§ 15. Mr. Brandreth
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations she has received following the publication of her Department's paper on priorities and key challenges 1994–95 to 1997–98; and if she will make a statement.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
Since the publication of that document on 18 April, a number of questions have been asked by one hon. Member and we have received a small number of telephone calls from members of the public. No representations have been made.
§ Mr. Brandreth
The House has clearly mistaken me for my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames). Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the national health service is the largest organisation in Europe, costing about £100 million per day? Can he also confirm that the service is being used by more patients than ever and that, where three years ago, 100 patients were treated in hospital, it is now 121? Will he confirm that his key priorities will be best practice and increased patient care?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I can confirm exactly what my hon. Friend said and that that is true in his part of the country and in Chester. The Government have presided over a huge 177 increase in the number of patients treated, a significant increase in the quality of treatment, a huge improvement in the convenience of that treatment to patients and a major expansion—64 per cent. in real terms—in resources delivered to the health service for the benefit of patients. That is a record of which we are proud and to which the Opposition can only aspire.