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Mr. Howard: I thank the hon. Lady for giving way. I have listened carefully and patiently to what she has said. She has spent considerable time speaking about her future plans. Can she please tell the House how those future plans, even the long-term plans, will address the problems that I described, if all they aspire to do is to maintain the current bed baseline in east Kent? If there are not more beds, how will people be admitted to the wards more quickly, rather than spending dreadful periods in the accident and emergency department?

Ms Stuart: I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will not consider it presumptuous on my part if I profoundly and fundamentally disagree with his analysis of the problem. What I have described are not future changes; they have already happened. Change was needed because maintaining the status quo would not be acceptable.

The number of beds must be seen in the context of what has happened in respect of medical assessment units, better bed bureaux, better management, the intermediate care that is being put in place, and what we are doing together with social services with regard to home care packages. The national beds inquiry made it clear that the decline in the number of acute beds cannot continue, but a range of other provisions must be put in place.

I urge the right hon. and learned Gentleman to look at the package as a whole. The experiences of his constituents that he described are convincing evidence that change is needed in Canterbury and the whole of Kent. I was particularly struck by his comments about dirty hospitals. Yes, some of our hospitals have cut back on cleaning, and I remind Opposition Members how that

28 Feb 2001 : Column 1014

came about. It is a result of the way in which the previous Government managed the NHS. It is no good hon. Gentlemen shaking their heads; that is the truth.

Mr. Green: I shall be brief, as I know that the hon. Lady does not have much time. First, my right hon. and learned Friend made it clear, as did I in my intervention, that we are speaking about managerial problems that have occurred in the past two years. That has nothing to do with what happened long in the past or what will happen long into the future. We are discussing care at the William Harvey hospital now.

The second point that the Minister has not addressed is that, in the end, we will have roughly the same bed numbers, yet her Government plan to increase the size of Ashford by 3,000 houses a year for the next 15 years. To say that the same bed numbers will be adequate for the population of east Kent is risible.

Ms Stuart: The hon. Gentleman simply has not listened. It is a matter not only of bed management and acute bed numbers, but of home care packages and rehabilitation. The situation must be looked at in the round.

I shall refer briefly to the comments of the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Brazier). We have had Adjournment debates on his concerns. As an immediate response to the letter to which he referred, the acting regional director for the South East regional office asked the chief executive of East Kent Hospitals NHS trust and East Kent health authority jointly to undertake an urgent review of those concerns. The trust has agreed to some of the actions proposed.

The status quo is unacceptable. I have outlined the steps that we are taking and the direction in which we are moving. I recognise that the reconfiguration in east Kent has been particularly unpopular in some quarters, but let us not be fooled--some of the opposition is based on self-interest, not the interest of east Kent as whole. Ministers must think of east Kent as a whole.

That is not to say that some of the issues raised locally are not valid. Of course they are. Let us be clear that the Government will take immediate action where NHS services are failing to deliver, but we will not allow much-needed progress to be derailed. If we did, the only people to lose out would be the people of east Kent.

The modernisation of east Kent will proceed. The programme of change has gone well so far. I acknowledge that there have been some problems in east Kent in recent months, but I stress that those have not been caused by the reconfiguration. They are a sign of the need to invest in and modernise the service in east Kent, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Apart from the changes that I have outlined, by March 2001 there will be better separation of emergency medicine and elective surgery, and the potential preparation of a dedicated gynaecology unit at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital. By April 2001, we expect to see the completion of a new cross-section imaging suite at the William Harvey hospital, an extra operating theatre is due to open at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital, and the refurbishment of the day surgery area is expected to be completed at the Kent and Canterbury hospital. By spring 2001, there will be a £1.1 million modernisation of the accident and emergency

28 Feb 2001 : Column 1015

unit and the completion of a purpose-built health care and older people's services unit, including two rehab wards, stroke unit, therapy centre and day hospital at the Kent and Canterbury hospital. The transfer of services for the elderly from Nunnery Fields hospital will be managed much better. By July 2001, the new cataract centre is expected to open, subject to planning permission.

28 Feb 2001 : Column 1016

To say that no progress has been made is simply not the case. I accept that there are problems in the transition, but the direction of travel is clear. The outcome that we want is a better health service for all the people of east Kent.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-nine minutes to Eleven o'clock.

28 Feb 2001 : Column 1017

Deferred Divisions

Deferred Divisions

The House divided: Ayes 318, Noes 119.

Division No. 138


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allan, Richard
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Benton, Joe
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Etherington, Bill
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A
Goggins, Paul
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hancock, Mike
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harvey, Nick
Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hood, Jimmy
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hume, John
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Joyce, Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kingham, Ms Tess
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle
(B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Mountford, Kali
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Oaten, Mark
O'Hara, Eddie
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Steinberg, Gerry
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Tynan, Bill
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Webb, Steve
Wicks, Malcolm
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Wilkinson, John
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Butterfill, John
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Day, Stephen
Duncan Smith, Iain
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Hunter, Andrew
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
McCartney, Robert (N Down)
McCrea, Dr William
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Maginnis, Ken
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
May, Mrs Theresa
Norman, Archie
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paisley, Rev Ian
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Prior, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Willetts, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)

Question accordingly agreed to.

28 Feb 2001 : Column 1020

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