In the last four years, 29 trusts have been put into special measures; that is more than one in 10 of all NHS trusts. Of those, 12 have now come out, having demonstrated sustainable improvements in safety and quality of care. There are nearly 1,300 more doctors and 4,200 nurses working in trusts that have been put into special measures.
The Secretary of State will be aware because he visited it last year, that the Queen Elizabeth hospital in my constituency has come out of special measures. It has made excellent progress, not least by introducing Saturday lists for in-patients and putting in place numerous measures to transform the out-patients department. Will he join me in paying tribute to all staff of the hospital, particularly the chief executive, Dorothy Hosein, and the chairman, Edward Libbey, for the excellent progress that they have made?
I am very happy to do that, and I very much enjoyed my visit to the QE with my hon. Friend a couple of years ago. This is a very good example of how trusts can be transformed when they go into special measures. Since coming out of special measures, the QE has opened a state-of-the-art laparoscopic theatre, got a dedicated breast unit, and expanded its A&E. It has got 72 more nurses over the past few years. It is a good example to many other trusts in special measures, and it shows that that really can be a turning point, bringing about benefits for patients and staff.
The problem is that many trusts are still in a financial mess and have a deficit. If hospitals and the wider health service are to solve that, they need more funding, and councils, too, need funding for care. What is the Secretary of State doing to fight for more funding for his Department to ensure that we deal with those problems properly?
The hon. Gentleman will have noticed that in last year’s spending review the NHS got the biggest funding increase of any Government Department. We have committed to the NHS’s own plan, which asks for £10 billion more a year during the course of this Parliament in real terms. However, I do not disagree that there are still very real financial pressures in the NHS and particularly in the social care system. The trusts that are delivering the highest standards of care are those with the lowest deficits. Delivering unsafe care is one of the most expensive things people can do, which is why this is an important agenda.
The staff at Bolton have done a fantastic job. I absolutely congratulate them, and I thank my hon. Friend for his work in supporting them as well.
The Secretary of State will know that in my own area of Calderdale and Huddersfield there is a dreadful situation for the trust that has been caused by the behaviour of the clinical commissioning group and the way in which it procures. He has received a large petition from thousands of people in the Huddersfield area about the closure of the A&E. Will he look at that seriously and intervene, because the competence of local CCGs is not up to the mark?
I am well aware of that issue and have received a number of representations from hon. Members on both sides of the House. There is a mechanism by which these issues end up on my desk—they have to be referred by a local council’s overview and scrutiny committee and then I get an independent recommendation—but I will look at this carefully if that process is followed.
To cope with rapid population increases in my constituency, Basingstoke has advanced plans to build a critical treatment hospital and cancer centre, with the support of more than three quarters of the population. Does my right hon. Friend expect sustainability and transformation plans to provide clear, timely direction on plans for this new model of care in the community?
I can absolutely reassure my right hon. Friend on that. One of the main purposes of STPs is to make sure that we deliver our cancer plan, which will introduce a maximum four-week wait between GP referral and ultimate diagnosis. If we get it right, that might result in around 30,000 lives a year being saved, so this is a big priority for every STP.