HC Deb 07 March 1955 vol 538 cc6-7
7. Mr. Page

asked the Minister of Health the average cost of maintenance of a general bed and a maternity bed, respectively, in National Health Service hospitals.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The average weekly cost of maintaining a patient in non-teaching general hospitals in England and Wales in 1953–54 was £15 15s. 5d.: and in non-teaching maternity hospitals £18 0s. 5d. For teaching general hospitals the costs were £25 4s. 2d. in London and £19 2s. 9d. in the provinces; and for teaching maternity hospitals £22 10s.

Mr. Page

Are not these figures very much higher than the fees paid by the regional hospital boards to private nursing homes and other institutions outside the National Health Service where there are contractual arrangements with those institutions? Will he not encourage such contractual arrangements with institutions outside the Service?

Mr. Macleod

The figures may be higher but, of course, they are not comparable. The care given in nursing homes and the range of service provided are very different from what is given in a big hospital.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen, among other things, the extraordinary variation in the cost of food per patient in different hospitals? For example, is there any reason why it should cost £3 2s. l0d. to keep a patient in food for a week at Guy's and £4 8s. in St. George's Hospital, when both are in London?

Mr. Macleod

That is one of the reasons I and my predecessors have encouraged the provision of adequate costing returns, which are now coming out, so that these comparisons can be brought out and studied.