We have now received applications from trusts to be one of the next eight hospitals in our new hospital programme, which will be the biggest hospital building programme in a generation. I understand that an expression of interest has been submitted, proposing developments at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary site. Although I cannot comment on this particular application at this stage, I can tell my hon. Friend that we aim to make our final decision in spring next year.
It appears that every time that I am fortunate enough to ask a question relating to health and social care, another disaster has happened at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. This time, it is a second water leak in the women’s hospital. Given that there is a maintenance backlog of £514 million and the newest part of Doncaster Royal Infirmary is older than the town of Milton Keynes, does my hon. Friend agree that a new hospital is not a “nice to have”, but an absolute necessity for the people of Doncaster? Will he please also visit Doncaster Royal Infirmary, although, with ceiling collapses and water leaks, he may need to bring a hard hat and some wellies?
I cannot comment on the selection process while it is under way, but my hon. Friend is a strong and powerful advocate for his constituents and for a new hospital in Doncaster. He has met me a number of times and continues to raise this matter in the House. I should perhaps have taken him up on his offer of a visit in the summer, when it was sunny, but I am still certainly happy to take him up on that offer.
If I may briefly be indulged, Mr Speaker—we do not often have the opportunity to do this from the Front Bench—let me say that I am grateful to the hon. Member for Tooting (Dr Allin-Khan) for her kind words about our late colleagues, James Brokenshire and Sir David Amess. The last time I saw David was a few weeks ago, when he posed for a photo that he wanted with me and then tried to impress on me the question of whether I would come to the wonderful town of Southend.