§ 3. Mr. Murphy
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aneurin Bevan. 
§ Mr. Murphy
That is surprising from a Minister who was born in Tredegar. He is aware that next year will be the centenary of the birth of Aneurin Bevan, the founder of our national health service and a great Welshman. Does he believe it would be a fitting tribute to Aneurin Bevan to rename the Neville Hall hospital in Abergavenny, which covers the old Ebbw Vale constituency, the Aneurin Bevan hospital, especially as that hospital was built with the pennies of Monmouthshire miners?
§ Mr. Evans
I am indebted to the former leader of the Labour party, Mr. Michael Foot, who many years ago gave me a biography of Aneurin Bevan, which he had written. The book revealed the deep and personal hostility of Herbert Morrison towards Bevan. It is interesting that, today, his grandson, as a Member of the House, may be behind the new disciplinary code for Labour Members that is to be adopted. It might be an interesting commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aneurin Bevan if the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith), who steadfastly follows the principles and policies of Aneurin Bevan, were to find himself deselected, as some believe may happen.
§ Sir Wyn Roberts
I am sure that the event will not go unnoticed by the media. Does my hon. Friend agree that the best commemorative contribution that the Opposition could make would be to match the pledge given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to increase funding for the NHS year by year? Might their reluctance to do so be associated with the fact that the last savage cuts to be imposed on the NHS were imposed by the last Labour Government?
§ Mr. Evans
My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. He knows that most of the years that the national health service has been in existence have been years of 655 Conservative government. The 50th anniversary of the NHS will be commemorated by the Government because we are very proud of our record on the national health service which, as my right hon. Friend says, we have added to with the pledge made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. We are still waiting for the Opposition to match that pledge.
§ Mr. Rowlands
What a cheap and silly answer the Minister gave my hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy). Would not an equally good way to commemorate the tremendous contribution that Nye Bevan made be to ensure that services in the communities that he represented, including Rhymney, were of the best? In that context, will Ministers read the Caerphilly commissioning team's report on community health services in the community of Rhymney and find how many of them are non-existent or very inadequate? Will not the best way for Ministers to commemorate the anniversary of Nye Bevan be for them to ensure that those services are brought up to the highest possible standards?
§ Mr. Wigley
As Aneurin Bevan was an architect of the welfare state, is it not outrageous that Wales should lag behind England in provision for disabled people, especially powered wheelchairs? In view of today's lobby of Parliament by disabled people, if the Welsh Office wants to be different from England in any direction, will it choose to be different by setting up a commission to ensure that disabled people have someone to fight on their behalf when they fight discrimination, and do not continue to miss out badly?
§ Mr. Evans
I am disappointed that the hon. Gentleman did not take the opportunity to welcome the coming into force today of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. That is a marked step forward. Moreover, it is one in which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State played a leading part, as has been recognised on both sides of the House. The matter to which the hon. Gentleman drew attention is under review.
§ Mr. Llew Smith
Does the Minister accept that another way of commemorating Nye's life would be to ensure that we have a health service that responds to communities such as mine in Blaenau Gwent—Nye's home? It has some of the worst health problems in England and Wales—cancers, respiratory diseases and heart disease. If the Minister agrees, will he investigate the actions of Gwent health authority, which have resulted in a cut in the number of doctors serving communities such as Cwm, near Ebbw Vale?
§ Mr. Evans
The hon. Gentleman has never wavered in his support for the principles and policies of Aneurin Bevan. I may not agree with those policies, but I readily admit that he has always taken a principled stance on them—by contrast with so many on the Benches beside 656 him. It will be very interesting to see where the new Bevan on those Benches comes from, given what we have learnt about future disciplinary action.
I share the hon. Gentleman's concern to ensure a responsive health service. That is why we have introduced the health reforms that are geared to improving patient care. Perhaps that is also why it was reported in The Observer yesterday that the Labour party is now considering changing its policy on fundholding GPs and adopting the policy that we have been implementing in recent years.
§ Mr. Morgan
May I ask our blonde and blue-eyed—if not exactly Finnish—Secretary of State and his balding brown-eyed junior Minister responsible for health in Wales—
§ Madam Speaker
Order. Personal remarks like that do nothing to enhance the quality of our debates. Never mind personalities: get on with the policies.
§ Mr. Morgan
We have passed not just the 50th anniversary of the Bill that set up the NHS; we are also within a year of the centenary of the birth of Aneurin Bevan—and of the founding of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society, whose ideas eventually led to the setting up of the NHS. Do the Secretary of State and his assistant agree that it is one of the ultimate ironies that the south Wales valleys, whose ideas gave rise to the origins of the NHS are, by common agreement, among the areas worst served by the NHS and by our social services? So, by the time the centenary of Nye Bevan comes along, would it not be a good idea to guarantee to the people of the south Wales valleys that their services will be at least equal to the best in the country?
§ Mr. Evans
That is clearly our objective. On a more personal note, I might add that my grandfather sat on the Tredegar Medical Aid Society committee. He would have been amazed to find, over the 50 years since the establishment of the NHS, that hospital admissions have increased fivefold and that the services that have developed are the envy of the world. As a supporter of the Conservative party, I am proud to know that most of the years of that success have been years of Conservative Governments.