HC Deb 25 April 1989 vol 151 cc791-2
3. Mr. Knox

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were treated in National Health Service hospitals in the most recent year for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figures for 1978.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Freeman)

Between calendar year 1978 and fiscal year 1987–88 total annual in-patient cases for England increased by 23 per cent. from 5.4 million to 6.6 million. Over the same period, day cases rose by almost ½ million and out-patient attendances by over 2¾ million.

Mr. Knox

Does my hon. Friend agree that these figures provide the best evidence of the improvement and expansion of the National Health Service since this Government came into office because they show a substantial increase in the number of patients being treated?

Mr. Freeman

The figures underline the success this Government have had, with a 40 per cent. increase in real terms in expenditure on the National Health Service. For the year just commenced, there is a £2 billion increase in resources.

Dr. Moonie

Can the Minister comment on the waiting lists in the corresponding period and say what he will do about them?

Mr. Freeman

Over the last 10 years, waiting lists have gone down by 8 per cent.—[Interruption.] True. Regarding the west midlands, waiting lists in my hon. Friend's constituency and the surrounding region have gone down by 19 per cent.

Mr. Hayes

Is my hon. Friend aware that the South Glamorgan health authority has contracted out all its open-heart surgery to a private hospital in Southampton? This means that patients are getting speedy care absolutely free to the patients and at a lower cost to the National Health Service. Is that not precisely what we are trying to do in the White Paper?

Mr. Freeman

There are many examples—arid doubtless there will be more—of good co-operation between the private and public sectors.