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Hospital Doctors (Pay)

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 3 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the percentage change in the pay of hospital doctors in the national health service since 1979.

Since 1979, the pay of hospital doctors has increased in real terms by 33 per cent.

Does my hon. Friend agree that that encouraging answer provides clear evidence of the Government's commitment to the national health service? What is more, does not it provide clear evidence of their readiness and ability to back their commitment with hard cash?—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If she has them, will my hon. Friend give the comparative figures for the period 1974 to 1979, when Labour was in office?

By chance, I am able to give that information for the period between 1974 and 1979—[Interruption.]

Order. In fairness to everyone, the Minister should answer one question.

I shall answer only one question, and provide the information that my hon. Friend wants. Between 1974 and 1979, the pay of hospital doctors fell by 6.4 per cent., which contrasts with a 33 per cent. increase over the years that the present Government have been in power. That is a strong indication of our belief in the professionals who work in the health service as well as of our commitment to the patients whom we are all there to serve.

Why does not the Minister tell the House about another 33 per cent. increase for last year only? I refer to the increase gained by company chairmen following a 28 per cent. increase the previous year. If it is good enough for company chairmen, bosses, and friends of the Tory party, why cannot hospital doctors, nurses and others who work in the health service receive the same kind of increase?

It is exactly that type of contribution from the hon. Gentleman that makes all those who work in the health service fear the day that Labour ever achieves power. It is precisely that type of political mischief-making that so enormously depresses the 1 million people who work in the health service. The hon. Gentleman mentioned nurses. Their pay has risen by 43 per cent. while the present Government have been in power, which contrasts with a fall of 21 per cent. when a Labour Government were responsible for the service.