§ Mr. McBride
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many private patients are using hospital beds in Welsh hospitals for which he has executive authority; what percentage this is of the total number of hospital patients using beds in Welsh hospitals for the years 1969 to 1972; and if he will issue a directive that medical need and not ability to pay shall be the yardstick governing immediate admission to Welsh hospitals.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
The number of private patients using hospital beds varies from day to day. During the years 1969–72 the numbers were 1,544, 2,004, 1,933 and 1,858, respectively representing 0.5 per cent., 0.6 per cent., 0.6 per cent. and 06 per cent. of the total number of patients. The Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 already provides that the authorisation of facilities for use by private patients shall not prevent their use by National Health Service patients needing them more urgently on medical grounds.