National Health Service

Part of Opposition Day — [14th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 21st January 2015.

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Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee, Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee 3:39 pm, 21st January 2015

I commend the professor’s book, and I hope Labour Members read it, as well as looking at the NHS comparators between England and Wales, which they obviously have not done so far. I would like Labour Members to tell us whether—if they ever are in government; I hope they will not be—they will guarantee to continue with the cancer drugs fund, which has allowed thousands of people in England to live longer and more productive lives than they otherwise would have.

The situation is not the same in Wales, where these cancer drugs are routinely denied to people. I am talking about people such as my constituent Ann Wilkinson, who is also trying to care for a very ill husband but who has been denied Avastin. She has had to find other means to get it, and other seriously ill people in Wales have had to move to England or find people’s spare rooms to sleep in.

We heard something about cuts, but the reality is that we have guaranteed the NHS budget in England while it has been cut by about 8% in Wales. Thousands of people are members of Action for our Health, a group comprising people campaigning in Wales to be treated in England. Some people say that the NHS is the envy of the world, and perhaps it is, but the NHS in England is very much the envy of Wales. To see that we need only ask the thousands of people—ordinary patients—in a campaign group who want to be treated by the NHS that is run by this coalition Government and not by the NHS that is run by Labour.

I wish to finish by saying to my right hon. Friend the Minister that I congratulate him on the better ambulance response times he is delivering in England than Labour is delivering in Wales; on the better accident and emergency turnaround times he is delivering in England than Labour is delivering in Wales; on the shorter waiting lists in England than people face in Wales; and on the cancer drugs fund, allowing people to live longer in England than they otherwise would in Wales. Most of all, I congratulate him on protecting that NHS budget—on standing up for the NHS instead of cutting the budget, as the Labour party has done in Wales. I very much hope that he is able to continue with that good work in years to come.