Mr. Fred Evans
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will use her powers under Section 13 of the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 to enable health authorities to pay for the treatment of National Health Service patients in private nursing homes where this is cheaper and more appropriate than hospitalisation; and if she will make a statement.
§ Dr. Owen
The powers under Section 13 are being used to continue in England and Wales the arrangements made, since 1948, for health authorities to enter into52W contracts with private voluntary hospitals or homes where these are needed to supplement their National Health Service hospital services. Contracts are not normally made with institutions run for profit. Since 1972, authorities have been asked to consider particularly the use of these arrangements for geriatric patients, the younger disabled, and patients suffering from a terminal condition. At the end of 1972 about 3,560 beds in England and Wales were occupied by National Health Service patients under such contracts. The Government intend to keep these arrangements under review in the light of developments in the reorganised National Health Service.53W