HL Deb 17 July 1997 vol 581 cc119-20WA
Lord Lucas

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether Baroness Jay of Paddington's statement of 18 June (WA 120) that "Our manifesto commitment is to treat an extra 100,000 patients through reducing bureaucracy" should be taken to imply that the pledge in the manifesto to "cut NHS waiting lists by treating an extra 100,000 patients" is no longer operative to the extent that there is now no commitment to cut NHS waiting lists; and if not, by what measure the commitment to cut NHS waiting lists should be judged.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington)

The Government have already made a significant investment into direct patient services and away from bureaucracy, in line with our commitment to ensure that more of every pound spent in the NHS goes into frontline patient services. We have also honoured our commitment to increase NHS income in real terms by providing an extra £1.2 billion for 1998–99.

Our legacy from the previous administration is record numbers waiting for treatment and longer waits. The action the Government are taking now will deliver our manifesto commitment to treat an extra 100,000 patients from the NHS waiting lists during this Parliament.