aware that all parties are interested in these matters; I have received representations from other Members, and not just the hon. Lady who has raised this matter in the House previously during Health questions.
The reconfiguration of health services is an important issue for all of us and our constituents, and the future of A and E departments is particularly topical at present. I understand that people have anxieties about change and, in particular, about change in the NHS, because it is such a greatly loved and respected institution, but I hope I am in keeping with the spirit of this debate when I say that it is vital that we do not play on those anxieties, especially for purely political purposes. It is important that these difficult but necessary debates take place in an atmosphere of calm consideration.