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NHS Reorganisation

Volume 531: debated on Tuesday 12 July 2011

5. What discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the cost to the public purse of NHS reorganisation arising from the proposed changes to the Health and Social Care Bill. (65110)

The Treasury had sight of the impact assessment published alongside the Health and Social Care Bill, which estimated savings of about £5 billion by 2014-15, and £1.7 billion a year thereafter. A revised impact assessment will be published as the Bill progresses.

I thank the Minister for his helpful answer. Given that there are to be new structures—the NHS commissioning board, the clinical senates, the local commissioning groups and Public Health England—will there be new money for them, or will the money come out of the allocated budget?

I thank the hon. Lady for her helpful question. As she will appreciate, the money will come out of the existing allocations, but what she needs to understand is that as a result of this, and as a result of improving and cutting out wasteful inefficiencies and bureaucracy, we will actually be saving significant sums. Administration will be cut by a third, so that we can invest all the savings in front-line services.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that although there is a cost in making these changes, it will have been paid back within two years, and that £5 billion a year will be available to be invested in front-line services and making sure that people in South Staffordshire get the best possible from their health service?

My hon. Friend makes an extremely important point, because not only are his figures correct, but thereafter until the end of the decade there will be savings of £1.7 billion a year, on current projections. Every single penny of that will be reinvested in front-line services for patients.

The Minister continues to insist that his reorganisation will result in savings that will be reinvested in patient care. Yet even before we have the impact assessment for the changes in the legislation, we know, as will Members across this House, that on a daily basis people are leaving primary care trusts with their redundancy money. That totals £800 million and upwards, and it has not been costed. We also know that the Royal College of General Practitioners has said that we will have gone from having 163 statutory organisations to having 521. Are not the costs of this misconceived car crash of a reorganisation spiralling out of control?

The reality is that the hon. Lady does not understand, or will not accept, the figures published in the impact assessment. What she does not like is the fact that by the end of this Parliament there will be savings of about £5 billion, and thereafter of £1.7 billion until the end of the decade. That will all be reinvested in front-line services. The hon. Lady will not accept, and wishes to misrepresent to members of the public, the resulting benefits in improved and enhanced patient care.