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Mr. Morgan : What on earth possessed the right hon. Gentleman's Department to bring wholly improper pressure on the Welsh health common services authority to award its three-year contract for the supply of artificial limbs in Wales to Intermed? Its artificial limbs may be straight, but its behaviour is so bent that two days after it was awarded the contract, which specified local manufacture at Rookwood hospital in my constituency, it said that it would move the manufacture and major repair of all artificial limbs for Wales to its central factory in Alton, Hampshire, contrary to the recommendations of the McColl committee on the supply of artificial limbs that manufacture and major repairs must always be done in the locality.
Mr. Mellor : Arrangements in Wales are a matter for the Welsh Office, not the Department of Health. Prior to our beginning this exercise, Intermed's share of the lower limb market was 75 per cent. in England, but it is now 16 per cent. I should have thought that that was a move in the direction that the hon. Gentleman wants.
12. Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Oxford East (Mr. Smith) of 6 June, Official Report, columns 97-99, what other action has been taken in response to the report of the committee of inquiry into the care and after- care of Miss Sharon Campbell, Cm 44 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : We continue to carry forward work which calls for Government action, particularly that concerned with the continuing care of patients discharged from mental illness hospitals. We will begin formal consultation on guidance on continuing care this Friday.
Mr. Atkinson : Will my hon. Friend confirm that his plans to improve health services for the mentally ill, which he announced in a detailed response to a question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad) on 13 July, take account of the findings of the Sharon Campbell inquiry and go a long way to ensuring that such a tragedy never happens again?
Mr. Freeman : The statement of the Government policy on care of the mentally ill in the community made on 13 July was widely welcomed by hon. Members and the voluntary organisations involved. The announcement by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State of additional money in 1991-92 through the Health Service to help local authorities improve the quality of social care will go a long way to addressing some of the concerns that he and the Spokes report on the care and aftercare of Miss Sharon Campbell raised.
Mr. Mellor : The new contract forms an important part of our policy of encouraging health promotion and the prevention of ill health. GPs' terms of service will make clear their role in these areas, and there will be new payments encouraging the provision of health promotion clinics, check-ups for newly registered patients and help to achieve high levels of coverage for cervical cancer screening and childhood immunisations.
Mr. Baldry : I thank my hon. and learned Friend for that reply. Does he agree that the provision for the first time of an incentive to general practitioners to run health promotion clinics will greatly improve the quality of patient care and provide GPs with the opportunity not just to react to problems as they come through their doors but to raise the quality of health of the patients on their lists?
Mr. Mellor : Yes, it is absolutely vital that the NHS becomes a service for health and not just a service for sickness. The way in which we have chosen to have a contract that is performance related will, for the first time, properly reward those who take the initiative in preventive medicine, rather than merely reward those who have been in practice for a long time, unrelated to performance.
Mr. Greenway : Can my hon. and learned Friend confirm that in terms of preventive medicine, the new contract for GPs will, for the first time, require them to visit elderly patients, that they will be paid to make those visits and that the visits will have to take place at least once a year? Will he confirm that they will be thorough visits and that the elderly people being visited will be properly looked after?
Mr. Mellor : For the first time, GPs will be paid more for having elderly patients on their lists. I find it astonishing, therefore, that the charge should be levelled at the contract that somehow it will make it more difficult for elderly patients to get treatment, when for the first time they are singled out as being patients whose care requires extra payment from the state.
The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher) : This morning I had a number of meetings. I then received General Yazov, the Soviet Defence Minister, on his first visit to the United Kingdom. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today and will be attending a special garden party to celebrate 150 years of public education. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.
Column 849to death, can I assume that that is an admission that all the fundamental policies of the Conservatives have been wrong? [Hon. Members :-- "Yes."] Is it not a fact that they have been wrong in, for instance, education, the economy, the poll tax, water and pollution? [Interruption.] It is clear that hon. Members in all parts of the House agree with me. Is the right hon. Lady now for turning, or will the developing chaos of wrong policies continue, to the detriment of the British people?
The Prime Minister : I do not think that the hon. Member can count. His side, the Labour Opposition, is constantly changing its policies, which is not surprising considering that they have had, and still have, such a rotten set. We sometimes change members of our Cabinet and Administration in order to pursue the same policies which have brought success to the British people for so long.
