NHS and Social Care Commission

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 28th January 2016.

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Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 3:37 pm, 28th January 2016

I entirely agree. That was another of our manifesto pledges. I also thought that what the hon. Lady said in her speech was spot on.

Let me return to what I was saying about distractions. We also need to look at the issue of funding and resources. Dr Wollaston said something about that as well. Real-terms growth in spending in the last Parliament was the lowest in the history of the NHS, at less than 1%, whereas between 1997 and 2009 it was about 6%. The figure in the last Parliament was about 7.5% of GDP, slipping below the European Union average. We are now moving towards the bottom of the league, which is where we started in 1997.

So far, we have not even talked about devolution. I am a Greater Manchester Member of Parliament. The devolution offer to Greater Manchester was £6 billion, although the current collective health and social care economy is worth £10 billion. There has been no talk of contingency arrangements for, say, a flu pandemic. It is an absolute disgrace.

I also agree with the hon. Member for Totnes about the lack of an evidence base for decisions. I have provided an evidence base: our committee looked into resources and funding and how both quality and equity could be improved, and found vast disparities across the country, as well as disparities in outcomes for different groups of people. We should repeal the Health and Social Care Act and ensure that the NHS is the preferred provider.