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NHS Funding Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:33 pm on 27th January 2020.

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Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent North 9:33 pm, 27th January 2020

I follow the words of my hon. Friend Jo Gideon by hammering home the point to the Front-Bench team that Stoke-on-Trent was left with a disastrous PFI deal—an albatross around our neck—by the previous Labour Government, costing us £15 million a year simply to service the debt. My Christmas wish list for the Minister is that the Royal Stoke University Hospital will get that PFI deal paid off, that money can go back to frontline services, that there will be investment in our staff, and that we get more hospital beds. The Opposition Front-Bench team forget that we were 200 beds short in Stoke-on-Trent when the Labour Government built a new hospital, but this Government and the previous Government have invested money to get over 140 new beds into the Royal Stoke. I hope to see that type of investment continue further down the line.

The Royal Stoke University Hospital was born out of the Mid Staffs disaster, which hangs as a dark shadow over the city of Stoke-on-Trent. I place on the record my thanks to Tracy Bullock, who met me this weekend. She was a frontline nurse and continues to deliver free vaccines across Stoke-on-Trent, so I firmly believe that she can help to turn the trust around and ensure that it gets back to where it once was.

I want to add funding per head to my wish list. Staffordshire’s CCGs are underfunded compared with similar CCGs elsewhere. I had the honour of running in Washington and Sunderland West in 2017, and I found out that the city of Stoke-on-Trent received £224 less per head in 2017-18 than the city of Sunderland. It gets even worse in areas of my constituency that are not within the city confines, such as Kidsgrove and Talke, where the difference is £411 per head. Seeing money invested in Staffordshire to ensure that we are levelling up across the country, like the agenda says, will go a long way to help us with that.

Staffordshire has a problem with GP recruitment and retention. While I welcome the fact that the country will have 50 million more GP appointments, which Staffordshire desperately needs, the fact we are going to have 6,000 more nurses—[Interruption.] Sorry, I mean 50,000 more nurses and 6,000 more doctors. I will get a smack on the hand for getting that one wrong. We have a great opportunity to get those people to come to Staffordshire, but if we have more funding per head, coming to our area and investing in our services will be more attractive.

Finally, the Haywood walk-in centre was rated inadequate 18 months ago, and urgent care was rated inadequate even in September 2019. However, the service was rated good following the December 2019 inspection thanks to the previous Government’s beneficiary funding going into the Haywood centre, including a multi-million-pound investment to make the centre an integrated care hub—one of four—that will provide a good practice for the people of Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove and Talke.

I want to add all those things to my wish list, and I am sure that Minister is delighted. He probably has streams of paper to go back with so that he can deliver for everyone. I give my full and unwavering support to the Bill and to the Front-Bench team. I thank them for ensuring that we deliver much-needed investment into the NHS, for giving to the Royal Stoke, and for giving us the Haywood walk-in centre, but I look forward to even more coming our way so that we can truly deliver for the people of Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, and Talke.