Sir Robert Naylor’s report on the NHS estate will be published shortly. In developing his recommendations, he has worked and engaged with leaders from across the NHS. This will ensure that his recommendations are informed by sustainability and transformation plans, and are designed to help to support their successful delivery.
I look forward to seeing the report, which has been due “shortly” for a while. Knowle West health park in my constituency is exactly the sort of community-based model that we should be promoting in STPs. It was established by the NHS and the council to prevent illness, to promote good health and to assist recovery after medical treatment. However, the NHS Property Services regime means that its bill has increased more than threefold—from £26,000 to £93,000. What assurances can the Government give that the Naylor report will ensure that there is co-operation on estates planning so that my constituents, who rely on the health park’s contribution to preventing ill health, can face the future with confidence?
We have already accepted one of Sir Robert Naylor’s recommendations ahead of the publication of his report, which is to look into bringing together NHS Property Services and other estates services in the NHS. With regard to allocations to the clinical commissioning group, the Department of Health has provided £127 million to CCGs precisely to contribute towards increases in the move towards market rents for property.
My hon. Friend consistently expresses concern about the arrangements in Essex as we consider a possible reconfiguration of urgent emergency care arrangements. Ensuring that there is good access to A&E is as vital in that county as it is everywhere else.
In Leicester, the CCG is proposing to close a walk-in centre in North Evington and move it to another part of the city. Rather than being a walk-in centre, it will become a drive-in centre. Does the Minister agree that it is important that local people are consulted fully on the proposals?
As the right hon. Gentleman knows, service reconfigurations require public consultation. I am not sure whether that particular walk-in centre qualifies, but I am happy to have a look at that. A number of walk-in centres were established under the previous Government in a random way, and they need to be located more appropriately for local people.
Does my hon. Friend agree that the driving force of STPs is to improve and enhance patient care for our constituents? With regard to the STP for mid-Essex, will he confirm that no proposal that has been put forward involves any closure of an A&E and that, far from downgrading the existing A&Es, this is about upgrading the quality of care for my constituents?
My right hon. Friend is a regular attender at Health questions, and I am pleased to be able to confirm to him, once again, that the success regime for mid-Essex is looking at the configuration of the three existing A&Es, none of which will close, and each of which might develop its own specialty.
Analysis of the STPs by the Health Service Journal this week found that a substantial number of A&E departments throughout the country could be closed or downgraded over the next four years. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has described that approach as “alarming”. Over the past month, we have all seen images of A&E departments overflowing and stretched to the limit, so surely now is not the time to get rid of them. Will the Minister pledge today that the numbers of both A&E beds and A&E departments will not be allowed to reduce below their current level?
The hon. Gentleman is right to point out that the STPs are looking at providing more integrated care across localities. A number of indicative proposals have to be worked through. At the moment, NHS England is reviewing each of the STPs, and the results will be presented to the Department for its consideration in the coming weeks and months. On bed closures, I gently remind him that, in the past six years of the previous Labour Government, more than 25,000 beds were closed across the NHS. In the six years since 2010, fewer than 14,000 were closed by this Government and the coalition.