HC Deb 12 June 1995 vol 261 cc489-90
12. Mr. Nigel Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many patients were treated by the NHS in (a) 1979 and (b) 1994. [26042]

Mr. Redwood

The national health service in Wales saw 633,000 new out-patients and treated 739,000 in-patients and day cases in 1994–95, compared with 429,000 and 381,000 respectively in 1979.

Mr. Evans

I welcome that incredible increase, but will my right hon. Friend assure the House that the money secured through any future modifications and savings in the NHS in Wales will be spent directly on patient care and not on dancing to the music of the paymasters of many Opposition Members, the health unions in Wales?

Mr. Redwood

Of course we wish to concentrate the money on patient care. One of the reasons for the success in treating so many more patients is that we have targeted much more money on ensuring that patients come first, and that more treatment is available for them. That is the overriding priority, and one that I intend to continue.

Mr. Hain

If the Secretary of State really believes that health services are improving under the Conservatives, is he living on planet Portillo or possibly planet Redwood?

Mr. Redwood

That be the lamest silly question that we have heard all day, and probably for many weeks, in the House of Commons. Of course I put the interests of patients first. Of course I am proud to come to the House and ask for more money for the national health service in Wales, which it has needed and which it has been given. As the hon. Gentleman knows, I am also keen to ensure that health services in his region are improved by new investment as well as the additional commitment of people and new treatments. That is what we shall do. The hon. Gentleman's cheap debating points demean him and the House.