In a debate in the House of Commons on the NHS on Friday, Sir Oliver Heald praised the actions of Strategic Lead, Tom Dutton, of the Cambridge and Peterborough CCG in working with Councillors, Friends of Royston Hospital and the Royston Hospital Action Group, to develop options for the future of Royston Hospital.
Speaking in the debate Oliver said :
Sir Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire) (Con):
Preventing illness, diagnosing and treating patients are not political activities. They should be in the hands of professionals and the operational independence of the NHS means that clinical considerations are paramount. When I was a Health spokesperson, I went to look at health systems in Europe, and the key point I took away was that the best systems were those with a lot of clinical input in management.
It is not necessary to rewrite the Health and Social Care Act. Instead, the changes we have made need to work their way through. The shadow Secretary of State said that the competition element is dominant in the Act, but that is not true. The procurement policy is set out to secure the needs of patients and improve quality and efficiency. I want to give an example from my constituency of how the reforms are working. Royston is part of the Peterborough and Cambridge CCG. Before that was so, we had a proposal for the redevelopment of Royston hospital. A Royston hospital action group was formed, while the friends of Royston hospital were concerned about the proposals, which were top down. However, Tom Dutton, the CCG strategic lead, has worked tirelessly with the NHS and the local community, as has the local chairman, Dr John Hedges, a GP in Royston, and they understand local needs, so we are now getting tailored provision that suits the needs of my constituents.
I meet the CCG, councillors, local groups and other stakeholders every six weeks, and I believe that we are now getting a service for Royston and a proposal that meet local needs. The £1 billion tender for older people’s services was in our CCG area. The hon. Member for Eltham (Clive Efford) criticised the cost, but we had a consultation meeting in Royston that 150 local people attended, while 250 local people filled out the questionnaire. The proposal and consultation will have cost money, yes, but the end result was that the tender process was won by the Uniting Care partnership, an NHS partnership involving Addenbrooke’s hospital and the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS trust, and it is now delivering more joined-up care.
Dr Huppert: I was delighted with that outcome. One of the successes I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will mention is the better joint working between acute care, mental health care and community services to avoid delays in the transfer of care. This could be a very good outcome for the NHS and patients.
Sir Oliver Heald: That is exactly the point I was going to make. The process, which involved local people, has resulted in a reform that gives us the sort of joined-up care the hon. Gentleman mentions. To conclude, the Bill seeks to prevent privatisation that is not happening on the ground, while some of the changes we have made are bringing positive benefits for people in my constituency.