Q10.  Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Is the Prime Minister aware that, according to the National Audit Office, between 5,000 and 20,000 people die from infections caught in NHS hospitals, and that according to the European Commission, the problem is worse in this country, and getting worse at a faster rate, than anywhere else in Europe? Will he therefore turn his attention back from the search for elusive biological threats in the middle east to the real biological warfare that is being fought and lost in dirty wards, and through unclean hands, in our under-managed and demoralised health service?
The Prime Minister: First, it is not sensible to set the serious issue that the right hon. Gentleman raises against fighting terrorism in the middle east; both issues are important, and they obviously have to be tackled in different ways. Secondly, the question of infections in hospitals is not new, and we are taking action to try to limit this. Thirdly, yes, there are hospitals in which we obviously need to make further changes and to raise standards, but I hope that he and the vast majority of people will accept?I am not sure that many Conservative Members do accept this?that on the whole, those in the health service do a fantastic job in looking after patients. The vast majority of people get excellent treatment within the national health service, and I do wish that occasionally, particularly on a day when the progress of the health service is being laid before people and is so obvious, we would congratulate it on making progress, rather than continually drawing attention to the defects.