The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Andrew Lansley): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
The purpose of the Bill can be expressed in one sentence-to improve the health of the people of this country and the health of the poorest fastest. While the previous Government increased funding for the national health service to the European average, they did not act similarly to increase the quality of care. We spent more, but others spent better. In important areas, the NHS performs poorly compared with other countries. An expert study found that out of 19 OECD countries that were investigated, the UK had the fourth-worst death rate from conditions that are considered amenable to health care. If NHS outcomes were as good as the EU15 average, we would save 5,000 lives from cancer and 4,000 lives from stroke every year. We would also prevent 3,000 premature deaths from respiratory disease and 1,000 premature deaths from liver disease every year. This cannot go on: things have to change to protect the NHS and deliver better results for patients.”