§ Colonel Beamish
asked the Minister of Health the average period of a patient's stay in hospital in England and Wales in each full year since the National Health 131W Service began; the approximate average cost of a 24-hour stay in hospital in each of these years; what would have been the total extra cost to the taxpayer had the average time of all patients in hospital in the last year for which figures are available been the same as for the first year; and to what main factors he attributes the large saving to the taxpayers resulting from the rise in the rate of bed turnover.
§ Mr. R. Thompson
I am afraid that length of stay and cost per bed varies so widely between different kinds of treat132W ment that overall average figures would be misleading. The improvement in the use of beds which my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind can, however, be roughly expressed by saying that in 1956, 27 per cent. more patients had their treatment terminated than in 1949, although the increase in available beds was only 6 per cent. A variety of different measures have contributed to this improvement and a number of these are described in a memorandum sent to hospital authorities in 1954, of which I am sending my hon. and gallant Friend a copy.