New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: May I add to what my long-time comrade, my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) said by delving into a bit of history? In 1977, I was knocked off a motorcycle by a careless driver on a Sunday. Because staff were not in the hospital, the wound could not be cleaned until it was x-rayed and because the wound could not be cleaned, I got an infection. This is not just about increased mortality rates; it is about the prolongation and exacerbation of small or routine episodes and injuries. Will the Secretary of State, in his calm and measured way, say again to the House that when we look back on this episode people will be very surprised that it took nearly 40 years – from my accident – to bring about this long-overdue reform?

[The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt): My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. He talks about x-rays, which illustrates the point that this is not just about doctor presence but the presence of those who are able to do x-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, get results back from laboratories and so on. A whole suite of things are necessary for seven-day care. He is also right to point out that there are huge savings if we get this right. For example, if someone gets an avoidable pressure ulcer because they have not had the care that they should have received over a weekend, they are likely to have to stay in hospital for over 10 days longer. That will cost the NHS several thousand pounds more and that is why, in the end, this is the right thing to do economically as well as ethically.]