All Neale Hanvey contributions to the NHS Funding Act 2020

Mon 27th January 2020
NHS Funding Bill
Commons Chamber

2nd reading
2nd reading: House of Commons
2nd reading
Department of Health and Social Care
3 interactions (931 words)

NHS Funding Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
Neale Hanvey Excerpts
Monday 27th January 2020

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Department of Health and Social Care
Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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It is a pleasure to call Neale Hanvey to make his maiden speech.

Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (Ind)
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27 Jan 2020, 7:19 p.m.

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to make my first speech, in this important debate. I would like to pay tribute to the hon. Member for Ashfield (Lee Anderson), who had quite a lot of good lines. I do not think I am going to match his humour, sadly. I would also like to pay tribute to the hon. Member for Darlington (Peter Gibson) for making his maiden speech tonight.

Being elected here to represent the communities that I grew up in is an extraordinary and humbling honour. To do so today in the presence of my partner Lino and our children makes it especially memorable. The honour of representing my constituency carries with it a significant responsibility to be my constituents’ voice and advocate on matters both here and at home, and to endeavour to serve the best interests of every constituent.

As a new Scot and a pragmatist, I am a product of this Union. Born in Northern Ireland and raised in the east of Scotland, I forged my professional career for the most part here in the heart of London. My apologies to hon. and right hon. Members from Wales: I landed in Cardiff airport once for refuelling, and I am not sure that counts, but hopefully I will remedy that as soon as possible.

If, to go by the Prime Minister’s repeated assertions, this is the most successful political union in the world, why have I and so many others never felt that to be true? Could this be an example of the iniquity that my predecessor, Lesley Laird, rightly focused on in her maiden speech, as she began her service to the constituency, from May 2017 until December of last year? Indeed, she lamented that the arguments for economic equity and social justice had been a theme not just of hers, but also of her predecessor, Roger Mullin. On this matter they have no quarrel with me.

From the coalmining communities of Benarty and Kelty, through to our largest conurbation, the Lang Toun of Kirkcaldy, and the picturesque coastal towns and villages stretching from Dalgety Bay to Dysart, the constituency I serve is bursting with ambition. That potential has been damaged by the ravages of Thatcherism and restricted in many respects by the limitations placed upon my constituency—and, indeed, Scotland as a whole—by politicians in this place who have not won an election in Scotland since 1955. All these communities have a proud history of hard work and great intellect and a strong sense of community. That sense of community has somehow withstood the imposition of political and economic policies that neglect, ignore, dismiss and sometimes extinguish the hopes, aspirations and potential of so many. While some Members of this Parliament may jeer at, dismiss and deny the potential of Scotland, I will not tire of giving voice to those aspirations and the hope of a better, independent future that works for all of Scotland.

As the UK turns in on itself, wrapped in the false promises of a Brexit that Scotland did not vote for, this Government have shaken the magic money tree to give cash-strapped public services some of the funding that they have been denied over 10 long years of neglect. This brings me to the subject of the debate and my reflections on it. While I readily agree that the proposed funding in the Bill is preferable to ruinous austerity economics, we must never forget that that was initiated by those on the Government Benches, aided by the Liberal Democrats and eased into being by the abstention of many members of the Labour Opposition.

If the English NHS is the patient, then this Bill is a fig leaf, treating the symptoms and not the cause of the English NHS’s woes. The cause is, of course, pernicious and has proven deadly for many—Tory economic and social policy—but the Government must know that. Why else would they refuse to publish their own impact assessment on universal credit and the two-child cap? What are they afraid of—the truth? In Scotland, many of us on these Benches have been working on a remedy for some time, but this Government are withholding consent and, at the same time, they ignore the refusal of consent to this damaging folly from the devolved Parliaments. We must take our Brexit medicine regardless.

In 2014, the people of Scotland voted for a status quo that no longer exists. They were promised equal status, respect and greater autonomy. That vow lies shattered, as does Scotland’s trust in this place. If Scotland is not equal, if it is not respected and if it is not listened to, are we to assume that we are hostages in our nation, forever prone to the wiles of our larger neighbour? Well, let me say this: that is neither right nor, indeed, honourable. The health of a nation cannot be improved using honorific titles in this place. It requires right, and right honourable deeds, not words. If this is the most successful union in the history of the world, why is it that we need to measure deprivation, poverty and homelessness? Whether I support this EVEL policy or not, I am denied a vote, despite the consequences for Scotland.

In closing, I will—like my predecessors—turn to the words of one Adam Smith fae Kirkcaldy, in the hope that this will be the final time they need to be said in this place:

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”

The Government should publish the impact assessments. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Natalie Elphicke Portrait Mrs Natalie Elphicke (Dover) (Con)
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27 Jan 2020, 7:21 p.m.

