NHS and Social Care Commission

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:19 pm on 28th January 2016.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health 4:19 pm, 28th January 2016

This has been a really great afternoon. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to all the speeches. It has been the sort of debate that I think people outside this place appreciate. I thank Norman Lamb and his colleagues for securing the debate. I also thank him, as always, for the contribution he made when he was in the role I am now in. I thank all right hon. and hon. Members for their contributions, not least those with a medical background. We encourage them to remain in active medicine, because it brings an extra dimension to these debates. If I have time, I will address the comments from each Member. I will first respond briefly to the nub of the debate before responding to colleagues’ remarks and making some comments on the structure.

The sustainability of the NHS and social care system, whether financial or operational, is a key commitment of this Government. However, we do not believe that there is a need to launch an independent commission into its future. The NHS and wider health system has already examined what needs to be done to ensure the sustainability of the health and care system. Part of the purpose of making NHS England independent was to allow it to examine the circumstances of its finances and project into the future. It did so independently and came up with a figure. The Conservative party, uniquely, met that commitment at the last election and was able to carry it into government. It is important for the House to recognise that right at the beginning.