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9.39 pm

Mr. Chope: With the leave of the House, Mr. Speaker.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Luff) on an excellent speech, and hope that the Government will respond to his powerful comments. Let me make a few more points, very briefly.

The hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris) made an important observation when he said that throwing more money at the NHS would not produce quick results. I think that if the Government deployed

10 Jun 2002 : Column 689

their resources in tackling existing inefficiencies immediately, they would secure much quicker results. Only last month, an Audit Commission report suggested that inefficiency in the NHS was costing the equivalent of 150,000 operations a year—the number of operations that the NHS plans to buy from the private sector this year. Think of the enormous sums that could be saved if the existing system were reformed.

We still feel that the Government have gone for the easy socialist option of increasing taxes and throwing more money at the public service, when what we really need to do is make the public service better. That can be achieved only through proper, substantial reform.

9.41 pm

Dawn Primarolo: There are now more than 107,000 fewer people on NHS waiting lists. No one is waiting more than 15 months for operations, whereas nearly 60,000 were doing so in March 1997. There are 6,000 fewer people waiting more than 12 months for operations, and we are on course to eliminate that figure by the end of next year. Just 500 people—500 too many, admittedly—have been waiting more than six months to see consultants, compared with more than 70,000 in March 1997.

There are now 25 per cent. more heart operations—some 10,000—every year. There are 171 more cardiologists, an increase of over 40 per cent. More than 95 per cent. of people urgently referred by their general practitioners with suspected cancer now see consultants within two weeks, compared with 63 per cent. in 1997. There are 566 more cancer consultants, an increase of 18 per cent. There are 50 per cent. more computerised tomography scans, and 86 per cent. more magnetic resonance imaging scans. An additional 500,000 operations are performed in the NHS every year, an increase of 10 per cent.

Last year there were 700 more general and acute beds in the NHS—the first increase in bed numbers for 30 years. NHS Direct has been rolled out across the country. The number of delayed discharges has been reduced; 4,700 such people now occupy acute hospital beds. Of course we desperately need to ensure that those people have appropriate care and support, but that compares with 6,800 delayed discharges in 1997.

Twelve major hospital schemes have been completed, and a further 15 are under construction. Every accident and emergency department that needed modernisation has now been modernised. Moreover, there are now 31,000 more nurses and 9,500 more doctors, including 2,000 new, modern matrons.

Despite all that, the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris) has the cheek to suggest that nothing has changed and that the Government have not been investing more money in the health service and ensuring that it grows. I must tell him that his constant parroting of "We, the Liberal Democrats, will cost you 1p," or "We, the Liberal Democrats, would raise the money in a different way," is no substitute for hard policies and delivery of services in the NHS. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made clear, the Bill sets out plans for an unprecedented increase in spending in the NHS, together with responsibility for proposals for financing that increased spending.

What of the Tories? We have gone through yet another debate on national insurance, but are we any the wiser about their policy? No. The Tories are still thinking

10 Jun 2002 : Column 690

about it—open-minded and empty-headed. There are no proposals from them. They are so empty-headed that they cannot even make it clear on the Floor of the House that they are committed to a comprehensive health service available on the basis of need, not ability to pay. Have we heard one of them utter that principle? No.

What we have heard the Tories say is why we should use taxpayers' money to subsidise private medical health care, why they believe that employers should not meet their obligations in contributing to a fine and first-class NHS, and why they believe that there is a magic formula out there to produce a health service that will respond to people's requirements and needs but will not require any extra resources. If they had learned anything from their defeats in 1997 and 2001, it would have been that the British electorate rejected their policies of underfunding the public sector and the NHS, and that the British electorate want their health service to be the best in the world and are prepared to pay for that on a fair and equal basis built on the fine principles of the Beveridge proposals. Yet again, all we have heard today from the Tories is why they want to stop that happening.

I say to the House and to the British electorate that if they had any doubts that the intention of the Conservative Opposition is to privatise the NHS, to cut it and to create a two-tier NHS, they have seen the proof of that intention in the debate tonight. This Bill guarantees, for the first time in the history of the NHS, consistent investment in the NHS: staff, beds, buildings and services to respond to the needs of the British people. I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 336, Noes 129.

Division No. 258
[9.48 pm


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barrett, John
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Breed, Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Paul
Cairns, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Carmichael, Alistair
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ewing, Annabelle
Farrelly, Paul
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foulkes, George
Francis, Dr Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Harvey, Nick
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Jimmy
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Irranca–Davies, Huw
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kirkwood, Archy
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, David
Laws, David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall–Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moore, Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morris, Rt Hon Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Price, Adam
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr John
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
Weir, Michael
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Willis, Phil
Winnick, David
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. John Heppell and
Mr. Phil Woolas.


Amess, David
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Brady, Graham
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Cameron, David
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fox, Dr Liam
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Prisk, Mark
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Ruffley, David
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (Mid–Norfolk)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Desmond Swayne and
Mr. Julian Brazier.

Question accordingly agreed to.

10 Jun 2002 : Column 694

Bill read the Third time, and passed.

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