HC Deb 22 November 1982 vol 32 cc571-2
12. Mr. Hooson

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the amount of the increase of real expenditure on the Health Service in Wales since May 1979.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

Between 1979–80 and the end of the current financial year we have provided for an increase of almost 10 per cent. in real terms in total Health Service spending in Wales.

Mr. Hooson

Does not that big real increase make nonsense of the Opposition's talk about a cut in health services in Wales? How does the Government's revenue allocation to health authorities compare with that of their predecessors?

Mr. Roberts

The real measure of the Government's commitment to the NHS lies in the health authority revenue allocations. Between 1974–75 and 1978–79 revenue allocations in Wales rose by 10.6 per cent. and between 1978–79 and 1982–83 by 11.3 per cent.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Can the Minister tell the House, Health Service workers and clients in Wales, the real implications of the proposals circulated in the recent document? Will they not result in reduction in allocations to health authorities?

Mr. Roberts

The hon. Gentleman—and I am surprised at it—has misunderstood the doucment. It begins by saying that allocations for next year have not yet been decided. The document was concerned with achieving the best value for money in the Health Service in Wales and with priorities for spending in the Health Service in Wales.

Mr. Wardell

In which areas of medical care has there been a real reduction in expenditure per head on the Health Service in Wales since May 1979?

Mr. Roberts

The hon. Gentleman should table a question to obtain a detailed answer. It is clear from the 10 per cent. growth in real terms—and this applies to capital spending as well, because this year we shall spend £45.5 million by way of capital spend, which is 20 per cent. up on the previous year—that there has been growth in most health spending in Wales.

Dr. Roger Thomas

What financial provision has the Minister made for educating the community to receive discharged mentally ill and mentally handicapped people into its midst? The Minister has said that education is more important than legislation in such circumstances. Is the Welsh Office in the "Brittan" or the "Fowler" corner in relation to the uprating of Health Service expenditure?

Mr. Roberts

I cannot believe that the hon. Gentleman has been following all the consultations and what has happened as a result of the publication of "Care in the Community". Is he not aware that recently the first all-Wales health forum was held and that the matter was thoroughly discussed under the chairmanship of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State? Of course we are taking special steps to improve the lot of mentally handicapped people in the community. They deserve the high priority that the working party accorded to them.