HC Deb 31 July 1974 vol 878 cc411-2W
Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will give the real economic cost per week of a private patient bed in the private patient section of Charing Cross Hospital; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Owen

The cost of a private bed consists partly of the capital cost of providing the bed and partly of the revenue costs of the hospital services used in the care of the patient. Consultants fees are paid separately, direct to the consultants concerned. The present cost of a private bed in a London teaching hospital is assessed at £172.90 per week, which includes £10.50 as the notional capital cost. I have no reason to suggest that on average the revenue element in this charge fails to reflect the economic cost of the services used.

The actual capital cost of providing private beds at Charing Cross was about £30,000 per bed and assuming that this was recovered over the assumed 60-year life of a hospital, and no interest charge was taken into account, the present capital contribution of £10.50 per week would be about right.

Taking the local government practice of repaying the capital sum over 60 years with interest, a much higher capital charge of about £60 per week could be justified as the economic cost of the capital employed. On this basis it could be argued that the overall economic cost of a private bed at Charing Cross should be at least £220 per week.

I am looking at the whole question of charges for private facilities and my right hon. Friend hopes to make a statement later in the year.