Long Term Plans for the NHS

The Secretary of State for Health made a statement on the NHS 2020 long term plan in the House of Commons on Monday 1st December.

During the questions and answers afterwards, I had the following exchange with the Jeremy Hunt:

House of Commons: Official Report
1 Dec 2014 : Column 55

Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con): I welcome every word of my right hon. Friend’s statement, not least because his fourth pillar on culture change echoes the work done by the Public Administration Committee on complaints handling and the need for openness. His statement addresses all the needs and challenges we face in north-east Essex: the problems of openness and transparency in the local hospital and the need to transfer more of what the hospital does back to the community providers—to the multidisciplinary providers that need to be in the community. I welcome the £1 billion fund for developing community facilities, but how is he going to persuade the CCGs to transfer some of their commissioning power to these units? A hospital in Harwich, which was built under the last Labour Government, has two operating theatres that have never been used because the CCG, and its predecessor the primary care trust, would not commission services through those facilities.

Mr Hunt: I thank my hon. Friend for his long-standing support for the importance of transparency in driving up standards in health care. He has championed that for his own hospital, which has had particular issues on that front, but also through his role in this House, and he is absolutely right to do so. On his substantive point, we will get CCGs to do what he suggests through the reforms that I have announced, which will encourage them to take a holistic view of the health care received by the patients for whom they are responsible. In particular, we have got to move away from commissioning care piecemeal—commissioning a certain number of hips or a certain number of mental health consultations—and to start looking at patients and all their needs in the round. If we commission in that way, we can avoid a number of the human tragedies that have come to light.

I am having regular meetings with Colchester hospital management and leadership.  I also had a meeting with the Care Quality Commission last week, who regulate the quality of care at Colchester Hospital and University Foundation Trust.  I am also pressing for improved local provision of health services in Wivenhoe and West Mersea, where we have specific projects ongoing. In the longer term, such multidisciplinary community providers (MCPs) should also be developed in Brightlingsea, Manningtree and in Colchester itself.

I regard the improvement of the local NHS as one of my main priorities.  Everything will be put at risk if we lose control of the government in next May’s local elections.  The economy will be thrown into reverse, and the NHS and there will not be enough money to continue funding the improvement and reform of the NHS. 

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