John Stevenson (Carlisle) (Con): What progress his Department has made on improving the performance of hospital trusts in special measures. 
The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt): Eleven of the 26 hospitals that have been put into special measures have exited that regime because of good clinical progress, the most recent being Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which exited in December 2015.
John Stevenson: Given that North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been in special measures for two and a half years, that there are now serious concerns about the wider health economy in north Cumbria, and that we have the success regime in place, will the Minister now give a commitment that the Government will ensure that the acquisition of the trust will happen?
Mr Hunt: First, I thank my hon. Friend for the campaigning he does for his local hospital. He knows that I very much support that merger and hope that it will go ahead. It is worth paying tribute to the staff at the trust, who have brought down mortality rates to within the NHS average. The Care Quality Commission says that plans to improve safety are working well. We should celebrate the fact that even the trusts in special measures have hired 700 more doctors and 1,800 more nurses and are making real progress in improving patient safety.