Ruffley seeks reassurance on West Suffolk Hospital in House of Commons.

Tuesday, 14 June, 2011

Ruffley seeks reassurance on West Suffolk Hospital in House of Commons.

On 14 June Andrew Lansley, Secretary of State for Health, gave a statement in the House of Commons on the Government's response to the NHS Future Forum.

David Ruffley MP was called by the Speaker to question Andrew Lansley following his statement. The exchange was as follows:

Mr David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds) (Con): I welcome the proposals, but will the Secretary of State give details of the safeguards against cherry-picking of the kind that, if unchecked, could fatally undermine rural district hospitals such as the West Suffolk hospital in my constituency?

Mr Lansley: Yes; we have to ensure that commissioners are increasingly able to use a tariff involving an established national or local price to determine the service that they commission, and that that does not allow the private sector-or anyone else, for that matter-to cherry-pick services by undercutting on price. We also need to ensure that that price reflects the cost of the treatment for the conditions involved, including complex conditions. This is why we have committed to carry out work, not least with the Royal Colleges, to identify where we need to develop tariffs in order to ensure that that happens.

Speaking after the Commons exchange, Mr Ruffley said:

'This is the third time in recent weeks that I have questioned Ministers on the floor of the House of Commons about my concerns over the reforms and the effect they could have on the West Suffolk Hospital in my constituency. I welcome Andrew Lansley's rethink on his original proposals. Cherry-picking by private contractors of the most profitable procedures is not what the Suffolk NHS is about. I'm reassured that Mr Lansley's statement this week. But I shall keep an eagle eye on the details of the proposals.'