In Parliament this week, Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, took part in a debate reforming the way the NHS is organised, to integrate health and social care services more effectively.
Theresa has campaigned in support of local NHS services in Barnet throughout her 16 years in Parliament.
In her speech she highlighted the importance of medical research in discovering life-saving new treatments. She also emphasised that effective workforce planning is essential if the capacity of NHS services is to expand to meet the needs of the population. She singled out GP services as requiring expansion to enable her constituents to get the appointments they need. She called for local GPs to have a strong voice in the new structures created by the Bill.
She told MPs “I confess that I am wary of NHS reorganisations, but as Sir Simon Stevens told the Health Committee, this one is almost unique in being primarily a response to a series of requests from the NHS to Parliament. In delivering a more integrated health and social care system, the Bill will implement a number of proposals in the NHS’s own long-term plan. Crucially the Bill is accompanied by the commitment to raise NHS funding by £33 billion—the largest cash increase in its 73-year history.”
“I would hope that, in putting the integrated care systems on a statutory footing, Ministers will give them a strong mandate to conduct and fund research. The pandemic has shown the vital importance of research. Not only did the Oxford University scientists deliver a world-leading vaccine in record time, but their Recovery trial established dexamethasone as the first effective treatment for covid, saving thousands of lives.”
“The report that I co-authored for the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform sets out a blueprint for a new regulatory architecture for clinical trials to replace the EU clinical trials directive. The Bill could be an opportunity to take those reforms forward, along with our ideas on a more modern approach to health data. These plans would improve the chances of discovering better treatments for life-threatening diseases and could unlock huge economic opportunities, capitalising on the abilities of our world-leading scientists and universities.”
“The Bill must also be used to improve workforce planning. As demands grow on the NHS, we must continue to expand capacity, and we cannot do that unless we are training and recruiting the people we need. In particular, we must have more GPs so that our constituents can get the care that they need when they want it. GPs are currently under unprecedented demand pressure. I urge the Minister to ensure that the Bill gives GPs a strong voice in the new structures to ensure that local input is given to those new structures.”
“Supporting the NHS will always be a key part of the work that I do as MP for Chipping Barnet, because I know how important it is to my constituents. Knowing that the NHS is there when we need it is one of the greatest advantages of living in our United Kingdom. The Covid emergency has reinforced that a thousand times over, and I take the opportunity to pay tribute to the staff of our NHS and thank them for their courage, dedication and professionalism.”