HC Deb 26 January 1993 vol 217 cc866-7
11. Mr. Chisholm

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the total hospital administration costs in the financial years 1990–91 and 1991–92.

Mr. Sackville

In 1990–91 expenditure on administration specifically in hospitals in England totalled £454 million. A strictly comparable figure for 1991–92 is not available, as information is now collected on a provider unit basis, which includes functions previously performed at district level. However, it is clear that the cost of administration has increased: the national health service needs better management and administration to ensure the success of the NHS reforms for the ultimate benefit of patients.

Mr. Chisholm

I am quite surprised at that answer, because comparable figures for Scotland were given a few weeks ago, and indicated a 75 per cent. increase in hospital administration costs. Is it not likely to be far worse in England, given the greater number of trusts? Is that not borne out by an answer in Hansard on 23 November, which indicated that the health reforms so far had cost £1.179 billion? Will it not get worse as we have more and more GP fund holders and more and more trusts, especially as so many senior managers in trusts are paying themselves grotesquely large salaries?

Mr. Sackville

The success of the reforms is clear from the activity figures, which show more patients being treated quicker and better. That takes first-class management and investment in information technology. The hon. Gentleman should visit his local hospitals, talk to doctors and management and see how they are using that information technology for the benefit of patients.

Mr. Nicholls

Does the Minister agree that those hospital administration charges are only part of a budget which makes it possible to spend £100 million a day on the national health service? Will he remind Labour Members of the promise they made at the last election to spend an extra £1 billion and the fact that that would have represented only 10 days' running costs? That puts the matter in perspective.

Mr. Sackville

An organisation that seeks to spend £100 million a day on health care must be properly managed. We are moving from a system under which nothing was costed to a system under which everything is costed precisely, for the better management of health care for patients.