Thursday 12 November, Glasgow

Thursday 5 November, London

Thursday 29 October, Birmingham

Thursday 22 October, Cardiff

Thursday 15 October, Leeds

Thursday 8 October, Bournemouth

Thursday 1 October, Manchester

Thursday 24 September, London

Thursday 24 September, London

Question Time was in London for the first programme of the new series.

Pannellists were Cabinet "enforcer" Jack Cunningham MP, Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy MP, Comedian Norman Pace, Deputy Editor of the New Statesman Christine Odone and Shadow Health Minister Anne Widdecombe MP.

And here is what viewers said in reaction to the issues they discussed.

Cutbacks in the NHS

Ambulances might not in future answer all emergency calls, it was announced this week. This sparked a debate on rationing in the NHS.

Ann Widdecombe said there was no miracle cure - like a change of government - to the ills of the NHS: "The problems are in fact very deep rooted," she said.

Charles Kennedy said: "The voters say they want more money devoted to health. But in the ballot box they are not very keen to pay tax."

You said:

As a Student Nurse I experience first hand problems within the NHS. If the NHS is the pride of Labour governments, then why is Nursing such a low paid job. So much so, that 1000s of nurses are leaving the NHS and going into private hospitals and nursing homes to work.
Mike Wilsher

The Audit Commission is misguided in its suggestion that an ambulance should not be sent when a 999 call is made - if this is done people may die and blame would have to be laid at their door.
Simon Dale

The health service should not be expected to diversify to cover all eventualities as they arise, but should concentrate on core treatments for life threatening diseases. This may be considered as a form of rationing but the converse implies a dilution of resources and general weakening of the service.

Cut backs in the ambulance service which lead to deaths are not any different than cutbacks in the health service which eventually lead to less treatment and deaths also.
Frank Daly

How is it we can waste millions on a millenium dome, while talking of rationing the health service? Should we not get our priorities right?
Ken Staples

How can Anne Widdecombe define a successful health service as one where demand outstrips supply. This is typical of the way that the Tories and New Labour treat the NHS as nothing more than a business concern and economic liability. The purpose of the NHS is to keep everyone healthy, not waiting for treatment. If it managed that, then it would be a success.
Hamish Drummond

At the end of the day the health service has been destroyed by the conservitives. By withdrawing funds greatly needed by the hospitals to run the services needed what I would like to know is what was the funding given to hospitals before the conservitves took power and what was the figure when they were kicked out (I would like to say this was one of the greatest moments of my time when I saw John Major and his merry gang lose ) Maybe now we can build a country to be envied by the world.
Eddie McGrail

My husband died because an ambulance didn't get to him in time. However, a motorcycle paramedic wouldn't have helped because he needed ventilating. He died of two collapsed lungs during an asthma attack.
Gail Lewis

Prioritising of calls aleady is widely used,especially in London. At peak times there are very often far more calls for ambulances than there are ambulances available, so a patient with a fractured skull must take priority over one with a sprained ankle!! The resources available are already not matching the demands made upon them.

As an ex-ambulanceman and now disabled myself. I appreciate the importance of prioritising emergency calls; but would like to say that from experience that it is virtually impossible to tell from the caller what one is going to come up against, due to the way we all translate our feelings. Therefore it is without doubt that by using the quickest means of transport (motorcycle probably) to the scene of an emergency assesing the situation; totally in the interest of us all, most importantly the patient.
R Dickson

I am a Labour party member and don't think I have ever agreed with Anne Widdecombe on anything before but as a health service professional I think she is right to call for a national debate on what we want from the NHS. It might then help the public that we cannot meet their needs without a rise in income tax. The outstanding success of the NHS can only continue with a specific income tax increase spent on the NHS to give the staff who work under extreme circumstances on a daily basis the confidence that the public acknowledge their contribution to maintaining healthy communities.
James Glass

