In September, we announced £145 million to upgrade NHS facilities for winter and, last month, £1 billion as part of the NHS long-term plan. Future capital spending decisions will be for the spending review.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his answer. He will know the importance of Stepping Hill Hospital to my constituents. Will he work with me and others to ensure that the hospital can secure additional capital investment to expand accident and emergency, improve outpatient facilities and provide additional car parking?
I look forward to working with my hon. Friend and his local colleagues on what we can do to support Stepping Hill Hospital further. He is an assiduous representative for Hazel Grove who makes the argument very clearly, both to me and to the NHS Minister, who has already heard from him on several occasions. We did manage to provide £1 million for upgrades to Stepping Hill Hospital ahead of this winter and we understand the case that they make.
I first thank the Department for supporting me in my case for upgrading the theatres at Musgrove Park Hospital.
Having skilled staff to work in these places is really important and the University Centre Somerset is one of just two places piloting the nursing associates programme. It is growing really well and it is a vital stepping stone between healthcare assistant and nurse. Will the Secretary of State join me in congratulating the college on how well the programme is going and meet me to discuss the option of a degree course?
Yes, absolutely. We support nursing associates and I am delighted to see the rapid expansion that is taking place. We want more universities and higher education institutes to come to the fore to provide that sort of education. I cannot wait to meet my hon. Friend.
One of my constituents, who is 17, seriously ill with breathing difficulties and in need of urgent specialist care, is waiting for a room to be available at the Royal Brompton. Is the Secretary of State aware of any delays and whether these have been caused by not having sufficient NHS facilities at the Royal Brompton to meet such urgent demand?
It is 12 long months since the Government closed their consultation on whether to upgrade NHS radiotherapy facilities. Meanwhile, in south Cumbria, cancer patients have to make daily round trips of up to four hours for weeks on end to receive treatment. When will the Government respond to the consultation and when will they invest in satellite radiotherapy provision in places such as Westmorland General Hospital?
We will respond to the consultation very soon. We wanted to get the NHS long-term plan published first, because clearly the two are strongly linked. I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman’s work chairing the all-party group on radiotherapy and I look forward to working with him.
Plymouth is pioneering health and wellbeing hubs—a new type of NHS facility. I am most excited about the new one in Plymouth city centre, which will include directly employed GPs and mental health, sexual health and dentistry services. We have submitted a funding application to the Minister. When will he be able to fund and support that pioneering project, a new type of NHS facility delivering in some of our poorest communities?
The hon. Gentleman’s neighbour in Plymouth has already brought this to my attention and made the case very strongly for it. I am still waiting for the “Thank you” for the new facilities at Derriford Hospital, but I am a massive supporter of the work that is going on in the local area and the NHS in Plymouth will go from strength to strength under this Government.
The maintenance backlog across the NHS is deeply worrying. It affects equipment as well as buildings. Two of the 10 operating theatres at Torbay Hospital remain out of action. Would the Secretary of State meet me to discuss the impact that that is having on patient care? It is increasing waiting lists and leading to very short-notice cancellations to make way for emergency cases. Torbay Hospital has a £34 million maintenance backlog. It is deeply worrying.
A consultation is taking place about the closure of Faith House GP practice on Beverley Road in Hull. It is partly about the premises being less suitable for delivering modern healthcare, but also about how difficult it is to recruit GPs. What will the Secretary of State do about GP services being removed from communities? How will he support the development of GP services in those areas?
The £4.5 billion extra in the long-term plan that is going to primary and community care is absolutely targeted at solving problems like that. As it happens, I know Beverley Road in Hull quite well; I had family who lived there. It is very important that the services in primary care and in the community are there and are available to people to ensure that that crucial element of our prevention agenda is strengthened to keep the pressure off hospitals, too.
Yes, I would love to do that. I will raise it with Mike Richards, who is running a review of the future of screening services. I am sure that the whole House will want to join me in congratulating my hon. Friend on her forthcoming use of maternity services in the NHS.