Orders of the Day — Liverpool Area Health Authority (Budget)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:21 pm on 9th November 1983.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Robert Kilroy-Silk Mr Robert Kilroy-Silk , Knowsley North 7:21 pm, 9th November 1983

—and to insist that the Minister replies not with the platitudes that we have come to expect from him and his colleagues, but with serious proposals to deal with the fundamental and deep-seated health problems of our area.

As I am sure you are aware, Mr. Deputy Speaker—I hesitate to point it out in case you are not—the motion refers to Liverpool, and I do not represent a Liverpool constituency. I represent a Merseyside constituency, but my hon. Friends from the city will acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of my constituents seek and receive their health care in Liverpool and its hospitals. Therefore, I am as interested in the subject as they are and my constituents are as concerned and as deprived as theirs.

My hon. Friend the Member for Riverside and my hon. Friends the Members for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Loyden), West Derby (Mr. Wareing) and Broadgreen (Mr. Fields) have all referred to the social and economic deprivation of Liverpool and Merseyside. That is perfectly proper as we cannot adequately deal with the Health Service in the region unless it is set in the context of the region as a living entity.

It must be acknowledged that Liverpool is increasingly becoming the most deprived and disadvantaged of our cities and Merseyside the most vulnerable of our regions. As has already been said, hardly a day goes by without further substantial job losses and closures of large factories. Added to the deprivation and the inadequacy of employment opportunities and educational and housing facilities, we have a seriously underfunded Health Service. The Under-Secretary of State shakes his head, but that has always been so. If he bothers to consider the facts, which have no doubt been provided for him, he will find that historically Liverpool and Merseyside have been under-resourced. One of the reasons for the RAWP programme is to redistribute money from the better off regions, especially London and the south and south-east, to regions such as Merseyside and the north-west which have not had their fair share of the nation's resources in the past.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Derby referred to the Black report and the picture painted by it of the inadequacies in Health Service provision in the region. The Minister persists in shaking his head, so I shall give him the facts that he provided to the House. He produced evidence showing that there was already a deep and serious crisis in the Health Service on Merseyside. In a written answer on 28 October he said that on 30 September 1982 there were 2,018 urgent cases on the hospital inpatient waiting list in the Mersey region, of whom 1,418 had been on the list for more than a month. They may be figures only to the Minister, but to us they represent constituents in pain, distress and agony. The Department determined that they were urgent cases. The definition is not mine but that of the Department and the regional and district health authorities. It is intolerable that so many of our constituents should have to wait so long for urgent inpatient treatment.