How long will the Labour government be allowed to get away with the so-called 23 billion extra spend on the NHS. In real terms, year-on-year it is no more than the former Conservative governments increased spending. This is pure spin-doctoring as anyone working in the NHS will know. Anne Widdecombe has very genuine points, when not distracted by the political side-shows. Spending on health care will never be able to match demand. Rationing happens anyway. My mother died before her heart operation could take place. It is time politicians spoke the truth about 'rationing' instead of avoiding the issue completely. Unfortunately, health care, 'from cradle to grave', does not mix well with the short-term cycles of political parties wishing to gain or retain power.
Michael Bird

It is time the government admitted to rationing in the NHS. In doing so they could encourage an open debate on the subject and with it the realisation that as a nation we spend less per head on health care than any other country in Europe. The choice left to the electorate is thus to spend more in tax or alter their health care expectations and pay for certain aspects of their health care at the point of delivery.
Chris Kelly

I think there should be motorbikes and more ambulances to deal with accidents when 999 is called, because do you think the quickest average responce time is acceptable?
Carl Hersant

Ambulances, who will make the decision? I would hope it was someone with sound, proven medical judgement. Who does the team think is qualified to make such a call over the phone?
Gary Marshall

As a Student Nurse I experience first hand problems within the NHS. If the NHS is the pride of Labour governments, then why is Nursing such a low paid job. So much so, that 1000s of nurses are leaving the NHS and going into private hospitals and nursing homes to work.
Mike Willsher

The National Health should be privatised because as long as it's a public service it will waste money as it is not run in a commercial way.
Andrew Bartlett

Has anyone on the panel contemplated the possibility of viagra perhaps getting to the wrong hands, who then takes them and then goes out to rape someone if he doesn't have a partner to perform his newly found bedtime machoness.
Tony Adeloye


Moving on to Viagra and whether it should be available on the NHS....

Christina Odone said "Studies show that less than 10% of the men wanting to buy Viagra have an impotence problem."

But Norman Pace said: "Why are we talking about this pill - that seems to give pleasure and is a positive thing to people - in such a negative way?"

You said:

I was somewhat aggrieved by Christina Odone's comments on the availability of Viagara through the NHS. She showed tremendous insensitivity by assuming Viagra was only a performance enhancing drug. Impotence is a serious disorder which causes emotional and physical stress to many men... stress which can easily lead to other disorders. Just because the pill assists sexual relationships, it would appear that Ms. Odone feels that there is something just nasty about it.
Jason Kee

Viagra should NOT be available on the NHS. It should be bought privately by those who need it; just like they buy cigarettes and alcohol. Even the poorest of people seem find money for these.
Nigel Gibbs

Viagra has not yet been blacklisted by the NHS. At present it is available through GPs until such time as the NHS licensing committe meets next to make a decision. The comments made by Frank Dobson recently were taken out of context by the press and thus a media myth has been created and I add perpetuated by the Government.
Mr K Timmins

At last a drug that specifically helps men. If available on the NHS it will help rectify the disproportionate spending within the NHS on women. An imblance approaching 5:1 in favour of women at present.
Ian Hill

I think that if a part of a person's body is not working correctly then that person is entitled to treatment on the NHS. If ones ears don't work correctly then there is no problem with this. If it is a man's penis then, for some totally illogical reason, proven treatment is now denied. The NHS provide Sildenfil, the chemical used in Viagra already, at 10 per unit but refuse to supply Viagra at only, I am told 4.85 per unit.Where is the logic in this?

Alexander is annoyed that a 'disproportionate amount of money is spent on women' in the NHS. I would argue that free contraception is more a matter of public health than anything else.. which I'm sure is the matter he's referring to. Going back to Viagra.. how many heart bypass cancellations and child cancer deaths will it take for people to realise that the NHS can't afford (as much as they would like to I'm sure) to give all impotent men Viagra. However, it wouldn't be a one a day situation, so why can't men cope with paying for a few tablets to last them a while. A private prescription is not hard to come by, as my own NHS GP has prescribed privately for me in the past when it has been cheaper to do so.

