In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of GPs working in the Calderdale primary care trust area, and major improvements to primary care facilities.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Hundreds of residents in the Mixenden area of my constituency have recently signed a petition calling for their local GP surgery, which is very popular and vocal in the community, to be included in the redevelopment plans for the area. Will the Minister outline what support his Department will give to the project to improve GP services in that part of Halifax?
My hon. Friend’s constituents will welcome the announcement today of an additional £202,000 for capital investment in her primary care area. The local primary care trust is seeking additional GP hours at Horne street, in the centre of Halifax, for which I know my hon. Friend has been campaigning. Also, between 2001 and 2005, four new purpose-built practices have been built in the area, including the Horne street health centre, and there have been major extensions and refurbishments at a further eight practices. My hon. Friend’s local community has already seen massive investment in primary care as a consequence of this Government’s policies, and I expect that to continue. I hope that she will continue to work in partnership with her primary care trust to continue the investment in primary care services.
I am sure that GPs and patients will benefit from GP services being opened up to enable them to do more clinical work, with less being done in hospitals. Does the Minister agree, however, that there should be no role for bureaucrats in the PCTs blocking referrals from Calderdale or other PCTs for any other reason than clinical need? On what grounds have 100,000 more managers and bureaucrats, who are blocking treatment on grounds other than clinical need, been appointed to the health service since 1997?
That is a disgraceful attack on the integrity of the people who do their best to manage the health service in our local communities. What we really need is a proper partnership between the managers and the clinicians—supported, I hope, by responsible politicians—making the right decisions locally to meet the needs and expectations of patients. If the formula advocated by the hon. Lady’s party were applied to her constituents, there would be a reduction in health expenditure in her constituency.