HC Deb 03 March 1969 vol 779 cc35-6W
Mr. J. E. B. Hill

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why the average weekly in-patient cost in the 15 service hospitals in this country is £85 compared with the equivalent average cost of £60–£70 per week for National Health Service teaching hospitals given in the Ministry of Health costing returns; and what steps he proposes to put the service hospitals on to a comparable cost basis.

Mr. Reynolds

The average weekly inpatient costs are higher in the case of Service hospitals for a number of reasons. Because of the high percentage of children and female and elderly patients in National Health Service hospitals food costs are much lower compared with Service hospitals where the majority of patients are young males. Some spare capacity, and staff, must also be kept in hand in Service hospitals to meet possible military contingencies. In addition, the costing of Service hospitals includes the cost of services, such as ambulances, which in the case of N.H.S. hospitals are met separately by local authorities. It is not possible to put Service hospitals on to a comparable basis with N.H.S. hospitals for costing purposes.

Mr. Alison

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give the total cost in the current year of each of the 20 service hospitals abroad; and if he will take steps to discover the average weekly in-patient costs in each hospital.

Mr. Reynolds

I regret that this information is not available. A study is at present being made of the in-patient costs of a representative hospital in certain specific areas overseas: the results of this are likely to be available later this year.