NHS Workforce and Service Development

Part of Opposition Day — [18th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:23 pm on 11th October 2006.

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Photo of Patricia Hewitt Patricia Hewitt Secretary of State, Department of Health 1:23 pm, 11th October 2006

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"welcomes the Government's historic investment in the NHS since 1997, trebling funding by 2008;
pays tribute to the commitment of NHS staff;
recognises the ongoing investment in their training and development;
notes that there are now 32,000 more doctors and 85,000 more nurses, and that overall there are over 300,000 more staff working in the NHS;
acknowledges that as a result of the Government's investment and reforms and the hard work and dedication of NHS staff, virtually no-one now waits more than six months for their operation whereas in 1997, 284,000 people waited longer than six months with some patients waiting up to two years;
further notes that over 99 per cent. of people with suspected cancer are now seen by a specialist within two weeks of being referred by their general practitioner, up from 63 per cent. in 1997, and that death rates from cancer and heart disease are falling faster than ever before;
and further recognises the need to ensure NHS services continue to change to benefit from new medical technologies and treatments which mean more care can be delivered in local communities and people's homes."

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Lansley has spent nearly 40 minutes telling us, as he always does, what is wrong with the NHS. I want to start by congratulating the staff of the NHS—more than 1.3 million committed and dedicated men and women, many working in very difficult circumstances. There are more than 300,000 extra staff—my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister slightly understated the increase in Prime Minister's questions—than there were in 1997. I particularly want to thank them for the improvements that they have made in looking after patients in recent years. We have seen dramatic improvements in waiting times, for example.