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Funding Settlement for the health service in England

Part of NHS Funding Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:15 pm on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Health and Social Care Committee 3:15 pm, 4th February 2020

I agree with the hon. Lady. Maintenance is a big issue in many hospitals. A number of hospitals are still essentially prefab buildings that should have been torn down a long time ago, and there are others where maintenance can solve the problem. I think we have to attack all of that, and I welcome the fact that there is a real commitment from the Government to do so.

Finally, I want to talk about new clause 4, which relates to whether the Government are giving enough to the NHS to meet the current waiting time targets for elective care, A&E, cancer and so on. I welcome the Opposition’s focus on this matter, because the public absolutely expect us to get back to meeting those targets. It was an important step forward for the NHS that we did bring down waiting times, and I have often credited the previous Labour Government for that happening, as I hope the Labour party will credit this Government for the focus on safety and quality in the wake of Mid Staffs. However, as we focus on safety and quality, I would not want to lose the achievements that were made on waiting times, because it is fundamental to all patients that they do not have to wait too long for care. Indeed, waiting times themselves can be a matter of patient safety.