HC Deb 10 May 1988 vol 133 c141
12. Mr. Nicholas Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the progress of the review of the funding and organisation of the National Health Service.

Mr. Moore

We are continuing to examine a range of options for improving services to patients and will bring forward proposals as soon as we can.

Mr. Bennett

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that we on the Government Benches are looking for greater choice for patients in their selection of doctor, treatments and hospitals? We want also to see greater efficiency and value for money in the Health Service, through internal and external competition.

Mr. Moore

I take note not only of what my hon. Friend said, but also of the intent behind it. He is concerned not only about increasing competition, but about improving benefits to patients through greater choice and additional resources in health care.

Mrs. Mahon

Will the Minister take on board the point that his policy, and that of the Government, of increasing competition has led to chaos in my health authority? Laundry is now having to be transported 90 miles to Grimsby and hospitals are regularly without clean linen.

Mr. Moore

Competition has brought £100 million of additional money into health care in England for the benefit of patients. I should have thought that even the unreconstructed Labour Benches could begin to welcome that improvement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

While welcoming my right hon. Friend's review, may I ask whether he is aware that many of us hope that he will pursue an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary approach to the problems? Many of us believe that we continue to have one of the best health services in the world and that the challenges we face are still largely of management rather than of funding.

Mr. Moore

As always, I welcome my hon. Friend's contribution. We are looking at all ideas. Our prime and only concern is the better health of our nation.

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