National Health Service

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 5:29 pm on 19th January 1988.

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Photo of Mrs Rosie Barnes Mrs Rosie Barnes , Greenwich 5:29 pm, 19th January 1988

No, I shall not give way.

First, there should be increased Government spending in line with growth in GDP. Earlier, the Minister spoke of the importance of the economy and its relationship to the nation's health. There is no direct relationship, but a significant link can be made if a specific portion of the national economic cake is allocated to the Health Service.

Secondly, we must find ways in which to encourage people, individually, to spend more on health care without abandoning the principles of the National Health Service — for example, through rededicating premium bonds and through local health lotteries. There is considerable evidence that people are prepared to spend more indirectly if they know that the money that they are giving is going straight to the Health Service and not being absorbed in general income.

Thirdly, we must realise that we can use existing resources even more efficiently by creating an internal market that matches the internal supply and demand of individual health authorities in a much more effective way. Clearly, if people needing treatment would receive it far more quickly in a different health authority there is no reason why they should not be given the right to take advantage of that authority's facilities and their own health authority should have to pay the bill.

I should like to highlight one less-emphasised but equally important crisis in the Health Service—the crisis caused by the implementation, not the principle, of the Resource Allocation Working Party proposals. The problem is the lack of funding caused by the implementation of those proposals in certain parts of the country.