St Helier Hospital: 11th June 2013

Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) (Lab)
16. What the status is of the capital programme for the refurbishment of St Helier Hospital. [158881]
 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry)
I am sorry, Mr Speaker, I am all over the place and do not have now the answer to give the hon. Lady. I believe the programme was signed off in 2010—[Interruption.] In fact, I am right—[Laughter.] Well—[Interruption.] Now, now; that is very naughty from the right hon. Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham). As you get older, Mr Speaker, you sometimes start to forget things—[Laughter.] Not you, Mr Speaker, of course; you would never do such a thing, and in any event you are much younger than I am.

The Government re-approved the business case for the redevelopment of St Helier hospital in May 2010—I was right—as part of the review the previous Government’s spending commitments. As the hon. Lady knows, because of the various configurations and proposed configurations, no final decision has been made yet. We need to ensure that all the plans come to some sort of fruition.
 
Siobhain McDonagh
At my age, I share with the Minister a problem with memory loss, but I do not forget the years when we were trying to get the £219 million redevelopment of St Helier hospital agreed, or that the proposal was supported by the Chancellor in his first Budget. The money is now being used as a slush fund by Better Services Better Value, but its idea is to increase the sizes of A and E and maternity units of all the hospitals around while closing those at St Helier. Does the ​Minister agree that that was not the intention of the money, and that any future development plans must go back to the Department of Health for agreement?
 
Anna Soubry
I pay tribute to the hon. Lady, who campaigns hard for her hospital, and quite rightly so. I have met my right hon. Friends the Members for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) and for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) and am more than happy to meet her to discuss all the important matters she raises.