Health and Social Care Bill — Report (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 27th February 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Labour 9:30 pm, 27th February 2012

My Lords, I rise briefly to lend my support to Amendment 64ZA in the names of the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff, and my noble friend Lord Hunt. I do so on the basis of my experience as chairman of the provider agency in London after my time as a Minister. We have seen in London how strategic leadership at the level of, in this case, the strategic health authority has transformed stroke services and A&E and trauma services. There is no doubt, based on the London experience, that these kinds of changes will not be engineered at the local level. They require populations of considerable size, particularly when we are living in the era of the European working time directive and its effect on the rostering of specialist services and clinicians, to produce the kind of quality of service that people need.

There is often a kind of conflict between that strategic leadership and the wishes of people at the local level putting pressure, if I may put it that way, on their local doctors to keep services very local. I accept that the Government wish to have a lot of this decision-making down at the local level, but we have to recognise that there is sometimes a conflict between that localism and planning in the area of emergency services as regards the most effective way of providing high-quality services to patients.

The Minister therefore needs to listen to concerns such as those that the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, was expressing, because we know from the evidence in London that these kinds of services need to be planned at a major-population level.