NHS Winter Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:09 pm on 10th January 2018.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 2:09 pm, 10th January 2018

I completely agree that establishing accountable care organisations only through secondary legislation is utterly wrong. We have had multiple debates about STPs, and I have said that going back to place-based planning is the right way to integrate and develop a local service, but there should not be a private company at the top making the decisions. There needs to be a publicly accountable body. There is going to be yet another big reorganisation in NHS England, and the proposed structure needs to be debated in this place, not behind closed doors. Yes, money is tight, with the NHS seeing rises of just over 1% a year in the past seven years compared with almost 4% in the past, but it is estimated that between £5 billion and £10 billion is being wasted in the healthcare market itself, through bidding, tendering and profits, and now through this habit of companies suing if they do not win a contract.

It is crucial to move back to developing services for a community. It is also crucial that health and social care should be integrated, and I welcome the combination of both titles in the Secretary of State’s role, if that means that we are going to work towards meaningful integration, but it must be done in a structured, responsible and legalistic way.