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NHS Long-Term Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:55 pm on 7th January 2019.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 5:55 pm, 7th January 2019

I note that the Secretary of State referred to the Churchill Government in 1944, but had he looked at Hansard he might have seen that Churchill cited the Highlands and Islands Medical Service, which was the first national health service in 1913.

I welcome the long-term plan, but the integration to which it aspires is going to be frustrated if there is no reform of the internal market and the fragmentation continues. The Secretary of State cites the funding, which he describes as 3.4% per year. That is actually just back to what the NHS received prior to 2010. He talks about a million extra patients. With this enormous increased demand, does he not think that it would be more honest to describe funding per head, rather than just a total? Scotland spends £163 more per head. Perhaps he should aspire to spend the money on the patients and then perhaps the NHS would keep up.

Again, like the previous funding agreement, the funding is focused only on the NHS, with cuts to public health, no extra money for health education and still no Green Paper on social care. I totally agree that prevention is better than cure, so will the Secretary of State reverse the cuts to public health? In his own letter, which was circulated, he emphasised reducing cancer deaths, yet there was no mention of prevention at all. That is the best way to reduce cancer deaths. Public health is crucial, smoking cessation is crucial and tackling childhood obesity is crucial, so will he liaise with his colleagues in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and set a nine o’clock watershed on advertising rubbish foods?

I agree with the aim of improving screening. Last year, the Government agreed that they would reduce the bowel cancer screening age from 60 to 50. Can the Secretary of State tell us when that will actually happen? Does he recognise that it will mean a bigger need for endoscopists and radiologists? So will he fund Health Education England to provide them and to provide the other doctors, nurses and staff that the NHS will need to deliver this long-term plan?