I assure the hon. Gentleman, as I said in my original reply, that beds are not reserved for private patients. The doctors, of course, give priority to urgent cases on the waiting list.
All hon. Members are glad to see the hon. Member for Glasgow, Woodside (Mr. Carmichael) back in the House. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I could not without notice give a break-down on the length of time people are on waiting lists, but there is an improving trend in the figures—which are still high—since they have dropped from 55,000 in 1969 to 51,000 last year. The Government are well aware of the importance of the provision of a larger number of beds, and this is why the hospital expenditure programme has increased by £28 million for 1973–74 as compared with the figure for 1969–70.