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Covid-19: Community Hospitals

Volume 675: debated on Tuesday 5 May 2020

If he will allocate urgent additional funding to community hospitals as a result of the covid-19 outbreak. (902189)

Public safety remains the Government’s top priority, and we have been clear that the NHS will get whatever funding it needs to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. As such, as a country, we have established a £14.5 billion coronavirus emergency response fund, with £6.6 billion going directly to the NHS. I know that my hon. and gallant Friend is a strong champion of community hospitals in his county. They are vital to our response to coronavirus and currently are managing well. I am not aware of any specific requests from his county; however, if additional urgent funding is required, we will of course consider that.

I am most grateful to the Minister for his answer. May I thank him and his team for the wonderful job they are doing? The main reason I asked the question is that beds at Portland Community Hospital had to move to Weymouth because of a shortage of trained staff. Can my hon. Friend assure my constituents that we will fill the thousands of nurse vacancies, thereby allowing community hospitals such as Portland to fulfil their proper function?

Let me start by putting on the record my thanks to our amazing NHS and social care workforce at this time. As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, the Government are committed to growing and supporting the NHS workforce to ensure that it continues to provide world-class health and care. We have set out our pledge that we will deliver 50,000 more nurses in our NHS by 2025 through multiple workstreams, including retention and recruitment. Many of those nurses will operate in community hospitals, enabling them to continue providing that world-class care and support.