I congratulate the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Neale Hanvey) on his maiden speech. I pay tribute to him for the passion he expressed for his community and to all those whose maiden speeches we have heard so far tonight.

I speak in this Second Reading debate on NHS funding to acknowledge that this Conservative Government are committed to delivering record funding for the NHS to secure world-class healthcare. However, healthcare is not just about how much money goes in—it is also about how it is spent. I welcome the Bill’s intention, which is to provide financial certainty to secure improvements on prevention and detection, as well as the treatment of patients. I believe that the focus on prevention should apply to every new baby life coming into our world. Even though a hospital may be state of the art, as my local Buckland Hospital in Dover is, if proper procedures are not followed, avoidable deaths and serious injury are the result. World-class healthcare is therefore also about leadership, standards and strong procedures. It is about culture—accepting responsibility when things go wrong, ensuring that there is accountability when life is unnecessarily lost, and showing compassion to those who have suffered when mistakes are made.

I would like to take a moment to share an avoidable and sad event with the House. An experienced mother attended Buckland Hospital in Dover last January after becoming concerned about changes in the movement of her baby at 36 weeks. The baby was well developed at over 7.5 lb. The mother was in a higher-risk category, having miscarried before, as well as having other gynaecological factors. At the hospital, she was put on the standard foetal baby monitoring under the supervision of a long-standing midwife. The midwife had a student with her that day.

The mother reports that during the monitoring process, the midwife left the mother and baby at times in the sole care of the student, that the student was having difficulties getting a reliable reading and that this was raised with the midwife on more than one occasion. The reading continued to be unreliable and incomplete. However, the midwife decided to stop the foetal monitoring and signed the monitoring sheet, noting that it was a defective and poor-quality reading, before discharging the mother and baby. Baby Tallulah-Rai Edwards died shortly thereafter, within 48 hours of being discharged from hospital. She died of hypoxia, which is suffocating to death in the womb because of a lack of oxygen.

Tallulah-Rai’s mum, Shelley, and her dad, Nicholas, have come to my surgery to ask me to raise with the Minister their serious concerns about the avoidable death of Tallulah-Rai. In doing so, I acknowledge the dignity and tenacity with which Tallulah-Rai’s family have looked for answers so that other families do not experience such a loss.

Tallulah-Rai’s parents maintain that she died as a result of inadequate foetal monitoring at Buckland Hospital, which is part of the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. There can be no doubt that mum Shelley should not have been sent home on 23 January 2019 without the proper procedures being followed and completed. This was confirmed in writing by a very senior consultant at the trust.

This incident is all the more shocking because the unnecessary death of Tallulah-Rai was far from an isolated incident. Last Friday saw the conclusion of the coroners’ inquest on baby Harry Richford, a death in 2017 at another east Kent trust hospital. I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for North Thanet (Sir Roger Gale) for his sympathy and support for baby Harry’s family, as well as their dignity in their distress and their desire to ensure that lessons are learnt from the unnecessary and tragic death of their baby son.

Inadequate foetal monitoring and wider problems in local maternity services have been highlighted in the inquest proceedings as well as in Care Quality Commission investigations in 2016 and 2018. Indeed, there was even a damning secret report commissioned by the trust as far back as 2015, which has only recently come to light. As one of the local Members of Parliament in east Kent, I cannot be fully assured that foetal monitoring in every case, and without exception, is being conducted to the right standards in our local hospitals, nor can Tallulah-Rai’s parents, Nicholas and Shelley. They know that nothing can bring their baby daughter back, but they want changes to the law and the administration of healthcare to ensure that no other parent suffers an unnecessary loss.

They want to see, first, immediate action taken at our local maternity services, so that there is no risk of another baby dying where inadequate foetal monitoring is an issue, or procedures are not followed, or there is unclear or inadequate advice to patients. This cannot wait for a lengthy public inquiry—it needs action now. Secondly, the culture of the trust should be made subject to a further and detailed review. Tallulah-Rai’s parents are still trying to get answers about their daughter’s death, yet in the latest draft report to them, more than a year on, the trust has not even bothered to get their baby’s name right. The trust needs to stop hiding behind paperwork and process; it should take responsibility right now so that Tallulah-Rai’s family can mourn and move on. Thirdly, they want the right to a coroner’s inquest to be extended to all baby deaths, whenever that death occurs, be it before or after the birth date. I know that the Government were bringing forward changes to this before the election and I ask the Minister for an update on how the measures are being progressed to ensure that there is a right to an inquest in these circumstances.

This important Bill provides record funding for the NHS, but money is not everything. Effective management and oversight, responsibility and accountability, and diligence, respect and compassion are all essential features of a world-leading healthcare service. I hope that the Minister will support me and my hon. Friends from across east Kent as we look for urgent and immediate improvements locally to give mums and dads-to-be the greatest possible confidence in our maternity services right here and now.