During an adjournment debate about NHS audiology services, Brooks Newmark welcomes Government support for improved access to digital hearing aids, but asks how this can be achieved when many PCTs are suffering a funding crisis?
Mr. Brooks Newmark (Braintree) (Con): I, too, wish to congratulate the hon. Member for Dartford (Dr. Stoate) on raising this important issue. I also congratulate the Minister on her willingness to try to achieve the goals that the hon. Gentleman seeks. The challenge, however, arises from the funding crisis that many PCTs are suffering. How does the Minister intend to bridge the gap between the important objectives that she seeks to achieve and the funding crisis?
Ms Winterton: It is important to be clear that the NHS has received enormous investment, and all PCTs have benefited from that. We need to ensure that PCTs manage their finances properly, and if that is not sorted out the finances will not be on the even keel necessary to fund some of the new services that are coming on line. Financial management is vital to enable some of the PCTs that have difficulties to get on an even keel so that those services are provided by all PCTs.