§ Mrs. Beckett
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence she has on the extent to which the quality of care provided by the NHS differs from what it was four years ago.
§ Mr. Malone
The changes we have introduced, including the introduction of a managed market, national health service trusts, the general practitioner fundholding scheme and the patients charter have all contributed to marked improvements in the quality of patient care, by focusing on the development of locally determined services which reflect the needs and wishes of the individuals who use those services. Tangible benefits in terms of patients care include: significant reductions in waiting-times, the development of quality services which effectively reflect local needs and priorities and a greater role for patients in decisions concerning their own health care and treatment.
These improvements have been borne out by the results of the recently published British Social Attitudes Survey, which suggests that, since 1990, the number of people satisfied with the NHS has increased by 10 per cent.