§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Roger Freeman)
From 1 April 1987 districts have been collecting a new range of statistical data. From this new data we are producing a set of 350 basic health service indicators. Following consultation and verification with health authorities, these will be published in July. We plan to publish the indicators for 1988–89 in January 1990.
§ Mr. Jack
My hon. Friend will know how useful such statistical returns as the performance indicators are in indentifying hard-working health authorities such as my own in Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde. He will also know that in the case of the financial returns of the Health Service it is taking some time to receive this information. Will he tell the House a little more about the steps that he is taking to achieve more timely availability of that information and to find a new set of performance indicators?
§ Mr. Freeman
After initial problems last year we are now satisfied with the timely receipt of information from districts. The provisional figures for 1987–88 for my hon. Friend's own health district demonstrate that there is a continuation of the excellent trend of treating more patients at relatively low cost. My hon. Friend is to be congratulated, as is his district health authority.
§ Mr. Freeman
As I said, we are now circulating provisional data for 1987–88 to the regions and the district health authorities so that, over the next two to three months, the data can be verified. We will publish in July, when the data are verified. In January next year—that is to say, nine months after the end of the financial year which ends this month—we will publish this year's figures.