I wish to return to two points I raised with Mr. Kelly. I would be extremely concerned if we started to measure the standard of our health care system only on the basis of the number of people on the waiting list. We do not tend to attack Ministers or to say how good they are. Everyone does his or her best. On the last occasion I asked for figures on the number of patients involved and the number of procedures carried out. While we cannot measure the standard of our health care system only by the length of the waiting list, it is interesting to note that 462,000 procedures were carried out under 12 specialities in 1994 compared to 959,000 in 1999. The number of procedures carried out in that time has more than doubled. Some 497,000 extra procedures were carried out in 1999. The public must be made aware of that. We are here to find out if we are getting value for money. Members of the public are questioning the doubling of the finance being invested in health care, but those figures show there has been a doubling of the number of procedures carried out in that period. I presume that trend will continue.
We can measure the cut in the waiting list from year to year under five headings. From 2000 to 2001, the number awaiting cardiac surgery has fallen by 61%, the number awaiting ENT treatment has fallen by 30%, the number awaiting gynaecology services has fallen by 28%, the number awaiting ophthalmology services has fallen by 8% and the number awaiting orthopaedic services has fallen by 7%. Those figures show a major decrease in the numbers on the waiting list and that is only year on year. I accept that the people who are most concerned about the position are the 26,000 awaiting treatment. While there is a sense of despair concerning the number on the waiting list, it is important to point out the percentage decrease that has occurred and that the number of procedures carried out has more than doubled in that period and is nearing one million.
Like the Chairman, I would like to thank Mr. Kelly for the information he has provided. I was concerned that the increase in funding provided for health research was not reflected in the accounts, but I note that from 1999 to 2002 the Health Research Board, HRB, was given an increase in funding of 150%. On the last occasion, I asked for an assurance that the revenue collected from the increase in the price of tobacco products would be ringfenced. Is that revenue included in that increased funding? We sold the budgetary increases on tobacco products to the public on the basis that the revenue collected would be primarily allocated to cancer research and also to general medical research. There is an increase of 164% in funding for the HRB specifically and an increase of 150% for general medical research. I welcome those increases as we must implement preventative health care measures as much as possible. Does that additional funding include revenue collected from the budgetary increases in tobacco products that was ringfenced? It was a unique decision by Revenue to allow anyone to take revenue out of, or prevent revenue going into, the coffers.
In regard to the North-South cancer research programme, how successful is North-South interaction in research and in the general running of the health service?