HC Deb 18 March 1991 vol 188 cc8-9
7. Mr. Win Griffiths

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has any plans to provide additional resources to the NHS in Wales.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

Planned expenditure has been increased to £1,719 million in 1991–92 which, with expected cost improvements and income generation schemes, will provide an increase of 13 per cent. over the original provision in this financial year. Additional resources will be made available for review bodies' pay awards.

Mr. Griffiths

Has a comparison been made between the rise in inflation in the health service and in inflation generally? How much extra money is required for the growing care of all our people? Does the Minister agree that, despite the welcome increases in funding, waiting lists in many areas are still increasing? Will he call in the capital programme of Mid Glamorgan health authority to reconsider the need to develop phase 2 of the Princess of Wales hospital at Bridgend, as promised six years ago?

Mr. Bennett

The hon. Gentleman should look at the figures. He will find that, between 1974 and 1979, there was a 9.3 per cent. increase in real terms. That has been far exceeded under the present Government, who have increased expenditure by 55.7 per cent. in real terms.

The hon. Gentleman referred to waiting lists. I, too, have looked at the matter carefully. Waiting times are as important as waiting lists. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that, with an increase in the elderly population and a larger number of patients being seen, there will be further demands on the service. I am happy to be able to tell the hon. Gentleman that the number of in-patients as a percentage of total throughput has fallen from 10.9 to 10 per cent. in the past 15 years. For acute sector patients, the figure is down from 13.7 to 12.8 per cent.

There is an improvement, but the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that the fact that more people are being seen makes it difficult to tackle the problem of waiting lists, but we are trying to do that through the waiting lists initiative and the regional centres.

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