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

Well, the platform was clearly stunningly successful. I am not embarrassed by being reminded of the Labour party’s NHS platform at the last election, because it did not succeed. For one reason or another, the public did not believe the stories run about us and the NHS, and they did not believe in Labour’s competence to handle the NHS. As we know, the amount of private sector involvement in the NHS is extremely small, and I am not sure that I accept the hon. Lady’s description of how it has all turned out. This is an example of how careful we must all be in dealing with such issues. We must not pretend to our publics that we are something we are not and that our opponents are something that they are not.

My hon. Friend Jeremy Lefroy—he has great experience, given the work he has done with the NHS—spoke about best practice. He wanted the commission, but again added more pressure in the things it would be doing and considering. I would make the point that such a commission happens at a point in time. I know that it would be designed to look ahead, but it would inevitably consider the circumstances pertaining at the time. We need a process for discussing the NHS and its funding—where the money is coming from and how it is spent. We need to make the process work, rather than thinking that one push into the grass will do the job. Again, I am not sure that the weight will be borne in that way.