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1997 - PMQT Written Answers 13th February 1997

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 13th February 1997.


PRIME MINISTER:

Homelessness (London)

9. Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to meet representatives of London's homeless.

The Prime Minister: I have no plans to do so. However, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing is in regular contact with the voluntary agencies which co-operate with the Government in the rough sleepers initiative. I am kept closely informed on this matter.


Engagements

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 13 February.

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 13 February.

The Prime Minister: This morning, I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.


Secretary of State for Health

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Prime Minister what responsibilities in respect of the Government's policies towards constitutional matters he has given to the Secretary of State for Health.

The Prime Minister: Ministers have collective responsibility for all the Government's policies.


NHS (Performance)

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the performance of the NHS in the United Kingdom (a) since 1979 and (b) between 1974 and 1979.

The Prime Minister: Since 1979, the Government have established a record of significant and sustained improvements to the funding and management of the national health service, to patient services and to the pay and conditions of service of professional staff. For example:

- spending on the NHS has increased by 75 per cent. in real terms. Between 1974 and 1979, in real terms spending increased by 17 per cent.

- since 1979, capital spending has increased by 66 per cent. in real terms. Between 1974 and 1979, there was real-terms cut of 28 per cent.

- the NHS is now one of the most efficient health services in the world. It treats 25 per cent. more patients per pound, at constant prices, than it did in 1979

- since 1979, the percentage of gross domestic product spent on health in the United Kingdom has risen from 4.7 per cent. to 5.8 per cent. Between 1974 and 1979, the percentage of GDP spent on health in the United Kingdom fell from 4.8 per cent to 4.7 per cent.

I regret that there was an error in my oral reply of 11 February, Official Report, column 137. The correct figure for general and acute activity between 1974 and 1979, is an increase of 7 per cent. Since 1979, general and acute patient activity has increased by 80 per cent.

- the number of doctors in England has increased by 23,000 since 1979

- the number of qualified nurses and midwives has increased by around 55,000 since 1979

- the number of dentists has increased by more than 6,000 since 1978

- doctors' and dentists' average earnings have gone up by 74 per cent. in real terms compared with 0.1 per cent. between 1974 and 1979

- nurses' average earnings have increased by 71 per cent. in real terms since 1979. Between 1974 and 1979, nurses' average earnings decreased by 3 per cent.