In his speech in the Commons last week, Dr Fox declared:

'My party does not want an entirely private system. I have had experience of such a system in the US, and I find the idea of a healthcare system that is not free at the point of use absolutely repugnant, and would not support such a system.'

'Certain conditions must be attached to any independent sector involvement. It must augment NHS provision, not seek to replace it, and it must increase the total capacity of available healthcare.'

'We want a shift from throughput to outcome, and from waiting lists to waiting times, and we want clinical priorities to replace political priorities.'