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Volume 611: debated on Wednesday 18 May 2016


Wednesday 18 May 2016


Petition presented to the House but not read on the Floor

Community Pharmacies

The petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that local pharmacies are a vital frontline health service, forming part of the fabric of health communities across England; further that they may be forced to close as a result of Government proposals; further that this could deprive people of accessible medicines advice and other valuable support from trusted professionals; and further that it may also put more pressure on GPs and hospital services; and further that a local petition on this matter has been signed by 386 individuals.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department of Health to reassess their proposed plans and protect local pharmacies.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Jim Cunningham.]



Communities and Local Government

Green belt land between Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay

The petition of residents of Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay in the South Staffordshire constituency, and others,

Declares that the current proposals to build 136 houses on Landywood Lane, Great Wyrley will lead to the erosion of the distinct identity of our individual villages and could cause substantial environmental damage and further notes that residents have already successfully fought these proposals at local council level in 2013.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take all possible steps to encourage South Staffordshire District Council to reject these proposals, and if the proposals go to the Planning Inspectorate, to also encourage them to reject the proposals so that the green belt can be conserved for future generations.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Gavin Williamson, Official Report, 19 April 2016; Vol. 608, c. 888.]


Observations from the Minister for Housing and Planning (Brandon Lewis); received 17 May 2016:

Green Belts are created by local authorities, who are required to protect them in line with national policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework states that inappropriate development, including most forms of housebuilding, should not be approved there except in very special circumstances. It also makes it clear that a Green Belt boundary can be altered only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process of public consultation followed by rigorous independent examination of the revised Plan.

Local authorities, working with their communities, have to determine the best location for new homes. Our guidance reminds them to have due regard to national policies, such as Green Belt policy, which indicate that development should be restricted and which may restrain an authority’s ability to meet its housing need. Moreover, the Framework asks local authorities to recognise the character and beauty of the countryside, and the benefits of the best and most versatile farmland. They should also insist on the highest standards of design when considering new development.

We want local authorities and their communities to be in charge of planning their areas. As Secretary of State, I intervene in the planning application process only in a very few, exceptional circumstances, where planning issues of more than local importance are involved. Each case is considered on its merits. If the local authority is minded to approve a proposal, but has not yet determined it, anyone may draw the application to the attention of the National Planning Policy Casework Unit ( and request that it be considered for call-in. NPCU advises the Secretary of State on such cases.


Ealing Hospital and the Shaping a Healthier Future programme

The petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that since 2013 there has been a programme of rationalisation and downgrading of health services across North West London as part of the Shaping a Healthier Future programme; further that this has led to the loss of a number of important local services; further that the programme is often depriving communities of some of their most important resources; further that the Accident and Emergency department at Ealing Hospital has been earmarked for closure; further that Ealing Hospital has already lost its maternity unit; further that Ealing Hospital is also due to close its paediatric unit in June; further that there are hugely concerning reports that Ealing will not now receive the new ‘Local Hospital’ promised under the programme, as the costs of the Shaping a Healthier Future programme have spiralled; and further that an online petition on a similar matter has been signed by 100,229 individuals.

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons urges the Government to reconsider the impact of the Shaping a Healthier Future programme on Ealing Hospital, Ealing and the surrounding boroughs that rely on Ealing Hospital to deliver high quality emergency care 24 hours a day.

And the petitioners remains, etc.—[Presented by Mr Virendra Sharma, Official Report, 26 April 2016; Vol. 608, c. 1404.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Ben Gummer); received 16 May 2016:

The changes taking place in Ealing are being led by clinicians and are designed to improve the quality of care including maternity and paediatric care, for local people.

Plans for NHS services across north-west London, including those at Ealing Hospital, are being implemented by the local NHS under the reconfiguration programme Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF).

The Government are clear that the reconfiguration of local health services is a matter for the local NHS. Services should be tailored to meet the needs of the local population and reconfiguration will only take place when it is clear that patients will benefit.

The changes taking place under SaHF are about improving healthcare for the residents of northwest London. The benefits include:

improved consultant cover in A&Es;

better access to GPs; and

increased community services so more people can be treated closer to their homes.

Ealing hospital is to be redesigned as a new 21st century facility for the local community. The hospital will have a local Accident and Emergency and a 24/7 GP-led Urgent Care Centre with access to 24/7 specialist care, as well as a range of specialist services designed with and for the local community, such as a diabetes Centre of Excellence.

Changes to maternity services in North West London have already yielded benefits such as improved midwife ratios and 24/7 consultant availability, 365 days a year.

It is proposed that inpatient paediatric services will move from Ealing Hospital on 30 June 2016 into five other hospital sites in north-west London, all of which will significantly expand their capacity by either increasing their number of inpatient beds or increasing the size of their paediatric A&E units. There will also be more senior doctors on site for longer hours, seven days a week, and/or more paediatric nurses.

However, nearly three quarters of existing children’s services will continue on the Ealing Hospital site and elsewhere in the borough.

It is also proposed that these changes will see new Paediatric Assessment Units in place at five receiving hospital sites by autumn 2016. The units will provide ambulatory care, which is care during the day for children who do not need to be admitted to hospital, but need a period of observation and treatment. This will provide better care and means less children will need to stay in hospital overnight.

On 14 January 2016, the North West London Clinical Board considered the Independent Healthcare Commission for North West London’s final review of the SaHF programme. The unanimous conclusion of the NW London Clinical Board was the Commission’s report offered no substantive clinical evidence or credible alternative to consider that would lead better outcomes for patients above the plans already in place.