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6.48 pm

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Andy Burnham): As it approaches its 60th anniversary, our NHS is providing a better and better service to the British public. Today, care is available to those who need it more quickly and conveniently and to higher standards than ever before. That progress has been made possible by those who had the political courage to vote for more investment in health and those who have always stood by the NHS throughout their political lives. But it is mainly down to the NHS staff and, yes, NHS managers, who have had the courage, too, to challenge old ways and make changes. It is not change for change’s sake, but change for a clear reason: to place the NHS on a path of improvement. It is that improvement that brings us to the point at which the end of waiting and waiting lists as we have known them since the beginning of the national health service is in sight.

For far too long, the debate about health care in this country has been dominated by the interests of acute hospitals. That point is perfectly and depressingly illustrated by the stale Conservative motion before us, which represents old Tory thinking. The real story of what is happening in our NHS today is that we are seeing the beginning of the breakdown of the barriers between not only primary and secondary care, but the health service and local government.

We got no vision from the Tories today and heard no answers about what Tory health policy would involve. Instead, we had to turn to our doctor from Dartford and our nurse from Crawley, who made outstanding contributions of piercing clarity. My hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Dr. Stoate) said that hospital admissions were a failure of health policy and that they often happened because care was not in the right place. He called for more integration of primary and secondary care, and that will be the precise effect of the 18-week policy that the Government are following.

Mr. Lansley: If everything is so marvellous, will the Minister explain why, of the 3,000-plus doctors who replied to a poll carried out by, 56 per cent.—more than half—said that there had been no improvement in the NHS since 2002, as The Times reported on Monday?

21 Feb 2007 : Column 372

Andy Burnham: The improvements in the national health service are plain for all to see. Waiting lists are at their lowest ever level. In my job, I care about patients, and last year’s figures from the Healthcare Commission show me that nine out of 10 patients rated their care as good or better. That is a massive improvement on the NHS that the hon. Gentleman’s party left the country, and that is the figure on which I base my comments.

GPs and consultants are working in much greater partnership to provide better services and to keep people out of hospital. On Monday, I visited the Longsight health centre in Manchester to see how a range of tier 2 ENT—ear, nose and throat—orthopaedic and incontinence services, which were formerly delivered at the Manchester Royal infirmary, were being provided out of hospital in a local inner-city health centre. That is, to use the title of the motion, the

but it is not bad news. Everyone wins: patients find the service more convenient and personal; GPs can extend their work and professional reach; and hospital consultants can make better use of their skills and time by seeing only the patients whom they really need to see. As a result of that, waiting lists in Manchester have tumbled and the 18-week target will be hit a whole year ahead of schedule—this year in fact. The taxpayer wins, too, because NHS pounds are not being wasted by treating patients in hospital when they do not need to be there. That is our vision for the future of the health service. Let us at least hear the vision of the Conservative party, although nothing came forward from Conservative Members today.

In contrast, my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, Moorlands (Charlotte Atkins) gave a clear and articulate vision of how the health service was developing in her area. There is a new hospital, supplemented by a maternity and oncology building—there has been £65 million of investment from the Government—which is supported by new primary health care centres in her constituency.

We heard an incredible and intemperate contribution from the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire). He came dangerously close to admitting that he should have voted for the extra money for the health service a few years ago—too late mate, I am afraid; we needed that vote then, not now. The hon. Gentleman said that there had been no improvement and that the Government were increasing the suffering of his constituents, but that is complete and utter nonsense.

Mr. Wilshire: Will the Minister give way?

Andy Burnham: I will not.

Mr. Wilshire: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for a Minister to attack a Member who is in the Chamber without giving him a right to reply?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Whether or not Ministers give way is entirely a matter for them.

Andy Burnham: The hon. Gentleman may see it as an attack, but I would just treat it as a fact. In 1997, 30,000 patients in the NHS south-east coast area were waiting more than 26 weeks for treatment. That figure
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has fallen to three. He should treat that as a fact, rather than an attack—then we would all be better off.

Mr. Wilshire: A few moments ago, the Minister accused me of saying that my constituents will suffer because of his Government’s actions. It was not I who said that, but a consultant.

Andy Burnham: I will read the hon. Gentleman’s speech tomorrow in Hansard, but he should be thoroughly ashamed of it because it bears no relation to the facts on the ground about the national health service today. I would be interested to hear from a consultant who agrees with the speech that the hon. Gentleman made.

Colleagues have made points about the quality of the consultations that the NHS carries out. I agree with Opposition Members who say that, at times, the NHS needs to raise its game. For that reason, the chief executive of the NHS asked Sir Ian Carruthers to work with strategic health authorities in considering their proposals for service change. That work has been completed, and I am pleased to say that next week we will bring forward its findings, which I am sure will be of interest to every Member. The issue is important, and all colleagues are right to say that we need the highest-quality information in the public domain, so that our constituents can make the right judgments on important matters.

However, there is a responsibility on Members of Parliament, too. If the NHS raises its game and does better at providing consultations, there is a responsibility on Members not to scaremonger, rumourmonger and portray every change as a cut. There is responsibility on all MPs to lead the public debate in their area. Where health changes represent human progress, MPs have a responsibility to back them, but today’s debate was all about scaremongering.

Let me quote a spokesperson for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust responding to a Conservative party press release that said that 29 accident and emergency units were lined up for closure, one of which was run by the trust:

Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op): Did my hon. Friend know that the Opposition health spokesman, the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley), came to my constituency of Huddersfield and played the same trick, and had to be admonished by the deputy chief executive for misleading the public?

Andy Burnham: That is what the Opposition are doing. They are creating websites and setting up campaigns, but since the press release it has been
21 Feb 2007 : Column 374
established that there were no plans to change the accident and emergency services in 12 of those 29 hospitals.

Mr. Lansley: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) said that I had been to Huddersfield and made certain points while I was there. I have not been to Huddersfield in recent years, and have not made points of any kind there.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The travel arrangements of a Member of the House are not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Patrick McLoughlin (West Derbyshire) (Con): rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the original words stand part of the Question:——

The House proceeded to a Division.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the No Lobby.

The House having divided: Ayes 220, Noes 288.
Division No. 052]
[6.59 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Baron, Mr. John
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher

Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Mark
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny

Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Crispin Blunt and
Michael Fabricant

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
David, Mr. Wayne
Davies, Mr. Dai
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon

Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew

Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Michael Foster and
Mr. Ian Cawsey
Question accordingly negatived.
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21 Feb 2007 : Column 376

21 Feb 2007 : Column 377

21 Feb 2007 : Column 378

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.


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