§ 8. Ms Glenda Jackson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the future of the Royal Free hospital in the pattern of London's health care following the Tomlinson review.
§ The Minister for Health (Dr. Brian Mawhinney)
The Royal Free hospital will continue in its role as an important and well-managed provider of services to local patients.
§ Ms Jackson
Does that mean that the recommendations of the London implementation group specialty reviews will not be implemented? Under those recommendations, the Royal Free would lose cancer treatment, neurosurgery, paediatrics and a world-renowned renal transplant unit. Are not the review boards, brought into being by the Department of Health, yet another smokescreen put up by the Government in an attempt to conceal the basic fault in their policy, which is that a market economy cannot provide the health service that the country demands and should receive?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
Of course they are not. As the hon. Lady knows, the specialty review reports represent independent advice to Ministers and they will not determine—by themselves, certainly—the future pattern of services. The recommendations as they affect the Royal Free will no doubt be a subject for discussion with the region, with local hospitals and with the implementation group, to ensure that all points are properly satisfied. That is what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State told the hon. Lady on 23 June and I confirm it.
§ Mr. Tracey
Does my hon. Friend agree that we can all go on about our own local hospitals and that I could make a strong case for more resources for Kingston hospital, but that our policy is about universal health care across the whole of London and our first priority must be primary care across London?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
My hon. Friend is, of course, absolutely right. When I visited the Royal Free on Friday, I found it adopting a more positive attitude towards its future than the hon. Member in whose constituency it lies ever adopts in the House.