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Integrated Health and Care Services

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 23 November 2021

We are committed to the delivery of world-leading health and social care across the UK. The Health and Care Bill will ensure that every part of England is covered by our integrated care boards and integrated care partnerships. This will remove the silos within the NHS while supporting the NHS, local authorities and the wider system of partners to join up healthcare, social care and public health services to achieve the long-held ambition of more integrated care.

Will the Secretary of State come with me to visit Townlands Community Hospital in my constituency, where we have built into the process of keeping the hospital going a real potential for the integration of NHS and social care services? It would be very good if I were able to share that with him.

I would be pleased to visit the hospital with my hon. Friend. I know that the site to which he refers is multi-disciplinary and provides rehabilitation and palliative care together and is doing well at it. I know also that it is an excellent example of good integration at work.

I apologise for once again returning to the subject of integrated care boards. One important question remains unanswered following yesterday’s debate. If we are to have truly integrated health and social care, all voices need a seat at the table: public health; social care; mental health; the workforce; and, of course, patients and carers. As matters currently stands, there is nothing guaranteeing each of those groups a seat at the table. I am sure that the Secretary of State will agree that none of them should be missed out, so what will he do, for example, if an ICB decides to exclude the patient’s voice?

That is an important point, which is why the Government have listened to it. The hon. Gentleman will know that a lot of consultation was done before the Bill that he refers to was presented. In terms of voices around the table in the ICB, we have deliberately set up a permissive system that allows those local voices to be catered for, and for local decisions to be made. While there are minimum requirements, there are no maximum requirements.

Humphrey Perkins School in my constituency had carried out all the necessary preparations ahead of its anticipated roll-out of the vaccine prior to the autumn half-term. However, the day before, the school was informed that the roll-out would be postponed until 30 November. Please can my right hon. Friend set out the reasons for this delay, and will he confirm that this date will not be pushed back again, as that could have an impact on transmission between local adults, among which cases have increased recently?

Unfortunately, that question is not relevant to Question 1. We will come back to it as a substantive question later.

When it comes to the integration of health and care services, it is very important that we have early diagnosis. The covid-19 pandemic has shown that there are some 200,000 potential type 2 and type 1 diabetics. What can be done to address the issue of diabetes, speaking as one who is a diabetic?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise that as one of the unintended impacts of the pandemic. The reassurance that I can offer him is that there is close co-operation across the devolved Administrations when it comes to working on those impacts. NHS England is working with the health service in Northern Ireland to see what more can be done.

Can the Secretary of State outline the ways in which yesterday’s votes on integrated care systems and the increased social care cap will benefit my constituents in Redcar and Cleveland?

I am very happy to do so. My hon. Friend will know that the system that we set out back in September for social care will mean that no one loses out. In fact, when it comes to receiving social care in the future, the vast, vast majority of people across the country will be better off, including his constituents.

While the Scottish Government are taking action to establish a national care service in Scotland, the UK Government’s plans allocate the bulk of the money raised over the first three years of the national insurance rise to the NHS backlog. Does the Secretary of State agree that A&E functioning is greatly impacted by the lack of beds due to delayed discharges to social care? Will his Department provide urgent funding for the critical support for social care?

The Government have provided urgent funding, especially because of the impact of the pandemic. We have put more than £34 billion extra into health and social care, with the relevant Barnett consequentials, from which Scotland will of course have benefited. The issue of delayed discharges is an important one to continue working on and addressing, which is exactly why NHS England has a delayed discharge fund of almost £500 million for this winter.