I seem to recall that it was a Labour Government who closed hospitals, cut nurses' pay and genuinely created a crisis in the health service. The right hon. Gentleman would be well advised to give up these kindergarten soundbites and concentrate on reality. NHS spending will be more than £34 billion this year—more than £720 for every man, every woman and every child. That is an increase over and above inflation of about three quarters since 1979. There were over 9 million episodes of hospital care in 1995–96—25,000 every day, up 46 per cent. in 10 years.
As the right hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) said, the acid test is whether more people are being treated. They are, and they are being treated better and offered a wider range of services. The right hon. Gentleman knows that but he will not admit it: he is more concerned with his politics than with the reality of improving treatment.