Between 1979–80 and 1993–94, real per capita gross spending on the national health service in Scotland has grown by 50 per cent. This represents an average annual growth rate of 3.8 per cent. over and above prices over the past 14 years.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. How is that sustained growth in spending on the health service in the past few years translated into patient care in Scotland?
My hon. Friend is right to emphasise that what matters is the effective use of those increased resources. Every year since the Government took office, record numbers of patients have been treated under the NHS in Scotland. An average of 22,500 extra in-patients and day case treatments have been given every year between 1979–80 and 1991–92. Those and a range of other statistics prove the consistent and steady improvement in the standard and quality of patient care under the Government.
Is the Minister aware that in the six hospitals serving the city of Glasgow, one of which also serves his area, when a nurse reports sick she is not replaced, thereby making the staff shortage even greater and putting patients at risk? What is he going to do about it?
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the Greater Glasgow health board is currently examining its acute service strategy, and we shall consider the proposals when they are put to us after consultation. I emphasise that steadily increased resources have been made available to the national health service in real terms over and above the increase in prices.