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Mr. Brian Jenkins (Tamworth) (Lab): I thank my right hon. Friend on behalf of the people of Tamworth for today's excellent settlement of 9.4 per cent. this year and next year. I have no problem with thatapart from one small niggling issue. As he knows, my town is developing and has been accepting increased population numbers for many years. Our population will rise again this year. When he talks about money per head of population, is he talking about this year's population, or the population five years ago? Will he accept representations from me on behalf of my PCT so that we can get the figures right?
Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con): The Secretary of State will know that NHS dentistry has largely collapsed in Lincolnshire. Does he agree that a sensible way forward would be for the primary care trust to pay a premium to NHS dentists to open in constituencies such as mine, where it is now impossible for a person to register with an NHS practice? If he does not agree with that proposal, what positive suggestions can he make?
Dr. Reid: This may astound the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but I do agree with that. We put more than £60 million into the access fund precisely to encourage people to do the sort of thing that he suggested. I have never pretended that we have perfection in the NHS, despite all the progress that we have made. We have a shortage of dentists, radiologists and radiographers, and we could do with more midwives. We have only started our building programme, and we still have long waiting lists, although they are almost 500,000 below their peak. Labour Members welcome any ideas, because we do not approach the matter dogmatically. We have already taken action similar to that suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman this year.
Mr. Keith Bradley (Manchester, Withington) (Lab): I thank the Secretary of State for yet again recognising the historical inequalities in health care provision in the city of Manchester with a massive 15.5 per cent. increase in allocation for South Manchester, which will enable even better services to be provided in the new Withington community hospital, which opens in April. He is right to point out that the figures are based on the 2001 census projection. Will he confirm that they are now based on the 2001 census figures that had to be revised because of the failure of the Office for National Statistics to count the number of people living in Manchester?
My hon. Friend has been an avid advocate for his constituents, as have our other Manchester
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colleagues. Although we cannot offer compensation for mistakes made in the past, the fact that we now use a more accurate and verifiable version of the population figures goes someway towards providing recompense. As he pointed out, there is a 15.5 per cent. increase for South Manchester, which is compounded over the two years at 28.2 per cent. Of course, Central Manchester is receiving 26.4 per cent. There will be an additional £113 million over the next two years for those areas, which I hope will be welcomed by my hon. Friend's constituents and others in Manchester.
Mr. Mark Francois (Rayleigh) (Con): The Secretary of State's statement said that the figures accommodated both current and future projected housing growth. However, if we look at the detailed lists, we see that Southend PCT, in the Thames gateway area, gets the bare minimum, while Castle Point and Rochford PCT gets only a fraction more. May I tell him, without rancour, that given the massive house-building programme envisaged for the Thames gateway by the Deputy Prime Minister, the increases, while welcome, are nowhere near enough to provide[Hon. Members: "Oh!"] They are not enough to take account of the scale of house building that will be required. May I, in all sincerity, ask the Secretary of State to reconsider?
Dr. Reid: When the hon. Gentleman refers to the bare minimum, I take it that he means the 9.1 per cent. and 10.1 per cent. increases that he is getting. It is news to me that that is the bare minimum, especially compared with the amounts handed out in the years of the Conservative Government. I hope that he welcomes the £35 million extra for Castle Point and Rochford PCT and the £17 million for Maldon and South Chelmsford PCT. [Interruption.] I think that there was a nod over there, Mr. Speaker. We have again refined the formula to try to make it fairer. The four areas outlined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are precisely those on which we have been most engaged with the ODPM in trying to ensure that the figures are fair and take account of future development.
If the hon. Gentleman is really worried about deficits, he should worry about the £24 million that would be taken from the two primary care trusts that I cited to subsidise his party's policy of the patient's passport. I hope that he is being honest enough to tell his constituents that that £24 million would be taken away from the money that the PCTs already have. Additionally, NHS Direct would be closed down, as would the primary care trusts, as far as I can see from the James report. All the work done by primary care trusts would thus have to be done by the hon. Gentleman's local general practitioners, but they would receive no extra money. Has he told his GPs that?
Mr. Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill) (Lab):
My right hon. Friend knows from first-hand experience how badly we need new money in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill. He also knows from first-hand experience the specific needs of the Kashmiri community in Birmingham, and I put on record our thanks for the time that he and his team have made available to hear our arguments for new money. Can he tell the people in east Birmingham what the settlement will mean for us? Can he tell us what it will mean for our campaign for two
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new health centres and more cash for front-line doctors? Will he tell the House what the consequences might be for constituents such as mine if the cash did not arrive?
Dr. Reid: If the cash did not arrivefantasy though it may seem, let us consider the prospect of a Conservative Governmentmy hon. Friend's constituents would be millions of pounds worse off. They would have no access to NHS Direct and his local GPs would have the burden of all the commissioning of health care without any extra remuneration. Thankfully, that prospect is diminishing almost by the day, if we look at the opinion polls, so perhaps we can turn to the good news, which is that there is £69 million extra for my hon. Friend's constituents, or an increase of 22.3 per cent. over two years. That money will go to an area that badly needed it, because it was 6 per cent. beneath the assessed need expressed in the target. I would have liked to bring the figure on to target, but that was not possible. The area will be 3.5 per cent. beneath target, however, so I hope that that goes some way towards recompensing the efforts that my hon. Friend and his constituents have made to meet me and convince me of the need in their area.
Mr. Adrian Flook (Taunton) (Con): Many surgeries in my constituency operate from cramped and outdated buildings. Does the allocation that the Secretary of State announced today include money to help GPs expand and improve their premises? If it does not, when will they receive such funding?
We are making £1 billion available for that. The hon. Gentleman will know that the LIFT scheme is now in full swing after a slow start, although I would have liked it to move quicker. The Minister of State, Department of Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness (Mr. Hutton), is overseeing the refurbishment occurring throughout the country, and I think that some 2,000 to 3,000 premises are being refurbished. The hon. Gentleman can tell all who are interested in their local health care, quite apart from the GPs who are integrally involved in it, that there will be an 11 per cent. increase in the first year and a 13 per cent. increase in the second year, which is compounded at 20.3 per cent. There will be £23 million extra, so although the area will be in roughly the same
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position in relation to the target, it will be substantially better off for resources. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be explaining to his constituents that the extra money is coming as a benefit of the Labour Government.
Jeff Ennis (Barnsley, East and Mexborough) (Lab): May I remind my right hon. Friend that my constituency has the highest level of disability of any constituency? More than one in three households contain at least one disabled person, which is quite clearly a legacy of the former mining industry. I thank my right hon. Friend for today's announcement and the improved funding situation for health provision in Barnsley. I remind him that historically, under the previous Government, Barnsley was the worst funded health authority in the whole Trent region, despite having some of the highest levels of health problems not just in the Trent region but in the UK as a whole.
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