HC Deb 19 March 1953 vol 513 cc204-5
37. Mr. G. Longden

asked the Minister of Health if he is satisfied that the rapidly increasing cost of the county ambulance brigade and the hospital car service is solely due to their meeting the essential needs of patients; and what action he is taking.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

My right hon. Friend is not aware of any general misuse of the ambulance service but I think there may well be room for more economies. My Department has issued rules for the proper use of the service and instituted an annual costing return, A pilot fact-finding inquiry is also about to be undertaken in two areas.

Mr. Longden

Is my hon. Friend aware that in the county of Hertford alone the calls on the ambulance brigade last year were four times greater than they were in 1948-49, and that is excluding the hospital car service?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

One of the Teasons the inquiry is being made is so that we can be sure that the methods and figures tally in the returns of the various areas. If I might give my hon. Friend an example, in some areas where an ambulance takes a patient to hospital and another one brings him back, it counts as two patients carried; whereas if the same ambulance waits and brings him back, it counts as one patient.