National Health Service (Allocation of Resources)

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th June 1979.

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Photo of Mr Tom McNally Mr Tom McNally , Stockport South 12:00 am, 26th June 1979

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether it is still his policy that National Health Service financial resources should be reallocated in favour of deprived regions.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

Yes, Sir, with the emphasis on levelling up, not levelling down.

Photo of Mr Tom McNally Mr Tom McNally , Stockport South

Is the Secretary of State aware of the great amount that that pledge involves? The gap between the North-West and the best endowed authority is still over 20 per cent. and is reflected in the health care of the people of the North-West. In devoting more resources to the region, will the right hon. Gentleman particularly make sure that we do not have the economies of the madhouse, where capital investment, such as represented by the Stepping Hill geriatric unit, is then deprived of the funds adequately to staff it?

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

We have no plans to imitate the example of our predecessors, who, when faced with the problem of having to cut back on health care, chose to cut back on capital provision rather than offend their political susceptibilities by raising a little more money through prescription charges. I accept that there must be a continuing shift of resources towards the under-provided regions. That is the Government's policy.

Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Christchurch and Lymington

Nevertheless, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that some regions and some parts of regions have particular problems with an elderly population? Will he make sure that this is one of the factors that his Department takes into account when the regional allocations come up for review?

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

Yes indeed, Sir. Because they could not be quantified, a number of factors were altogether left out of account in the Resource Allocation Working Party formula, and in the more recent studies by RAWP it is recommended that allowance be made for these non-quantifiable factors.