I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Sir P. Goodhart) on the way in which he has raised the issue of the effect of RAWP in Bromley and the vigorous style in which he has defended his constituents. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute briefly to the debate.
I should like to emphasise that Bromley health authority has reduced its expenditure, as my hon. Friend said. It has done that by efficient economies and by contracting out. It has been congratulated in the House by the Secretary of State on the way in which it has done so. However, it still finds that it is continually having to make reductions in its services because it cannot meet its budget.
I am not going to argue the case for Beckenham or any other hospital. I have no hospitals in my constituency because they are situated in the other three constituencies in the area. However, whatever reductions are made, whether in Beckenham or elsewhere, the ultimate effect will be a reduction in patient care for my constituents and those of my hon. Friend. I accept the principle of RAWP and what it seeks to achieve, but I urge the Under-Secretary to consider a substantial slowing down of the effect of RAWP or an abatement of it.
Like my hon. Friend, I wish the Under-Secretary a peaceful Christmas, but I urge him, when he returns in the new year, to look carefully at the effect that RAWP is having in an area such as Bromley, and to reconsider its effects.