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Better Healthcare Closer to Home

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

7. What his most recent assessment is of the effectiveness of the Better Healthcare Closer to Home programme in achieving its objectives. (292234)

I thank the Minister for his reply. He may be interested to know that more than 800 people wrote to Sir Richard Sykes, the chairman of NHS London, asking that there be no further undue delays in the Better Healthcare Closer to Home programme. We have received reassurances from Sir Richard that there will be no such delays from his end, so I now seek the Minister’s reassurances. Can he confirm that no block on that programme will be caused either by a south-west London review or by a pan-London review that is under way? Will he confirm when the Department—

First, I can confirm that the case in respect of St. Helier looks to be good, and we hope to be able to announce some progress on that in the near future. On the Better Healthcare Closer to Home programme, the primary care trust has already developed the Shotfield health centre—a new £13 million centre—in Wallington; the Robin Hood Lane health centre in Sutton officially opened in May 2008; and the PCT is also developing a GP-led health centre on the Wilson site in Mitcham, which will open in spring 2010. That is good progress.

Given the great importance of these services, will the Minister confirm that the working time directive has not had an adverse effect on the service provided?

It is important that we ensure that the quality of delivery of care in the NHS is not compromised by staff who are overtired and unable to make the difficult judgments that we often call on them to make. We have to ensure that the working time directive is delivered appropriately and that staff comply with it.