HC Deb 20 April 1950 vol 474 cc309-10
3. Mr. Pickthorn

asked the Minister of Health what were the numbers and the costs of the clerical and administrative staffs of hospitals for each of the last four years.

Mr. Bevan

Figures are available for only the last two years. On 31st December, 1948, when staff was still being built up and much of the administrative work was being done by local authorities on an agency basis, the total clerical and administrative staff of hospitals was 20,933. On 31st December, 1949, when the agency arrangements had been superseded, the figure was 25,654. Corresponding figures of cost are not available, but the cost of administration in the financial year 1949–50 was estimated at £3,500,000 and in the year 1950–51 at £4,500,000.

Mr. Pickthorn

Is the right hon. Gentleman sure that no estimates, even if slightly less accurate, can be made for the two earlier years? Is it quite impossible to make any estimates for the condition of things when the Ministry took over?

Mr. Bevan

Absolutely impossible, because in the first place, voluntary hospitals had no uniform system of accounting which would throw up the various categories upon which the money was being spent.