Health and care

Fighting to ensure the highest possible standards of care are maintained at Russells Hall. Working with the hospital we secured government funding for improvements at A&E.

Mike Wood: All Members will have their own examples of mental health casework. Often, those constituents will have attended an advice surgery or sent an email for help about a different problem entirely. It could be housing; it could be employment or welfare; it could even be a problem involving the criminal justice system. But it soon becomes clear, after a few questions and a little bit of probing, that the underlying problem is one of undiagnosed—or unsupported—mental illness.

Mike Wood: It is good to be back—[Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] To be honest, it is good to be anywhere. Doctors and nurses at Russells Hall hospital saved my life in January, but each year in the UK, 44,000 people are less lucky. Will my right hon. Friend look at what measures we can take to reduce deaths from sepsis, including awareness raising, a national registry to properly record the burden of sepsis and effective commissioning levers to incentivise best practice? The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that such measures would save 50,000 lives over the next Parliament.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of treating people who have inhaled nitrous oxide in the last 12 months for which figures are available.


Nicola Blackwood (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)

Data on the costs to the National Health Service of treating people who have inhaled nitrous oxide in the last 12 months is not collected centrally. No assessment of such costs has been made over the last 12 months.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the compliance of internet suppliers of nitrous oxide with their obligations under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985.


Sarah Newton (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department)

Mike Wood: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of deaths attributable to the inhalation of nitrous oxide.


Chris Skidmore (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office))

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.


[Please see UKSA Response PDF attached below]


Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she will consider reclassifying nitrous oxide as a controlled substance.


Sarah Newton (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department): 

We have no plans to reclassify nitrous oxide as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Under the Psychoative Substances Act 2016, it is illegal to supply nitrous oxide if the drug is likely to be consumed for psychoactive effect.

Mike Wood: The hon. Lady is making some important points. She referred to the taskforce’s “Future in mind” report. According to one of its startling statistics, only between 25% and 35% of young people with diagnosable mental health conditions access support. Does that not underline the need for much better training and much more awareness among both teachers and GPs, in respect of early identification as well as early intervention?


Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)

Mike Wood: Has my right hon. Friend made any assessment of how the prices of the drugs quoted in the article in The Times compare with those paid in other health services and by healthcare providers in other western European countries?


Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

Mike Wood: Does my right hon. Friend share my disappointment that the BMA leader who co-authored the new contract and said that it was beneficial for our patients and for our junior doctors is now trying to whip up support for a series of strikes that every credible medical leader has said would be disproportionate and harmful to patients?


Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

I am extremely disappointed and I hope that she reconsiders.

We as Members should question the credibility of alcohol advice, but our primary role is surely to consider the wisdom and effectiveness of such guidance from a public policy viewpoint. The guidelines fail to acknowledge the decades of research demonstrating that moderate alcohol consumption is compatible with a healthy lifestyle. Multiple studies since the 1970s show that light to moderate alcohol drinkers have a lower mortality rate than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers.