HC Deb 24 March 1971 vol 814 c530
36. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will move to appoint a Select Committee for the National Health Service.

Mr. William Whitelaw

I do not contemplate doing so at the present time.

Mr. Pavitt

Would the Lord President reconsider that? Is he aware that we spend on the National Health Service £2,000 million a year and that it affects general practice, hospitals, nurses, and many others, and that there is not often on the Floor of the House opportunity to discuss this service? Does he not agree that it deserves priority for detailed study and examination by Parliament so that we can know best what action to take and when, and to that end would he reconsider his answer, and seek to move quickly for the establishment of a Select Committee on the National Health Service?

Mr. Whitelaw

I certainly recognise the importance of all that the hon. Member says, but in the Green Paper which I published last November I set out proposals for Select Committees at the present time. I think the hon. Gentleman will probably appreciate that the Employment and Social Services Sub-Committee of the Expenditure Committee can certainly examine the National Health Service from the expenditure point of view. I would like to proceed in that way at the present time, but I do not rule out the sort of Committee which the hon. Member suggests in the long term. But not, I think, at the present time.