Health and care

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.

I was opposed to the 2000 Act, and I had concerns about the 2014 Act. If our starting point is whether changes would make things easier or harder for some hypothetical despotic regime, both Acts clearly shifted the powers of the state and gave the security services significant new powers without providing corresponding safeguards to protect the rights and freedoms of the individual.

Mike Wood: I welcome the Government’s positive response to the taskforce report. Although effective acute care is vital, prevention is better than cure. Will the Government look at ongoing training for all GPs in mental health so that all patients can have access to early diagnosis, care and treatment to prevent problems from escalating?

 

Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

With the humanitarian situation deteriorating, we must ensure that all sides in the conflict are clear about the urgent need for a political solution. Yemen has descended into widespread armed conflict since March and is classified by the UN as a level 3 emergency. Despite that, this in some ways remains a neglected crisis. Government institutions are no longer able to deliver basic services to people in need, including basic healthcare and nutrition services, water and electricity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many doctors were working in hospitals in the West Midlands in (a) the first quarter of 2010 and (b) the latest period for which figures are available.

 

Ben Gummer (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)

Data is not available in the format requested.

The number of full time equivalent (FTE) doctors working in the Health Education West Midlands area in the first quarter of 2010 and the latest period for which figures are available is shown in the table below:

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction of Staying Put arrangements on foster children.

 

Edward Timpson ​(Minister of State (Education)): Staying Put arrangements help to provide the security and stability that care leavers need to make a successful transition to adulthood. The Department for Education has provided funding of £44m to local authorities for 2014/15 to 2016/17 to support them in implementing the new duty.

I thank
the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson) and my hon. Friend

Mike Wood: Does my hon. Friend agree that this problem is particularly acute on pavements around schools, especially primary schools, where obstructed pavements not only force buggies into the road but obstruct pedestrians’ view and prevent them from crossing safely?

 

Simon Hoare Conservative, North Dorset

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and as this debate continues the clear and tangible benefits are seen to be ever wider and ever clearer.

Mike Wood: What plans his Department has to increase capacity in general practice and primary care.

 

Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

It is a pleasure to be back, Mr Speaker. By 2020, we will increase the primary and community care workforce by at least 10,000, including an estimated 5,000 doctors working in general practice, as well as more practice nurses, district nurses and pharmacists.

 

Mike Wood: Despite suffering from Crohn’s disease since he was 18, my constituent Andy Powell has not only successfully completed a degree in engineering but spent the summer raising money for the team at King’s College London who are researching to find a cure for this condition. Might we find time for a debate on research into Crohn’s disease, which has such a negative impact on many people’s quality of life?

 

Chris Grayling Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

Mike Wood: Despite being diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica mid-way through her degree course, my constituent Amy Green successfully completed her course and now hopes to set up her own business. What support is available for people with disabilities who want to start their own business?

 

Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

Mike Wood: To build on that greater awareness and understanding of mental health among general practitioners, will the Minister look at ways in which we can rebalance mental health care away from an overreliance on acute care towards greater and more consistent primary care?

 

Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

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