§ 5. Mr. Gary Streeter (South-West Devon)
What assessment he has made of the capacity of Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, to meet the acute health needs of its community. 
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Ms Hazel Blears)
In February last year, we approved plans for a £101 million major redevelopment in Plymouth, which will significantly increase the capacity of the hospital.
§ Mr. Streeter
The Minister refers to a new hospital that will come on stream in six or seven years, but what about levels of care for my constituents in the meantime? Given that the Government's own commission reported at the end of last year that it has been discovered that activity levels at Derriford hospital in Plymouth are three times higher than the national average, but that resources for the hospital are less than twice as high as the national average, is not the problem of the long-term funding structure the real reason why it often performs at 102 per cent. of capacity, why doctors and nurses are so hard pressed, and why so many operations are cancelled? After five years of a Labour Government, how much longer must my constituents wait for proper acute hospital health care?
§ Ms Blears
It is true that there are problems of capacity in this country, and it is no wonder, because under the previous Government 60,000 beds were cut. Between 1980 and 1997, the NHS lost 60,000 beds. That is why there is a problem with capacity. At long last, under this Government, we now have a scheme to rebuild Derriford hospital.
What has already happened at Derriford? [Interruption.] Let Opposition Members listen to what has already happened at Derriford: £6 million for a new cardiac unit; £3.5 million for a new cancer centre; £1.5 million for a new breast care unit; £820,000 for additional critical care beds; £765,000 for A and E Modernisation; a new 10-bed observation ward planned in accident and emergency; four new wards for cardiac patients; and three wards to be released. That is just in Derriford. The rest of the country is also benefiting from the Labour Government, whereas people had to wait for years and years under the Tories.
§ Linda Gilroy (Plymouth, Sutton)
Does my hon. Friend agree that primary care trusts have an increasingly important role to play in easing not just winter pressures but all the seasonal pressures that affect hospitals these days? Does she further agree that private insurance has absolutely no role to play in solving those problems and, indeed, would make matters worse for many of my constituents?
Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I remind the Minister that this question is about one particular hospital. I hope that she will not stray outside that.
§ Ms Blears
Much as I am tempted to do so, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall not.
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Getting hospitals to work well is not just the responsibility of the acute trusts; it also depends on primary care trusts, on social services working together and on the whole health community coming together to achieve that. I am aware that senior managers are working in each other's organisations. Anne James, chief executive of Plymouth City primary care trust, has recently spent some time working in accident and emergency. What better way for professionals to experience the problems that they all face across the piece? I am delighted that, in this area, people are looking to Modernisation and reform as well as investment.