Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Queen's Speech debate: Education and health

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Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner has launched a passionate defence of the NHS, drawing on his own experiences of heart surgery and treatment for cancer.

During continued debate in the Commons on the contents of the Queen's Speech on 19 November, the MP for Bolsover praised the organisation and said it was often only when people went through life-changing circumstances they appreciated its value and life-saving expertise.

He underwent a double heart bypass operation in 2003, which led him to admire the ethos and teamwork among nurses and doctors.

Former miner Mr Skinner praised the ethos he saw during his heart surgery in 2003 as "almost like being back in the pit".

"When you are in that intensive care place and you see the wonderful teamwork... it's like going back to those days when teamwork was absolutely essential - working down a coal mine.

"That is why we should all treasure the NHS."

A full day's debate in the Commons was devoted to the implications of the government's legislative programme on education and health policy.

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