NHS Workforce and Service Development

Part of Opposition Day — [18th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 11th October 2006.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Shadow Secretary of State for Health 12:44 pm, 11th October 2006

May I just answer Dr. Stoate, because there is an important point here? In their amendment to this motion, the Government say that

"death rates from cancer and heart disease are falling faster than ever before", and the Prime Minister said at Prime Minister's questions that deaths from coronary heart disease had fallen since 1997. Indeed they have, but as it happens they have not fallen faster than ever before. In the seven years before 1997, the death rate for circulatory diseases and the cancer death rate fell slightly faster than in the seven years since that date. Mr. Barron, the Chairman of the Health Committee, made a point earlier about the use of the health service as a political football. Well, a good starting point would be to tell the whole truth about what is going on.

Yesterday, the Government —[Interruption.] Let me finish this point. Yesterday, the Government published health profiles across England and said that cardio-vascular disease death rates have been falling since the mid-1990s. They have not—in fact, they had been falling for at least a decade before that. Let us be honest about what is going on. There is a long-term secular reduction in both coronary heart disease and cancer death rates, which is very much to be welcomed. That has not happened simply as the consequence of the 1997 election, or of additional money. It has happened in virtually every developed country across the world, so let us be honest about these things.