HC Deb 14 February 1995 vol 254 cc791-2
13. Mr. Stevenson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors she takes into account when allocating resources within the NHS budget; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

NHS spending in England in 1995–96 will rise to £32 billion, a further increase of £1.3 billion. The underlying principles in deciding how that budget is spent are that access to a comprehensive health service should be available to all on the basis of clinical judgment and that money is allocated according to health need.

Mr. Stevenson

Does the Secretary of State not realise the total inadequacy of that answer when we consider the millions of people who are being denied quality of life and have reduced life expectancy because of poverty? Is she aware that Government-imposed poverty is reducing the life expectancy of millions of people? Is that not a direct result of NHS market forces which are rationing health care on the basis of poverty?

Mrs. Bottomley

That question is quite ludicrous, particularly coming from the hon. Gentleman with the record in his constituency. We are committed to the improvement of people's well-being and the reduction of unemployment. Average incomes have increased by more than a third. In the hon. Gentleman's constituency, the money that goes to the health service has increased by more than 30 per cent. in the past five years, partly because resources are targeted at areas of greatest need.

Life expectancy is increasing and infant mortality figures are improving. The results of the health reforms are available for all to see.