HC Deb 08 June 2004 vol 422 cc140-1
10. Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) (Lab)

What the latest estimate is of the cost of a hip replacement paid for by Merton and Sutton primary care trust in (a) the South West London Elective Orthopaedic centre and (b) the private sector. [177294]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Hutton)

The latest national figures indicate that the average cost incurred by the NHS in conducting a primary hip replacement operation is £4,660, and that the average cost outside the NHS is £6,848. South West London Elective Orthopaedic centre forms part of the Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, where a primary hip replacement cost £5,865 last year.

Siobhain McDonagh

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. He knows that the South West London Elective Orthopaedic centre is the largest orthopaedic centre in Europe, that the Queen opened it only three months ago and that it has the capacity to conduct 3,150 hip and knee replacements this year. Will he do everything he can to ensure that it is used to full capacity to benefit people in south-west London, and in my constituency, Mitcham and Morden, in particular?

Mr. Hutton

I can certainly give my hon. Friend that assurance. The centre currently runs with 65 per cent. occupancy, and that figure is expected to rise to 85 per cent. during the course of this year, which is a sensible way in which to build up capacity. I agree with my hon. Friend that the centre is an important new asset for the NHS. and I was present when Her Majesty the Queen opened it. It is a brilliant investment, and I am sure that it will help further to reduce waiting times for patients in my hon. Friend's constituency. Unlike the proposals from Conservative Front Benchers, the service provided by the centre is available to all NHS patients, none of whom needs to make a top-up payment or an additional payment—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I call Paul Marsden to ask Question 11.

Hon. Members

Where is he?

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