NHS Winter Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:11 pm on 10th January 2018.

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Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 4:11 pm, 10th January 2018

The sustainability and transformation partnerships have been established across England—I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have engaged with the one in his area—and they take local decisions about how services are organised in local areas. I implore him to engage with his STP; indeed, I know that he is already doing so. If he wishes to talk to me about this, he can of course do so.

Let me respond to some more of our contributors. Karin Smyth always speaks sensibly. She spoke about the public representation and involvement in STPs. I agree that we could do more in that area, and as the Minister responsible for STPs, I want to see that we do so. Her point was well made. Laura Smith spoke about her constituent, Elle, who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis. She speaks up for her constituents well, and very emotionally, and if she continues to do that, she will do extremely well in this House.

Dr Williams is a new Member, and I already have a lot of respect for him. In his typically sensible contribution, he made some sensible suggestions for improvement in the NHS. He went on to talk about how we could do better on prevention, and he was absolutely spot on. We all agree that prevention is part of our one NHS. He said that this was not all about money, and I agree. Money is a key part of this, however, and that is why we spend 9.9% of our GDP on healthcare, which is above the EU average.

Liz Kendall said that this is not what happens every year, but the NHS is under great pressure at this time every year. A headline from The Guardian newspaper on 27 October 2001 stated “NHS faces another winter of crisis”. The NHS is often under pressure at this time of year, and the important thing is how we prepare for that. As I have said, we are better prepared than ever. It is a shame that the hon. Lady is not listening to my response. [Interruption.]