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Volume 626: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2017

Health Education England is responsible for meeting the workforce requirements of the NHS in England. The number of dermatologists in the NHS continues to grow, with 18% more consultants and 13% more doctors in training since May 2010. HEE’s latest workforce plan shows a 2% increase in funded training places for dermatologists compared with the previous year. Dermatology remains a popular choice for doctors, and it typically enjoys 100% fill rates.

I am pleased to say that, through a combined approach by the clinical commissioning group and Musgrove Park hospital in my constituency of Taunton Deane, it has been possible to prevent the long-term closure of the dermatology department and to put in place an interim service, with a full service reopening in 2018. Given the seriousness of the conditions of people coming through this department—including an increasing number of cases of skin cancer—will my right hon. Friend give further assurances about how we can ensure there is a sufficient supply of specialists in this area?

I know that my hon. Friend has campaigned actively to ensure that dermatology services at Musgrove Park hospital in her constituency have been retained following a consultant retirement, which prompted the temporary arrangements. I am pleased that, since the beginning of April, Somerset CCG has successfully commissioned regular dermatology clinics at Musgrove Park using specialists from Bristol, with a view to restoring a full service from next April. We recognise the important service that dermatology clinics provide and are committed to encouraging that specialty in Somerset and nationally.

Dermatology is one of the specialisms that is particularly dependent on doctors from other EU countries. Is it not becoming clearer by the day, whether on the staffing crisis in the NHS or the threat to our pharmaceutical industry highlighted by the Health Secretary in his letter today, that the extreme hard Brexit being pursued by the Prime Minister is disastrous for our NHS? What are the Minister and the Secretary of State doing to pull the Prime Minister back from that damaging course?

Order. In relation to dermatologists is, I think, what the right hon. Gentleman had in mind.

I cannot tell the right hon. Gentleman precisely how many of the excellent dermatologists come from the EU, but I can tell him that, since the referendum, 562 non-UK EU doctors have come to work in the NHS.