HC Deb 06 April 1982 vol 21 cc810-1
2. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many victims of road accidents were treated in United Kingdom hospitals during the last full year for which records are available.

The Secretary of State for Social Services (Mr. Norman Fowler)

The latest figures are for 1979, when it is estimated that about 80,200 patients completed inpatient treatment in hospitals in Great Britain for injuries received in road accidents. Information for Northern Ireland is not held centrally, and figures are not collected centrally for treatment given in accident and emergency or out-patient departments.

Mr. Janner

How many people included in that awful toll were involved in accidents in which drink played a part or in which one or other driver was smoking at the wheel when the accident occurred?

Mr. Fowler

As the hon. and learned Gentleman will know, and as I know from my experience as Secretary of State for Transport, a considerable number of accidents in this country are caused by excessive drinking. That is why, for the first time in many years, the Government have introduced legislation to tackle that problem.

Mr. Greenway

Does my right hon. Friend agree that although it is tragic that hospitals are under such pressure from road accidents, they do a remarkable and at times exceptional job in caring for people who suffer such accidents, some of which are appallingly bad?

Mr. Fowler

Yes. My hon. Friend is absolutely right. He may also be interested to know that we have set up a Rayner-style scrutiny of the collection of payments by health authorities from insurance companies, which will add to the total resources of the Health Service.