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NHS Deficits

Volume 612: debated on Tuesday 5 July 2016

13. What assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of measures to reduce the size of NHS deficits on NHS staff numbers. (905665)

Trusts and foundation trusts are responsible for ensuring that their workforces are affordable, given the financial control totals that have been set for this financial year. We are clear about the fact that the first priority in the reduction of provider deficits will be to reduce unsustainable spending on high-cost temporary staff.

Five per cent. of NHS workers in England come from the European Union. What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that every effort is made to retain those skilled workers, and will he provide them with the confirmation of their permanent employment status that they so urgently need?

At the risk of repeating what the Secretary of State and I have said previously, we very much welcome the contribution of all EU nationals working in the NHS. It is for the process of the negotiations to establish the precise status of everyone, both EU nationals and British nationals working abroad. That was not my choice at the referendum, but the decision has been made by the British people. I hope that the hon. Lady will take comfort from what the Home Secretary has been clear about: that she hopes to be able to secure a deal so that we can retain EU nationals in this country.

Can the Minister confirm that the challenge to NHS budgets will not compromise in any way the provision of sufficient consultants and middle-grade doctors to not only keep North Middlesex hospital open, but to provide sufficient care to patients and proper quality training to trainee doctors?

The problems at my hon. Friend’s hospital are a result of management issues and long-running troubles that the hospital has encountered. I hope we will be able to fix them in the short term and provide long-term solutions, which I will be briefing about in the days to come.

Order. Progress has been rather slow today, but I want to accommodate one further inquiry. I call Karin Smyth.