Yesterday, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham was granted an Urgent Question on accident and emergency departments. I asked the Secretary of State for Health about cuts to GP opening hours and walk-in centres.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): If the Secretary of State is serious about people not attending A and E unnecessarily, why did he cut Labour’s extended GP opening hours and why is he allowing NHS walk-in centres to close up and down the country?
Mr Hunt: The fact is that one thing we need to do is to address why people go to A and E instead of the alternatives, such as walk-in centres. Communication about the alternatives to A and E is not as good as it needs to be. We are addressing those issues, but I must say to the right hon. Gentleman that the previous Government failed to address this problem when he was Health Minister and the difficult issue of the reconfiguration of services was never fully grasped. We are grasping it and that is why Professor Sir Bruce Keogh is undertaking his review right now.