HC Deb 31 October 1955 vol 545 c657
37. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Minister of Health whether he will publish a White Paper showing the effect on the national economy of the improved hospital services provided by the capital allocations to regional hospital boards since 1951.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am afraid that the effect on the national economy of improved hospital services cannot be summed up in concrete terms either of money or manpower saved. There is, of course, no doubt that substantial savings of both have been achieved.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I consider this to be a very unsatisfactory answer? Would he not agree that it would be helpful to the country, and very much welcomed, if instead of always talking about spending money, the country could be told about the benefits that we receive from money well spent? Would my right hon. Friend kindly reconsider his answer and get on with letting us know the facts?

Mr. Macleod

As a matter of fact, I am in entire agreement with what my hon. Friend has said. I wish very much that we could find a method of expressing, as in a balance sheet, the good that the hospitals do in returning people to ordinary work. It is invaluable work, and it is productive work in the full sense of the word. All I am saying is that unfortunately it is not a matter than can be assessed easily.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

May we assume that the right hon. Gentleman is now in favour of a National Health Service generally?