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Urgent and Emergency Care: Growing Towns

Volume 733: debated on Tuesday 6 June 2023

1. What assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of urgent and emergency care provision in towns with significant population growth. (905207)

Our recovery plan for urgent and emergency care provides £1 billion of additional funding for NHS capacity, alongside £250 million for capital improvement schemes up and down the country. Local integrated care boards are now responsible for working with their partners to decide how best to use that funding to improve services to meet the health needs of their changing populations, and all integrated care boards will shortly set out their plans for the next five years through a joint forward plan process.

Rugby is the largest urban area within Coventry and Warwickshire that does not have its own A&E provision. In the wider region, Kettering, Shrewsbury, Redditch and Burton upon Trent all have similar or smaller populations, each with their own A&E services. Rugby is growing fast, with 12,500 homes being delivered between 2016 and 2031, when the population will exceed 135,000. Will the Minister say at what population level it will be appropriate for local health commissioners to upgrade the A&E provision at the Hospital of St Cross in Rugby?

As my hon. Friend knows, the provision of services, including accident and emergency, are a matter for local NHS commissioners and providers. I know that he regularly meets local NHS leaders about this matter and will continue to do so. I am very happy to meet him and, of course, visit. Funding for Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board has increased to over £1.6 billion this year. My hon. Friend is a huge champion for his constituents; I would be happy to meet and visit.

The population of my constituency is due to grow rapidly over the next 10 years and beyond. On that basis, can the Minister give a completion date for the new Whipps Cross Hospital, which was announced last week?

And obviously we want 24-hour provision in Chorley, which has the fastest-growing population, but let us move on.