Health and care

Mike Wood: What steps he is taking to improve mental health support for members of the armed forces and veterans.


Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

I support the Bill today.

Lucy Allan Conservative, Telford

It is a great pleasure to follow Melanie Onn, who made a very thoughtful and engaging speech on this important issue. I am very glad that so many Members are in the Chamber to take part in the debate.

Mike Wood: As my hon. Friend says, part of the problem is that so many hospital trusts are locked into long-term PFI contracts. Many of them were negotiated in the late 1990s or early 2000s and will shortly be coming up for renewal or expiry. Does she agree that now is the time to look at what provisions we can put in place to ensure that, as the contracts are renewed, they do not contain exploitative provisions that allow hospital trusts to take patients, as well as their families and visitors, for mugs by overcharging them for parking?


Mike Wood: Does the Minister agree that a police cell or a police station is not a suitable place for an innocent person suffering from mental health problems, and will she support initiatives such as the mental health triage projects in the West Midlands to make sure that people with mental health problems get the medical support they need when they need it?


Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Mike Wood: What assessment he has made of the effect of prisoners participating in sporting activities on improving rehabilitation rates.


Phillip Lee The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

There is strong evidence that physical education and sport improve the wellbeing and motivation of those in custody and ex-offenders in the community. Both improve their prospects of successful resettlement.

Mike Wood & James Cleverly (Braintree)

What steps the Government are taking to support women back into work when they have had time out of the workplace to look after children or other relatives.


Anne Milton 

(Minister of State (Education), Minister for Women)

Mike Wood: Like other hon. Members, I wish to start by congratulating

Mike Wood: I thank my hon. Friend for taking forward the excellent work begun by my hon. Friend Will Quince in the previous Session. He rightly says that most employers would grant leave under such terrible circumstances, were it asked for. Is not the point of the Bill that no parent should, in almost unimaginably horrible and difficult circumstances, have to make such a request and fear what the answer might be?


Kevin Hollinrake Conservative, Thirsk and Malton

Mike Wood: Does the hon. Lady recognise that an independent study put the cost of providing childcare for three and four-year-olds at about £3.72 per hour, whereas the average amount that goes to a council is £4.94—significantly more?


Ruth George Labour, High Peak

Mike Wood: Today is World Sepsis Day. Sepsis claims at least 44,000 lives a year in the UK and earlier this year I almost became part of that tragic statistic. Will the Prime Minister look at what more the Government could be doing to support awareness-raising programmes, so that we can catch sepsis more quickly, treat it more effectively and save more lives?


Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Mike Wood: The fact that some women are still discriminated against during pregnancy or maternity leave is both unacceptable and unlawful. Will the Minister assure the House that the Government not only take the problem extremely seriously but are looking at how laws can be better enforced to give the protection she promises?


Claire Perry (The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)

Mike Wood: All Members will have their own examples of mental health casework. Often, those constituents will have attended an advice surgery or sent an email for help about a different problem entirely. It could be housing; it could be employment or welfare; it could even be a problem involving the criminal justice system. But it soon becomes clear, after a few questions and a little bit of probing, that the underlying problem is one of undiagnosed—or unsupported—mental illness.

Mike Wood: It is good to be back—[Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] To be honest, it is good to be anywhere. Doctors and nurses at Russells Hall hospital saved my life in January, but each year in the UK, 44,000 people are less lucky. Will my right hon. Friend look at what measures we can take to reduce deaths from sepsis, including awareness raising, a national registry to properly record the burden of sepsis and effective commissioning levers to incentivise best practice? The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that such measures would save 50,000 lives over the next Parliament.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the compliance of internet suppliers of nitrous oxide with their obligations under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985.


Sarah Newton (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department)

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of treating people who have inhaled nitrous oxide in the last 12 months for which figures are available.


Nicola Blackwood (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)

Data on the costs to the National Health Service of treating people who have inhaled nitrous oxide in the last 12 months is not collected centrally. No assessment of such costs has been made over the last 12 months.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she will consider reclassifying nitrous oxide as a controlled substance.


Sarah Newton (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department): 

We have no plans to reclassify nitrous oxide as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Under the Psychoative Substances Act 2016, it is illegal to supply nitrous oxide if the drug is likely to be consumed for psychoactive effect.

Mike Wood: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of deaths attributable to the inhalation of nitrous oxide.


Chris Skidmore (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office))

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.


[Please see UKSA Response PDF attached below]


Mike Wood: The hon. Lady is making some important points. She referred to the taskforce’s “Future in mind” report. According to one of its startling statistics, only between 25% and 35% of young people with diagnosable mental health conditions access support. Does that not underline the need for much better training and much more awareness among both teachers and GPs, in respect of early identification as well as early intervention?


Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)

Mike Wood: Has my right hon. Friend made any assessment of how the prices of the drugs quoted in the article in The Times compare with those paid in other health services and by healthcare providers in other western European countries?


Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

Mike Wood: Does my right hon. Friend share my disappointment that the BMA leader who co-authored the new contract and said that it was beneficial for our patients and for our junior doctors is now trying to whip up support for a series of strikes that every credible medical leader has said would be disproportionate and harmful to patients?


Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

I am extremely disappointed and I hope that she reconsiders.

We as Members should question the credibility of alcohol advice, but our primary role is surely to consider the wisdom and effectiveness of such guidance from a public policy viewpoint. The guidelines fail to acknowledge the decades of research demonstrating that moderate alcohol consumption is compatible with a healthy lifestyle. Multiple studies since the 1970s show that light to moderate alcohol drinkers have a lower mortality rate than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers.

Mike Wood: The hon. Gentleman is speaking movingly about the challenges that dementia sufferers and their carers face. This week the Carers Trust raised with me concerns about patchy levels of support in dementia care around the country. Does he agree that local authorities need to go out and learn from best practice around the country, such as the church groups in his constituency and the successful dementia gateways in Dudley, to make sure that more carers and more dementia sufferers can receive the support they so desperately need?

On the Monday of last year’s Queen’s Speech debates, at almost exactly this time, I made my maiden speech. Twelve months on, I am delighted to see legislation being brought forward to implement so many parts of the manifesto on which my colleagues and I were elected. This Queen’s Speech is about improving life chances for all. It is about securing our economy so that we can provide the excellent public services on which our constituents, and we ourselves, depend.