Mr. Michael Morris : While my right hon. Friend the new Foreign Secretary is getting his feet under the table, will my right hon. Friend contact the Indian Prime Minister and express to him the disquiet of many in the House about what is happening in India's relations with Nepal and Sri Lanka?
I saw the Prime Minister of India recently in Paris and had long talks with him. Obviously, he is taking an active part in the difficult questions that face Sri Lanka. I am sure that he will consider everything carefully in the interests of the people there, of the people of India and of his own army. I also know of the difficulty that is being encountered over Nepal and of the disquiet that it is causing in some parts of this House.
Mr. Kinnock : Will the Prime Minister be good enough to convey my congratulations to the former Foreign Secretary on his promotion? Can the Prime Minister tell us whether the appointment of the right hon. and learned Gentleman is intended to result in any changes in policy?
The Prime Minister : As usual, the right hon. Gentleman cannot have listened to previous answers before he came up with his prepared question. I made it quite clear in my previous reply that changes in the Cabinet will mean that the policies that have been so successful in Britain, and so successful in the House, will continue, because we have the right policies and they have transformed our country.
"particularly when the Government as a whole are facing a new round of problems on the home front"?
The Prime Minister : We shall deal with those problems in this Cabinet as effectively as we dealt with previous problems. I quite understand that the right hon. Gentleman is once again going on about personalities because he is not capable of asking a question on policy.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes : Will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming the Government's decision that Sikh workers on building sites no longer have to wear hard hats? Does she agree that this will be welcomed by many ordinary Sikh people, who will be able to go about their
Column 850business and do their jobs, and that this demonstrates the Government's understanding attitude to towards ethnic minority British people?
The Prime Minister : I know that this decision will be welcome to the Sikh community. My hon. Friend will also be aware that employers will be relieved of any compensation that might come about because Sikhs are not wearing hats but, in general, I believe this will be welcome to the Sikh community.
Dr. Owen : While we welcome the new Foreign Secretary, may we have a pledge from the Prime Minister that she does not intend to interfere incessantly, and that, if he wishes to make a statement to the House on society, whether British or foreign, she will not cross it out?
The Prime Minister : I have great confidence in the present Foreign Secretary, as I had in the previous one. I notice that the present Foreign Secretary has taken over after quite a prolonged period of office in Cabinet, unlike the right hon. Gentleman before he was made Foreign Secretary.
Mr. Cormack : Will my right hon. Friend turn her attention later today to the problem of London's traffic? Does she agree that, whether there is a strike or not, London is grinding to a halt, and that we need to consider such solutions as banning deliveries during certain hours and banning cars that contain fewer than a certain number of passengers? Does she agree that unless drastic solutions are found London will grind to a halt?
The Prime Minister : I am aware that my hon. Friend is concerned, and that he will be more concerned at another totally unnecessary strike tomorrow because the National Union of Railwaymen did not accept the result of an independent arbitration. I know that increased prosperity, and the increased number of cars, brings increased traffic problems. This is a traffic problem and my right hon. Friend the new Transport Secretary will be looking at that, among other things.
Mr. Wareing : Having carried out a reshuffle of her Cabinet of doormats, is the Prime Minister aware that the British people do not appreciate the Right-wing extremism of the Government's policies, nor do they trust her to handle the National Health Service now that it has been revealed that so many local health authorities are having their budgets cut? Does the Prime Minister realise that the day that millions of people in this country yearn for is the day when they see the back of her?
The Prime Minister : No. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the policies followed by the Government have brought a higher standard of living to this country than has ever been known and a higher standard of social services than could ever have been provided by previous Governments. I do not think that the people wish to return to the awful standard of living, awful health services and the terrible domination by the trade unions that were the characteristics of previous Labour Governments. Cheer
Column 851up--I notice that even the Labour party is trying to move Right because it thinks that those policies are more popular.
