Jason spoke in the Hospital Reconfiguration Debate in Parliament yesterday and again raised the appalling CCG proposals to downgrade A&E at HRI.
To watch the speech in full, click here.
Jason voted in favour of the motion for the Government to publish the NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans and to provide an adequate consultation period for the public and practitioners to respond.
Jason’s speech is below:
“I value our wonderful NHS, having volunteered again this summer in my local community hospital, and I should like to put on record my admiration for all the wonderful staff who provide great care, free at the point of delivery, in our communities. Every day, our NHS is performing 4,400 more operations and seeing 2,500 more people in A&E within four hours than it did in 2010. NHS spending in England is going up by £10 billion in real terms by 2020-21, of which £6 billion will be delivered by the end of 2016-17. Despite this, however, many communities are seeing big challenges, and it was really good to hear the calm, rational and knowledgeable comments from the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford) and my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston) on that subject. As a result of those challenges, many of our communities are facing the reconfiguration of local services.
I want to speak briefly about my proposed local reconfiguration. My local clinical commissioning group is planning to downgrade the A&E department at Huddersfield royal infirmary, a hospital in my constituency. A huge community campaign called Hands Off HRI is supported by the local community, local MPs of all parties, local councillors and local GPs. If the downgrade happens, Huddersfield will be the biggest town in England without a full A&E, and patients needing A&E in our growing university town will have to travel all the way to Calderdale hospital along the notorious Elland by-pass.
On 25 May at Prime Minister’s questions, when the then Chancellor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne), was taking questions, I asked him about this reconfiguration. He said that any decisions
“must be based on clear evidence that they will deliver better outcomes for patients.”—[Official Report, 25 May 2016; Vol. 611, c. 534.]
He also said that these decisions by local clinicians would have to meet four key tests, and I want to update the House on how we are doing in that regard. The first test is that the plans must demonstrate public and patient engagement. However, the results of the official consultation show that some 80% of the Huddersfield people who completed the survey said that the plan would make the care they receive worse. The second test is that the plans must have the support of GP commissioners. Okay, the commissioners on the CCG are proposing this change, but the Kirklees local medical committee, which represents 200 local GPs, has said that local resources should be developed instead and that this controversial plan should be dropped.
The third test is that the plans should be based on clinical evidence. I am pleased to say that the recent Care Quality Commission report gave the A&E departments at Halifax and Huddersfield good ratings, but the consultant-led maternity unit, which was centralised at Halifax nearly a decade ago, was rated as requiring improvement. The fourth test is that the plans must take account of patient choice. It is clear that patients want the millions of pounds that would be spent on a new planned care hospital in Huddersfield to be used instead to improve and safeguard existing local A&E services.
I am really not interested in the partisan politics of this. I am standing up to focus on fighting to save my local A&E unit. I really believe that patients should come first. In finishing, I have one question for the Minister. I am hearing that the STP plans for West Yorkshire will be released on 21 October, the day after my CCG makes its decision. How will that impact on the future for a full A&E department at Huddersfield royal infirmary?”