HC Deb 15 March 1951 vol 485 cc1738-9
12. Sir H. Williams

asked the Minister of Health to what causes he attributes the fact that the numbers of deaths in. England and Wales in each of the 10 completed quarters since the National Health Service was introduced in July, 1948, has been higher than in the corresponding quarter of the 12 months ended 30th June, 1948.

Mr. Marquand

The fact is attributable mainly to the exceptionally low mortality in the period selected for comparison. This appears to have been due to the very favourable weather in that period combined with a remarkable absence of influenza.

Sir H. Williams

Having regard to the fact that even taking into account the increased population, the mortality has risen 10 per cent. and the number of deaths is twice as many as Hitler killed by bombs, is it not time the right hon. Gentleman did something about our National Health Service?

Mr. Frederic Harris

Does not the Minister think that the ever increasing difficulty of getting patients into hospital, as was instanced recently at Croydon, may be one of the contributory factors to this unhappy state of affairs?

Mr. Marquand

No, Sir, I cannot accept any of these implications. Nothing is more dangerous than the use of statistics by untrained persons, The hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) selected figures peculiarly favourable to his case. The death rates do not show any sharp change at all over the period from 1937 onwards.