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Accident and Emergency Provision

Volume 536: debated on Tuesday 22 November 2011

16. How many accident and emergency departments have reduced their on-site service provision in the last 12 months. (81811)

This information is not collected centrally. It is for NHS commissioners to secure high-quality services for their communities. Where a substantial service change is proposed, decisions should be made against the Secretary of State’s four tests, including support from GP commissioners and clear evidence of patient and public engagement.

Broadening the definition of major trauma would have disastrous consequences for many A and E departments, not least those in Bassetlaw and the surrounding towns in south Yorkshire and the north midlands. Can the Minister give an absolute guarantee that the definition of major trauma is not being broadened, so that those hospitals and their A and E departments are not put in jeopardy?

The assurance I can give the hon. Gentleman is that the siting of A and E departments will be a matter of clinical judgment. I can also assure him that £900,000 will be invested in the A and E department at Bassetlaw hospital for improvements, including the creation of a three-bay resuscitation room, a larger waiting area for patients and other improvements to enhance the quality of care for his constituents.

At a recent surprise visit to my local A and E department, at the Conquest hospital, I was delighted to find a very high quality of care. Will the Minister reassure me that any local reconfiguration puts high-quality patient care at the centre of delivery?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and I am glad that she had such a positive experience visiting her local A and E. I can categorically tell her that reconfigurations must be carried out in accordance with the Secretary of State’s four tests and that clinical safety and quality of care are paramount.