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Mr. Kevin Hughes (Doncaster, North) (Lab): I warmly welcome the statement and wholeheartedly congratulate my right hon. Friend on what he is doing with the fair shares initiative—it shows the clear difference between us and that lot on the Opposition Benches—but do the increases contain any special recognition for areas such as mine that are having difficulties in recruiting GPs?

Dr. Reid: Not for the first time, we have extended the integration of the moneys provided for primary care services, including GPs, and I hope that that will help my hon. Friend's constituency. He may wish to know that in his case, the increases are 9.4 per cent. in 2006–07, and 9.3 per cent. in the following year, producing an additional two-year cumulative increase of 19.6 per cent., so his local services will have £21 million more. Those are the figures for the Doncaster, North area, and over in Doncaster, Central, there will be another £25 million—an even bigger compound increase of 19.7 per cent.

Mr. Malcolm Moss (North-East Cambridgeshire) (Con): It would be churlish not to welcome these increases, particularly in my constituency, but does the Secretary of State not accept that if my local PCT, the East Cambridgeshire and Fenland PCT, had received its proper funding allocation—it had a shortfall of £8 million last year alone—it would not now be colluding with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mental health trust in closing a 16-bed mental health in-patient unit at Alan Conway Court, Doddington hospital? Perhaps my constituents can take some comfort from the Secretary of State's statement today when he said, "We must give the public what they want."

Dr. Reid: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for going so far as to say "thank you" at one point. One of his PCTs is getting the third largest increase in the country.

Mr. Moss: Long overdue.

Dr. Reid: Yes, it may be long overdue, but for 20 years under the Conservative Government, such an increase was never given. The hon. Gentleman is now being given a 31.2 per cent.—[Interruption.] I shall repeat that, lest he miss it: one of his PCTs is getting a 31.2 per cent.
 
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increase. He gets up and says, "We should have had this before," but has he forgotten that he actually voted against the increases?

Mr. Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) (Lab): My right hon. Friend never mentioned dentistry. He will be aware that there is more dentistry in the private sector than in the health service, so can he tell us whether he is encouraging dentists to return to the national health service?

Dr. Reid: Yes, indeed, I can. My hon. Friend is kind enough to point out that even the fairly huge aggregate figures that were allocated today do not include the £368 million extra that is being put towards our attempt to cope with the huge challenge of dentistry, particularly the fact that although there are more dentists, few of them want to do NHS work. The Minister of State, Department of Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, Central (Ms Winterton) has been tackling that issue robustly. We do not pretend that it is easy, but I hope that it will be made easier by the fact that in my hon. Friend's area, Northumberland PCT will receive a £69 million increase over two years, which represents increases of 9.1 and 8.9 per cent.—18.8 per cent., when compounded over two years—so there are 69 million reasons why he and his constituents should feel that improvements in the NHS will continue in his area.

Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): Like my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Moss), I welcome increased commitment to the NHS from whichever political party it may come. Is the Secretary of State aware that the two PCTs in my constituency are running at a substantial deficit, which is why, in turn, two hospitals were unable to become foundation trusts? Is he concerned about the gap between the rhetoric in Westminster and the reality on the ground in constituencies such as mine, where ill people read of financial recovery plans, ward closures, closed GP lists, fewer NHS dentists and a worse out-of-hours service? Is he not concerned that the increased allocation that he has just announced may simply be used to pay off the accumulated deficits?

Dr. Reid: No, I am not concerned about that. I thank the right hon. Gentleman—I thought that I caught a "Thanks" just at the beginning of his remarks—and I am sure that he will welcome the extra £30 million for the Mid Hampshire PCT, which represents a compounded increase of just under 17 per cent. There is also another £34 million for the North Hampshire PCT, which represents a 17.7 per cent. increase. I do not believe that those increases will be spent on the deficit—I have talked about the difference between forecast and actual deficits—but I ask the right hon. Gentleman to contemplate what the local management in his constituency would have to think about if they knew that instead of getting such an increase, they were facing the equivalent of £24 million being taken away to subsidise the Conservative party's policy of the patient's passport, which would go to about 8 per cent. of his
 
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local constituents, and the 92 per cent. of people who depend on the NHS would be £24 million worse off, rather than £64 million better off.

Mrs. Lorna Fitzsimons (Rochdale) (Lab): I thank my right hon. Friend for this continued investment in the increased health care provision in the health economy in Rochdale. He will know that Rochdale has one of the most profoundly difficult areas in terms of poverty. The new hospital and the recent announcement of £35 million under the LIFT—local improvement finance trust—project represent much needed increased investment. However, in relation to the uplift going to the spearhead areas under the accelerated fair share scheme, are the Government looking at the areas that have been historically underfunded for the past 50 years that did not gold-plate their services but undertook them at cost, and at the effect that that is having on issues such as investment in mental health?

Dr. Reid: As for whether we can help to compensate for historical deficits built up by decades of under-investment, even with the huge amount of money that we are investing based on deprivation, need, population growth and projected population growth, it is not possible to compensate everyone for what was effectively underfunding during the years of the Conservative Government. I am sorry that I cannot wave a wand and do that, but we are now giving fair shares. For example, my hon. Friend will find that her constituency is within 0.5 per cent. of the PCT target, because of a 19.6 per cent. increase, resulting in an accumulated £33 million extra over the two years 2006–07 and 2007–08. I hope that that will at least go some way, under this Labour Government, towards tackling the previous underfunding under the Conservative Government—although Conservative Members are apparently criticising this large investment today.

Mr. Edward Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) (LD): I agree with our Front-Bench spokesman, my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) that these increases are welcome, and far more generous than we ever received in Kingston, or elsewhere in south-west London, under the Conservative Administration. However, does the Secretary of State accept that Kingston is yet again at the bottom of the growth league for spending increases? For example, if Kingston hospital's budget had increased in line with health spending across the country, it would have £10 million more than it now has. He talks about fairness in health spending, but is he taking into account the massive increase in population in areas such as Kingston and the rest of south-west London? When will we get the health funding to match that increase in population?

Dr. Reid: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his thanks, but he should have pointed out that his area will still be about 8 per cent. above target. If we compare the need, the population and the projected population of Kingston with those of others, the people there are better off because many others live in areas that are up to 3.5 per cent. beneath target. There is a £120,000 project to upgrade the operating theatre at
 
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Surbiton hospital in May to increase capacity, and work has been carried out on the day surgery at Kingston hospital. The hon. Gentleman's area was roughly 11 per cent. above target. It will now be about 8 per cent. above the target for identified need, and as it will get 8.1 per cent. increases in both years, he would be churlish to try to pretend that his constituents are not doing rather well. No doubt while he is complaining about that here, he will claim the credit for it back in his constituency.


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