Being an asthmatic I think it would be an absouute disgrace if Viagra were to be supplied free on the NHS when my potentially life saving inhalers are not!
Andrew Anderson

Andrew Anderson is right. Impotence must be distressing to those who suffer from it, as are many other conditions, but it is not life threatening. On the other hand asthma and diabetes are. Impotence is one of the possible complications of diabetes, but it is a minor complication compared to stroke, heart disease, glaucoma and neuropathy (the last leading to gangrene and amputation). The best use of resources is in prevention rather than cure: in this case that means good control of diabetes. Whilst insulin is available on prescription, much of the equipment required to deliver it to allow diabetics to live a normal active life (of economic benefit to the community) is not. Puting things like penfill injectors, microfine syringes and pre-injection swabs on prescription would be a cost-effective way of helping to reduce the incidence of impotence through better diabetic control and a better use of resources than making Viagra available.
Phillip Roberts

The Clinton tapes

On Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, the panellists shared the same view...

Charles Kennedy said: "President Clinton should not be impeached because America is in danger of destroying the institution of presidency and any residual public respect for its public institutions."

You said:

President Clinton should not be impeached, he may have done wrong, he may not have told the truth but he is human after all and as long as he carries out his job to his full ability his private life should be treated on a totally separate note. After all if WE were in his shoes we would probably tell a few white lie's if it meant protecting OUR family.
Zander Law

I do think that Clinton should not be impeached. He has been a good president and what he does in his private life is up to him. The world's obsession with this issue is almost unbelieveable. I now feel that his position has become so untenable that perhaps he should not continue due to a lack of credibility.
Andy Graves

The clinton debate missed the point that such an enquiry (inquiry) could probably only take place in America, because of the American legal system. It might have been expensive but surely one should scrutinise the most important people the most as they are the ones who can do most harm. Then since the opinion poles are likely to greatly influence the outcome of congressional proceedings to impeach or censure then the process has been democratic, if a little uncomfortable for the person being hounded. It is good to see that such a in-depth investigation on such a sticky situation can be undertaken with, to-date, reasonably sane and level-headed responses. It should make all people in power think about their behaviour especially as the "electronic world" becomes a more open place and more such revelations abound. The world is maturing slightly and "the people" are having more say.
Bill Jameson

The chorus of defence of Mr Clinton fills me with fear. It is said that the fist casualty of war is truth but the converse is also surely true. If Mr Clinton cannot be trusted in small things then he cannot be trusted in big things. His sexual behaviour may not be important on the world stage nor his lies or perjury but no Government or person can now trust him. What action, for example, can be taken against Saddam on grounds of his "untrustworthiness" now? Religious fundamentalists who call America the "Great Satan" have their strongest argument yet for saying so. If Clinton cannot or will not see the differnce betwen truth and lies and, worse, if people do not care, then that is the beginning of the end of democracy and of peace and, as sure as night follows day, wars will one day come. At the end of this war-ridden century, is that what the greatest nation on earth wishes to pass on into the new millenium? I am disappointed and fearful that your panel, which included three senior politicians, seemed unable to see that.
Philip Roberts

At the end of the day who, outside of America, really cares whether Clinton goes or stays. If he stays, the US retains a president who has the greatest power invested in one individual in our entire history. And if he goes they will merely elect another President and invest him with as much power. The American public knew Clinton's background and propensity for "dabbling" before they elected him - would they actually vote differently if Clinton was standing for office tomorrow?
Dale Russell

If Clinton is impeached then we can expect anyone suspected of a crime but for which there is insufficient evidence to convict then be asked 'Now tell us about their sex life'.
Ian Hill

Is it not the case that Bill Clinton is leaving himself open to blackmail if he is prepared to carry out acts that he knows will harm his government? Is this not a reason on its own for him being impeached. He may be open to blackmail in the future? Who knows what other skeletons are in the cupboard?
Stewart Ferguson

Bill Clinton should be impeached, he lied - this was clearly visible in his facial expressions.
David Kerindi

Clinton and his behaviour are a reflection of society he heads - each of us should look at ourselves & our corruption because we are all part of this mess.
Marc Bamber

