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Mr. Dobson: Instead of making generalised smears, will the hon. Gentleman be specific?

Mr. Duncan: Barnet, Edgware and Roehampton are all examples. Indeed, I shall be more specific. The Turnberg report said a great deal of sensible things, but it does not marry with what Labour said in opposition. The full list of closures includes the accident and emergency department at Guy's and a reduction in bed capacity there; the closure of Greenwich hospital; loss of facilities to St. George's at Atkinson Morley's hospital and the closure of Queen Mary's hospital at Roehampton--another one that they said they would not shut. Queen Charlotte's is another example--I could go on, but first let me turn to Bart's.

Mr. Dobson: Has it not registered with the hon. Gentleman that we are building a new hospital at

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Greenwich, and that the movement of Queen Charlotte's hospital to the Hammersmith hospital was--as far as I know--welcomed by virtually everybody involved, including the Labour party when we were in opposition? The hon. Gentleman may take as an example amalgamations of hospitals and closures. Four hospitals will go into the new University College hospital in my constituency; the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson hospital, University College hospital, the Middlesex hospital and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. I supported that through thick and thin in opposition, and I continue to do so. I do not regard it as four closures; I regard it as a promise to build a new hospital.

Mr. Duncan: The Secretary of State tries hard, but he knows that Labour's campaign promise was that the Edgware and Roehampton hospitals would stay open.

Mr. Dobson: They are.

Mr. Duncan: The accident and emergency departments are shut. Does the Secretary of State admit that Labour in opposition promised that those facilities would remain open, but shut them when it got into government? Will the Secretary of State admit that? He will not.

Ms Joan Ryan (Enfield, North): When the last Government were ensuring the closure of Edgware district general hospital, I was a member of Barnet council. That council--along with the Labour party locally, the Labour Opposition in this House and the entire local population--fought tooth and nail to keep the hospital open. Your Government did everything but close the door. You ran it down--

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. It was not my Government; the hon. Lady should refer to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Duncan: As the House well knows, the Government have it in their power to keep open hospitals that they said they would shut. They did not, but that is how they got into office.

Mr. Tony McNulty (Harrow, East): I am sure that the hon. Gentleman--who is an honest man, filled with integrity--would not want to mislead the House. The Edgware general hospital accident and emergency facility closed on 1 April 1997--not after the election. Will he correct his inaccuracy?

Mr. Duncan: The hon. Gentleman should look at the election literature of his colleagues. He will realise that it does not stand up to scrutiny; nor does what the Government have done subsequently on Bart's.

Mr. McNulty: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman, however inadvertently, to mislead the House and not correct his inaccuracy?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: These are matters of debate. [Hon. Members: "These are the facts."] These are issues in the debate. Obviously, all right hon. and hon. Members

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should seek to make as accurate statements as they can to the House. May I suggest that an air of calmness should descend upon the debate?

Mr. Duncan: Perhaps I can ask the Secretary of State a specific question. This morning, I was given a copy of a letter sent to the Prime Minister by the Save Bart's campaign.

Mr. Dobson: When?

Mr. Duncan: This morning.

Mr. Dobson: No, when was it sent?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I just suggested that the debate was starting to become less ordered than it should be. Sedentary comments from Front or Back Benchers are not helpful.

Mr. Duncan: I was given the letter this morning, and I would welcome the Secretary of State's denial if what is in it is untrue. In the letter to the Prime Minister, the Save Bart's campaign said that plans were reportedly in preparation for Bart's renowned specialist expertise not to be concentrated at Bart's, but to be fragmented between Bart's and the Royal London hospital. The letter suggests that Bart's will provide a limited range of cancer and cardiac services only, and that that negates the Secretary of State's earlier decision. Does the Secretary of State deny that those suspicions are accurate, or not?

Mr. Dobson: We are committed--the Prime Minister backs that commitment--to having a major cardiac and cancer centre at Bart's, and we will. That will be delivered, as I said in my speech. The share between Bart's and the Royal London of cardiac services has been agreed to the satisfaction of all concerned, including the clinicians at Bart's. I hope that we will be able to reach the same conclusion about cancer treatment shortly. It will be delivered.

Mr. Duncan: I am grateful for that assurance. I hope that subsequent events will put the concerns of supporters of Bart's at rest. They are deeply concerned about the Royal Hospitals trust timetable for what is to happen over the next months and years. We will monitor events closely to find out whether their suspicions are founded. I know that the Secretary of State chooses his words carefully, but I hope that the suspicions expressed in the letter are unfounded.

Mr. Dobson: Let us get it on the record that the hon. Gentleman's Government--not yours, Mr. Deputy Speaker--intended to close Bart's. We will keep it open and turn it into a major cancer and cardiac centre. That is what we said we would do, and we will deliver.

Mr. Duncan: Let us hope so. I cannot understand, then, why people in the Save Bart's campaign are so upset. They clearly know something that the Secretary of State does not.

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition yesterday asked the Prime Minister specific questions about what the Government were doing in moving

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amendments to European Union directives on junior doctors' hours. We did not get a straight answer. I have here a document addressed to the general secretariat of the Council. It says:

    "The UK delegation is proposing the following text"

on doctors in training, and it includes the figure of 65 hours a week as the maximum. That affects some of the most significant hospitals in London, such as St. Thomas's across the river.

Junior doctors' hours are crucial. Why have the Government proposed that they should work 65 hours a week? I invite the Secretary of State to explain why they have done that, if, as he says--and I know that he is honest--they have no intention of ever increasing the figure beyond 56 hours? He refuses to answer. We have him pinned down.

Mr. Dobson rose--

Mr. Duncan: Aha!

Mr. Dobson: The previous Government came to an agreement, a new deal, with the junior doctors, in which 56 hours was to be the target. When we came to office, 20 per cent. of doctors were working longer than that; the figure has been reduced to 15 per cent. and we intend to continue to reduce it. The proposition originally in the European Union directive would have been more restrictive than we thought sensible. We are taking part in negotiations and we believe, as I said in the House on Tuesday, that at the end of those negotiations we will have a sensible directive that will meet the needs of our junior doctors.

As I said on Tuesday, and as the BBC seems incapable of understanding, we want to get the junior doctors' hours down--that is what we will do--and we have no intention of increasing them, despite all the lurid headlines from the hon. Gentleman and his little friend who is not here today.

Mr. Duncan: We have become very familiar with that sort of response from the Secretary of State. Whenever he has his back to the wall, he either blames the BBC or says that someone in the national health service should be sacked. I have negotiated a few things in my time, but I cannot understand why, if the Government are aiming for 56 hours, they should table a proposal for 65. If anyone is brainy enough to explain how that can be good negotiating and will lead to what the Secretary of State says he wants, when the presidency itself has had to propose 56 hours, perhaps they can enlighten the House, because I am blowed if I can work it out.

Will the Secretary of State correct what he said on Tuesday? He said:

Pregnant women and nursing mothers are not eligible for free sight tests. He does not seem to know that. What he said was totally inaccurate, and I hope that he will have the decency to correct it.

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