Mr. Greg Knight : Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the average law-abiding football fan has nothing to fear from the passage into law of the Government's Football Spectators Bill? Will not the only type of person placed in difficulty be the hooligan, the person who regularly exhibits bouts of threatening behaviour such as swearing in public, perhaps to a radio interviewer, or causing fights in the streets, say, outside an Indian restaurant?
The Prime Minister : I agree with my hon. Friend. The Football Spectators Bill will give us extra defences against hooligans and extra powers to get better grounds. I agree that the law-abiding spectator will welcome it. The legislation also gives us a basis on which to bring into law any proposals resulting from the Hillsborough report without having to wait a further year.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : On Mr. Tiny Rowland's campaign in The Observer on Tornado, the House of Fraser and other matters, did the Prime Minister ever meet the Sultan of Brunei and discuss the takeover of the House of Fraser? Is it true that the report by the independent directors of The Observer into that newspaper was a whitewash in so far as it believed Mr. Rowland when he said that he did not have links with Dassault, while at the same time Lonrho employees were busily briefing Fleet street, especially Jon Craig of the Sunday Times, saying that there were commercial links between Lonrho and Dassault? Is it not about time that Mr. Rowland divested himself of control of The Observer?
The Prime Minister : I have no information on the hon. Gentleman's last point, but I am aware that the hon. Gentleman has tabled a number of early-day motions on this point. It would not be right for the Government to make any comment while the investigations concerning the House of Fraser continue. I meet the Sultan of Brunei from time to time to discuss matters of state. He is a very good friend of Britain.
Mr. Bellingham : Is my right hon. Friend aware that the majority of east coast ports are now working normally? Is she aware also that unemployment in King's Lynn has come down from a high of more than 15 per cent. to under 5 per cent. and that with a new, reinvigorated port unemployment should disappear altogether?
The Prime Minister : Dock workers are steadily returning to the ports. I think that they realise that there is no point in a strike. They are more keen to build a future for the ports in which they work and for the industries in the hinterland of those ports. The passing of the Dock Work Act was a good decision for the future prosperity of my hon. Friend's area and for all those in the hinterland of those ports.
Mr. Skinner : Does the Prime Minister agree that as she has not sacked or moved the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Home Secretary or the Secretary of State for Wales, they must have been the most successful members of the Cabinet? Will she confirm that she has moved the Secretary of State for the Environment, who did not have the presentational skills to sell the poll tax? That being so, against the background of a massive trade deficit, how will he sell our goods abroad?
The Prime Minister : I think that the hon. Gentleman must be very satisfied with the overwhelming majority of policies that are being pursued by this Government and bringing such prosperity to this country. With regard to the community charge, I understand that many Opposition Members wish to have high expenditure but do not wish to contribute to it. That is totally and utterly wrong. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the community charge will contribute to only 25 per cent. of local authority expenditure in England, only 18 per cent. of local authority expenditure in Wales and only 14 per cent. of local authority expenditure in Scotland. It will be a much, much fairer charge than any previous charge, and I note that the Labour party has abandoned its latest policy because it is absolutely rotten.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths, supported by Mr. Gareth Wardell, Mr. Tony Lloyd, Mr. Michael Latham, Sir Hal Miller, Mr. Tom Cox and Mr. Roy Hughes, presented a Bill to require the Department of Transport to establish a register of the mileage of each motor vehicle whenever ownership is recorded or transferred, and on every occasion that the vehicle is licensed ; and to require the owner of the vehicle to supply this information : And the same was read the First time ; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 20 October and to be printed. [Bill 195.]
Mr. Nigel Griffiths, supported by Mr. Roger King, Mr. Tom Cox, Mr. Gareth Wardell, Mr. Tony Lloyd and Mr. Roy Hughes, presented a Bill to seek to control the activities of motor dealers and in particular to ensure the protection of consumers in respect of roadworthiness and a description of motor vehicles : And the same was read the First time ; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 20 October and to be printed. [Bill 196.]
Mr. Nigel Griffiths, supported by Sir Philip Goodhart, Mrs. Rosie Barnes, Mr. John Home Robertson, Mr. Roland Boyes and Mr. Tony Lloyd, presented a Bill to make provision for police officers to conduct random breath tests on drivers to deter drinking and driving : And the same was read the First time ; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 20 October. [Bill 197.]
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