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New Clause 6 — Secretary of State’s response to a section 65 regulator’s report on an NHS foundation trust

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 11th March 2014.

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Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee 5:00 pm, 11th March 2014

I listened with great interest to my hon. Friend Nick de Bois but I will be supporting the Government 100% tonight because I have great confidence in what the Government have achieved with the NHS. I say that because I have seen the alternative; I have seen what has happened to the NHS when it is run by Labour, because that is the problem that I and many of my constituents face at the moment in Wales.

My right hon. Friend Paul Burstow came forward earlier with a petition from the left-wing pressure group 38 Degrees. Health campaigners today have been talking today about the amount of salt that we take but one has to take dangerously large pinches of salt with anything that comes out of that organisation. These people purport to be a happy-go-lucky students. They are always on first name terms; Ben and Fred and Rebecca and Sarah and the rest of it. The reality is that it is a hard-nosed left-wing Labour-supporting organisation with links to some very wealthy upper middle-class socialists, despite the pretence that it likes to give out.

It is 38 Degrees who were coming out with all sorts of hysterical scare stories a few years ago about how the Government were going to privatise the NHS. It took out adverts in newspapers, scaring people witless that that was going to happen. Of course the organisation has forgotten all about it now because there was never any intention to do that. We will never privatise the NHS because we believe in public services in this party. A couple of months ago, 38 Degrees came out with more scare stories about how it was going to be gagged because of another piece of legislation that the Government were putting through to bring about fairness in elections. It said that we would never hear from it again, and yet here we are a few months later with yet another host of terrible stories, scaring members of the public quite unnecessarily. I do not think that we have to take any lessons from 38 Degrees, nor hear any more about their petition.

I am backing the Government tonight because I know that the Secretary of State has done an enormous amount to drive up standards in the NHS even as they fall in Wales. It is this Secretary of State who has presided over falls in waiting lists to 18 weeks in England. People are lucky in Wales if they can get to the target of 36 weeks. There has been an increase in funding when it has been cut in Wales and there is much better access to cancer drugs in England than we have in Wales.

New clause 16 refers to the need to confer with members of neighbouring boards. We have health boards, not trusts, in Wales. I hope the Secretary of State will confer with the boards in Wales about these changes. The only criticism that I have of the Government is that they have been so successful in improving the NHS in England that large numbers of people now contact me every single day, in Wales and in my constituency, asking for the right to be treated by the NHS run by the coalition Government and not by the NHS run by the socialists in Wales.

I ask the Minister and Opposition members to look at an article in the Western Mail today by a woman called Marianna Robinson who has spoken about the difficulty she has had in trying to get treatment and how desperately she wants to be treated in Bristol. There is a place for her in Bristol but she is not allowed to have it. I ask Ministers, and perhaps Opposition Members, to think about what we are doing here. I would like to see patients in Wales who wish to be treated in England being allowed to go to England and get treatment, with the money then being taken off the block grant to the Welsh Assembly. If Opposition Members—