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Mr. Sheerman: Are the hon. Gentleman's comments on the NHS a result of his personal experience of life? Does he use the NHS? I know that none of his children uses the state system of education. [Interruption.]
Mr. Yeo: It is because of my children that I know rather a lot about the NHS. They were both cancer patients in NHS hospitals and, for the most part, received excellent treatment. I have also been the chairman of a hospital that treats very sick children, so I speak on the issues with experience and, I hope, authority. The hon. Gentleman's intervention was not worthy of him. [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker: Order. Something is troubling hon. Members, but they must be quiet. The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) was in order and the hon. Member for South Suffolk (Mr. Yeo) rebutted his comments. That is the end of it.
Mr. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. When an hon. Member makes a remark about an hon. Member's family, that is in order, but when an hon. Member makes a remark about an hon. Member, that is out of order. Will you help me because I do not understand the distinction that you have drawn in your rulings?
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps hon. Members should come to the Chair from time to time and I will educate them on the rules of the House, but I am not going to do that during a debate. They must take my word for it. The
Mr. Yeo: As for bureaucracy, the Government have recruited administrators at three times the rate of doctors. There are more administrators than beds in the NHS. It is no wonder that the Secretary of State talks of cutting quangos, but has his plan been revealed to primary care trusts? Last week I was sent a cutting from The Gazette in Basingstoke. It is a half-page advertisement no less, under the banner heading of "The North Hampshire Primary Care Trust". It proclaims:
Reverting to bureaucracy, I do not wish to stigmatise the North Hampshire primary care trust. In one recent issue, my local paper, the East Anglian Daily Times, carried advertisements for posts at the Ipswich hospital that included a health and safety adviser, a waiting list co-ordinator, an information analyst, three personal assistantsone for the chief executive, one for the director of human and corporate resources, and one to be shared between the directors of finance and performance management and of strategy and service improvementand two more posts in the smoking cessation department, one an administrative assistant.
No doubt, there is useful work to be done in those posts, but is it work that hard-pressed doctors and nurses consider a priority? Is it work that will directly benefit patients? Is it work that will improve health outcomes for the people of Britain? Or is it, as many of us suspect, work the need for which arises mainly from the target culture imposed by the Minister and his colleaguesa culture that means that the national health service, after seven years of Labour meddling, has not so much been saved, as the Prime Minister promised, as been swamped by a mass of bureaucrats and red tape? Would it not benefit patients a little more if, instead of all those jobs advertised in Basingstoke, Ipswich and elsewhere for people who will have little or no contact with NHS patients, one, two or three of the posts had been for nurses?
The Queen's Speech is not just another opportunity missed by a Government who are taxing and spending and failing. It is a speech that breaks Labour's election promises, attacks university independence, threatens families in rural areas, and damages students from poorer families. I urge the House to support our amendment.
Mr. Andrew Mackay (Bracknell) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will have heard clearly in the intervention by the Secretary of State for Health that the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mike Gapes) misled the House in a serious way. Why has the hon. Gentleman slunk away and not apologised to the House for what he has done?
Mr. Mackay: You will recall that the hon. Member for Ilford, South intervened on my hon. Friend the Member for South Suffolk (Mr. Yeo) and gave a quote of some length, apparently from Hansard, that he said was from five years ago. In fact, when we were trying to clarify when it was, the Secretary of State helpfully intervened to explain that the quote was from 1988. You will realise that 1988 is much more than five years ago, so the hon. Member for Ilford, South completely misled the House. Subsequently, the hon. Gentleman consulted civil servants in the box over there and the Health Whip
Mr. Mackay: Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek clarification. Is it not normal when a serious mistake has been made, no doubt based on information given by the Whips Office, and the House has been seriously misled, that the Member who made it should come here to correct it, and it should not be left
Mr. Francis Maude (Horsham) (Con): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. You and your predecessors have often, rightly, told the House that Members have to take responsibility for what they say in this Chamber. I hope that the hon. Member for Ilford, South will do exactly that.
Mr. Speaker: Order. To bring some calmness to our proceedings, I undertake to read Hansard to find out whether there has been any breach of the rules. A point of order has been raised by the right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. Mackay) and I shall investigate the matter.
Mr. Gray: It is a separate but related point of order, Mr. Speaker. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bracknell made it plain that the hon. Member for Ilford, South had consulted the civil servants in the box. Is it in order for Back Benchers to make use of the facilities in the civil servants' box?
Mr. Allen: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. When you are studying Hansard will you also study the lengthy comments made by the hon. Member for South Suffolk (Mr. Yeo) about my right hon. Friend the Minister for Children and the personal remarks to which you, rightly, brought the House's attention at that time?