§ 16. Mr. Corbett
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to make an announcement about increases in prescription and other patient charges.
§ Mr. Corbett
Does the Minister agree that it would be a charge 9n other patients if the North and South Birmingham health authorities were to agree to make public funds available to general practitioner fundholders to buy appointments in nine weeks and operations within six months while other patients must wait a minimum of 13 weeks and nine months for their treatments? Is that not evidence of a two-tier health service?
§ Mr. Malone
I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would welcome the fact that targets for waiting lists are being met. Waiting lists are coming down, to the benefit of many people. The hon. Gentleman fails to recognise the agreement that was reached with the professions in introducing health service reforms which ensure that everyone receives the same quality of care. The majority of people are admitted at once as emergencies, and clinical need determines when people will be treated. I am astonished that Labour Members are carping on when waiting lists are coming down and more people are being treated more quickly.