§ 15. Mrs. Faith
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has as to the number of inpatients and outpatients, respectively, treated in National Health Service hospitals in 1982–83; and what was the equivalent figure for 1978–79.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
Hospital activity statistics are collected centrally on a calendar year basis. The 1982 figures are not yet available. In 1981 there were 5.76 million inpatient discharges and deaths, 0.71 million day case attendances, and 35.57 million outpatient attendances in National Health Service hospitals in England. This compares with 5.37 million inpatient discharges and deaths, 0.56 million day case attendances, and 33.95 million outpatient attendances in 1978, representing increases of about 7 per cent., 27 per cent., and 5 per cent. respectively.
§ Mrs. Faith
Does my hon. Friend agree that those figures are a matter for congratulation and reflect the fact that there are 40,000 more nurses and many more doctors working in the National Health Service, and that the National Health Service has been organised more efficiently since the Government took office?
§ Mr. Finsberg
I am delighted to confirm that my hon. Friend, unlike most Opposition Members, understands the fact that we are spending more in real terms on the Health Service.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
Do not increased inpatient and outpatient attendances derive in part from the increased incidence of lead poisoning in children? Will the Minister give an assurance that he intends to consult his hon. Friends to ensure the early introduction of legislation to ban the sale of small lead figures and other lead toys to children, who otherwise will be in increased danger?
§ Mr. Finsberg
I am sure that this is a matter that my hon. Friend the Minister for Consumer Affairs is examining. I shall be delighted to talk to him on this issue.