Health Care, Hackney

Part of Orders of the Day — Clause 37 – in the House of Commons at 12:37 am on 6th November 1989.

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Photo of Mr Roger Freeman Mr Roger Freeman , Kettering 12:37 am, 6th November 1989

I share the great concern of the hon. Member for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms. Abbott) for the wellbeing of the citizens who live in the catchment area of the district health authority. I part company, however, with her analysis of the district health authority's problems and her prescriptions for the future. I do not share her view that it is an and exercise to consider resource implications. Governments of whatever political persuasion have to consider the proper allocation of resources so as to ensure that the money allocated to district health authorities is used in the most efficient way possible.

The hon. Lady knows that by professional background and training I am an accountant. I do not believe that the application of sound financial management and practice is inhumanitarian. The reverse is the case. The most humanitarian way to run the National Health Service is always to be concerned about using scarce resources in the most efficient way. She knows that in 1989–90 the City and Hackney district health authority has been allocated just over £100 million. She also knows that there have been no cuts in that district. Gross revenue expenditure by the City and Hackney district health authority rose from some £70 million in 1982–83 to just over £100 million in the current financial year. That represents a very significant increase in cash terms and in real terms. I find the hon. Lady's reference to cuts in the district difficult to comprehend.