Secretary of State for Health gives evidence to Health Select Committee

On Tuesday 13 November 2012, the Health Select Committee, of which Valerie is a member, heard evidence from the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP Secretary of State for Health and the Chief Executive of the NHS and the NHS Commissioning Board Sir David Nicholson KCB CBE as part of their inquiry into public expenditure.

Valerie said:

“The Foundation Trust confirmed that the Royal College of Nurses figures show that 6,000 nurses have been laid off since May 2010.”

“I asked about the Treasury taking back £3 billion from the Department of Health over the past two years. There was an underspend, but only a small fraction of it was allowed to be carried forward. What was not clear from Sir David Nicholson was whether the handing back of money was initiated by the Treasury or the Department of Health.”

“As well as nurses, there have been 10,000 jobs lost from the 152 PCTs that are being shut down and being replaced by just 50 clusters. According to Sir David Nicholson there will be a further 3,000 jobs lost.”

“The audit of the NHS ensures a value for money service for the tax payer. However the Government has abolished the Audit Commission which currently audits the NHS, but they have not yet laid out how the health bodies will be audited under the new arrangements.”

“I asked about the accountability of the NHS Commissioning Board under their new Mandate. I was told that the Secretary of State’s accountability will be taken out of the day to day running of the Health Service. The NHS spends over £100 billion of tax payer’s money every year. In my view the Government and the Secretary of State need to be directly accountable for the NHS and not pass this responsibility to the unelected NHS Commissioning Board.”

“I asked the Secretary of State what the position of integrated care such as in Torbay and how they are going to fit in with the new architecture. I had heard it is not doing terribly well with the new clinical commissioning groups. Shaun Gallagher from the Department of Health told the Committee that while Torbay has been cited as an exemplar for good integrated work, financial pressure may see the breakdown of these structures.”

The transcript of the Committee Hearing with The Foundation Trust and Sir David Nicholson can be viewed here and the hearing with the Secretary of State can be viewed here.

For more information about the Public Expenditure inquiry hearing at the Health Select Committee, please click here.