CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

HEALTH – MID-STAFFORDSHIRE NHS TRUST SCANDAL – 4 March 2013

Dr Julian Lewis: I thank the Minister for his courtesy in giving way. It might be helpful, Mr Speaker, if you would give us guidance on whether pre-notification is still required. What the Minister says is all well and good but why is it, after so many people died in such an unacceptable way, that nobody seems to have carried the can or taken responsibility?

[Mr Speaker: Order. I thought, in the circumstances, that I would let the debate flow, but for clarification I ought to say that there is a requirement that a Member who wishes to make a speech in someone else’s Adjournment debate secures agreement in advance, but there is no such requirement – this point is widely misunderstood – in respect of an intervention. It is purely for the Minister to decide whether to take an intervention. No impropriety has been committed by the hon. Member for Bristol North West (Charlotte Leslie); her virtue is unassailed.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Dr Daniel Poulter): Indeed, and thank you, Mr Speaker. I will, of course, do my best to take as many interventions as possible, but my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) will be aware that I have been generous so far and that the time allotted to Adjournment debates means that it is difficult to give as full an answer as possible to interventions. For that reason, it is useful to have some notice that an hon. Member intends to intervene. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made the point clearly, as did Robert Francis in his report, that it was not for the Francis report to highlight individuals or blame them for what happened; the report was about ensuring that there was a clear acknowledgement that there had been systemic failure, which I talked about earlier. It was a failure of professionalism on the front line; a failure of the trust’s board; a failure of regulation and the regulators; and a failure of management at the trust. When systemic failure occurs, it is right that we put in place systemic solutions, and that is what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will do later this month.]