Why is everyone so obsessed with Bill Clinton's sex life? Is it that these people have nothing better to debate? It should be remembered that people in glass houses should not throw stones. What we should be concerned about is if he lied to the people with regard to his dutyies as president. Let's keep to the point and not go off (or should I say get off) on his sex life. It's boring ! After all I understood all MPs lie from time to time?
Mike Churchill

Clinton clearly lied under oath, what is the debate about - he should do the honourable thing and resign now.
Tony Reid

President Clinton, as we well know politicians on all sides never lie!! He should not be inpeached, not unless all the politicians who have ever lied are asked to leave office too.
Mr Clarke

Let they who is without sin cast the first stone! This is a man who has done his job well, but he has made a very 'human' mistake. The US is in danger of passing itself over to the sensationalist press, those more interested in the detail to the detrement of the wider issues and those so to captain the ship, they are willing to sink it first.
Jonathan Morgan-Jones

I am an American and I feel that Clinton should be impeached. He has commited a legal offence which should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I don't believe that the Right Wing Conspiracy is relevant in this case he lied and misled the public at the cost of $40.4 million and lets not forget the loss of respect and dignity of the office that he holds. Anything less than impeachment would send the wrong message to the youth that lying is ok.
Stephanie L Church

Liberal Democrats

On the relationship between the Liberal Democrats and Labour, Charles Kennedy said:

"When we think the government is doing a good job, we say they are. That way we have more force when we disagree."

But Christine Odone said: "With their clear-cut aim of changing the voting system they (Lib Dems) have dented their enthusiasm to provide any constructive opposition."

You said:

When will any of the British political parties come to any form of agreement or will they forever oppose each other for their own ends rather than that of the needs of the country> Cynicism will be ignored. Is a PR system a step forward?
Richard Mosse

PR, Constructive opposition - who are the Liberal Democats trying to kid? I fear they are also kidding themselves. Anne Widdecombe is right - of course they are after power and influence. But be careful Lib Dems, with the arrogance of the current Labour administration, I fear the Lib Dems will end up with a "bloody nose" and will have been used by the Labour party.
Marc Bamber

Corporal punishment at home

A landmark ruling by the European Court to award a boy 10,000 for being beaten by his stepfather inspired a debate on corporal punishment.

Jack Cunningham said: "Smacking is a matter for parents..they should have the right to use reasonable methods of reprimanding their children."

But Norman Pace argued: "Any kind of physical punishment against children is the last resort of an inadequate person and parent."

You said:

Why do we still think it is our right to smack children? Especially when it's those kids who get smacked all the time that seem to be the least disciplined and bullyish at school!
Gab Crowther

Violence to children of any kind should not be tolerated and should be illegal, it perpetuates violence in our society of which there is already far too much between adults.
Andrew Bartlett

Corporal punishment is a necessary restraint within reason and common sense. One of the important things is that there should not be anger within the person giving the discipline but instead the overriding desire to the best for the child.
Marc Bamber

Normal smacking is a valuable way to teach children what is good and what is bad - they only get a normal smack for what they do wrong. This has been a method used for centuries, and indeed is used in different ways by the whole animal kingdom. Excessive smacking, or worse caning, by parents, will probably lead to the wrong reaction - but this is mainly used by parents who do not give a normal smack when the trouble starts - but who then go overboard when their apparent permission to let the children do minimal wrong, turns into something worse. A light smack at the first sign of wrong will stop it. Abuse after an hour of apparent permission to err, will bring an adverse reaction. Parents should not be afraid to teach their children what is right and what is wrong. Children should not be afraid they may get beaten with a stick by a deranged adult.
Rob Hill

I cannot understand the feeling behind the smacking debate. I worked in social care for 12 years with adults who displayed challenging behaviours due to either mental health problems or learning difficulties. I paid these adults the respect they deserved and although they attacked me at times I would never have condoned violence towards them. I am not equating these adults to children, although society generally does. My point is that violence towards others is wrong no matter what the situation. Because someone is "responsible" for another person ( whether adult or child) I feel this does not give them the right to assualt them. In adult society I believe that should you even touch another adult then they could have you charged with assualt, why is this not the case with children? I would not expect an adult to put up with an assualt so why should I expect a child to!
Nick Wild

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