Health Care (London and South East)

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:07 pm on 20th February 1995.

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Photo of Lady Olga Maitland Lady Olga Maitland , Sutton and Cheam 6:07 pm, 20th February 1995

I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. He is right that, when we re-examine the concentration of health services in the centre of London, it is appropriate that we recognise that there has been a depopulation of the centre and movement to outlying areas. Furthermore, patients no longer want to travel into the centre of London when they can receive excellent service and treatment close to home.

Another success in St. Helier hospital is in the provision of diagnostic equipment. We now have the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment that any hospital could wish to have. We have a new magnetic resonance imaging scanner and we are ordering a new computerised tomography scanner. With that combination of diagnostic equipment, the hospital will be in the world class in providing services for patients.

Let us contrast the success of medical care both nationally and in my constituency with the gloom, doom and fear-ridden material that has been fed to us by the Opposition. I find it stunning that the Opposition should seek to use what I can only call the Chinese water treatment. They believe that if they give people big, bad news often enough, people will believe that it is true. Every time that I am out on the doorsteps in my constituency, I ask people, "How are you getting on? What are your worries? What are your concerns?" They tell me that they are worried about the health service. I ask what experience they have had that upset them. Then they say, "Oh no, I have been well treated. I have an excellent doctor. I had wonderful treatment in the local hospital. The doctors were dedicated. The nurses were kind. I came home and I am now fit and well." I ask why they feel worried. They say, "It is what the politicians say on television."

It would be more appropriate if the Opposition stuck to honesty and the truth and acknowledged success when it happened. Such success is abundant and widespread. It does not help patients if they hear endless scaremongering stories that create a tremendous amount of nervousness and fear.

I shall give the House an example. Hon. Members have only to look at the Opposition motion. In the first line, they refer to a "crisis". There is no crisis in the health service when it is moving along with the punch, the power and the impact of investment and resources. What do they mean by that?

The Opposition also keep talking about failure. There is no failure when more patients are being successfully treated than ever before. It would be more worth while if the Labour party was a little more honest about what its plans would be, should it ever have the opportunity to run the country. Thankfully, the country will never vote for Labour.

I do not believe that the patients, about whom the Opposition say they are so worried, have any idea that Labour plans to put our medical care under political control. The Opposition want to abolish GP fundholding and break down national health trusts, and put them under the local authorities and town hall politicians. As a patient, I would not want my medical future to be controlled by town hall politicians—certainly riot by socialist ones.

Thank heaven a Conservative Government are taking care of the health service and that there is not a hope in hell that the Opposition will ever take over.