Hospitals in Special Measures

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th November 2016.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk 12:00 am, 15th November 2016

What progress has been made on turning around hospitals in special measures.

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

In the past four years, 31 trusts have been put into special measures, more than one in 10 of all NHS trusts. Of those, 15 have now come out and I particularly congratulate the staff of Sherwood Forest, Wye Valley, and Norfolk and Suffolk trusts which have come out of special measures in the past month.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk

Does the Secretary of State agree that the sustainability and transformation plan for Norfolk and Waveney is a vital part of the Queen Elizabeth hospital’s future as it successfully moves out of special measures? Although there is overwhelming support for integrating health and social care, will he confirm that there will be full consultation with different patient groups on the STP?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

I can absolutely give that assurance. Through my hon. Friend I congratulate the staff of King’s Lynn hospital who have turned things around there. It was a great privilege for me to visit it and see the work that they have done. My hon. Friend is right—the next step is to integrate the work done in acute hospitals with what happens in the community and the social care system. That is why the open and transparent STP process is so important.

Photo of Heidi Alexander Heidi Alexander Labour, Lewisham East

I do listen carefully to the Health Secretary and sometimes I end up wondering what planet he is living on. There are as many trusts in special measures now as there are trusts that have come out of special measures. Just because different people in different places are experiencing poor care does not make the overall picture any better. When will the right hon. Gentleman accept that the overall amount of resource going into the system is simply inadequate if he wishes to provide high quality, timely care for all?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

Let me tell the hon. Lady that what is different now is that we have a special measures regime. When Labour was in power, the problems were swept under the carpet and not dealt with. Now they are being dealt with because we want every NHS patient to have confidence that we will not have another Mid Staffs. That is why we are making very good progress. With respect to funding, may I respectfully tell her that had we followed her party’s spending plans, the NHS would have £1.3 billion less this year?

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Labour, Exeter

The Secretary of State will know that with depressing regularity the same hospitals come up on that list that he has just referred to. Sustainability and transformation plans provide the opportunity to address some of the unsustainable elements of local health economies, but only, as my hon. Friend Heidi Alexander says, if the money is there. With the health service facing its tightest financial settlement in its history, these plans are just not deliverable.

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

The right hon. Gentleman understands health extremely well, both from his ministerial position and from being on the Select Committee. If he looks at the hospitals going into special measures, he will see that we are beginning to succeed in moving hospitals out of special measures, but because we have an independent inspection regime, sometimes other ones go in. That is how it should be. That is what works very well in the education sector and is beginning to work well in driving up standards in health care as well.

To go back to my answer to Heidi Alexander, £1.3 billion more in the NHS this year compared with what would have been put into the NHS if Labour had won the last election means 30,000 nurses, 13,000 doctors or 200,000 hip replacements that we are able to do because of this Government’s funding of the NHS.