National Health Service

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:39 pm on 26th January 1993.

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Photo of Mr Jerry Hayes Mr Jerry Hayes , Harlow 6:39 pm, 26th January 1993

First, may I make a declaration of an interest? I advise the Western Providence Association, which is a non-profit-making organisation.

I listened most carefully to the speech of the hon. Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) whom I have known for years. We served together on the Select Committee. It was interesting to hear that she totally disagrees with her Front Bench on the Tomlinson report.

We have heard on many occasions from the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) that he believes that the status quo is no longer an option. I wish that the hon. Gentleman were in his place. Bring back the hon. Member for Livingstone (Mr. Cook); all is forgiven. I may not have agreed with him, but at least he understood and mastered his brief. Here we have a shadow Secretary of State who has hands on, but absolutely no grip whatsoever.

I understand why Opposition Members feel rather twitchy about the motion. It is not so much a motion as a stream of consciousness in the image of Dave Spart. They talk about the growing crisis in the health service, the commercialisation of the health service, concern at the total fragmentation of care due to underfunding, the impact of internal market trusts and GP fund holders. It goes on and on. Worst of all, it contradicts Opposition Front-Bench policy—[Interruption.] Hon. Members should listen and then they would learn.

Not so long ago we heard the hon. Member for Brightside at the Blackpool conference going on about the Tories' own Frankenstein's monster and saying that he was committed to getting rid of the trusts. The hon. Member for Bristol, South (Ms. Primarolo) said pretty well the same thing. On 21 August 1992 she told The Independent that trusts enjoyed "no public support". She told BBC television that she was committed to getting rid of them.