HC Deb 09 December 1976 vol 922 cc347-8W
Mr. Budgen

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many officials in his Department are now engaged in investigating frauds upon the system of social security in the West Midlands; and what plans he has for changes in their numbers.

Mr. Orme

The organisation of fraud work varies according to local circumstances. The situation now in the West Midlands is that there is a central team of 44 staff, and in addition there is a varying amount of staff time, which cannot be quantified quickly or precisely, devoted locally to fraud work. Current consideration of fraud arrangements includes studies of where fraud risks are greatest and the allocation of staff to meet those risks.

Year Average occupied beds New out-patients Total out-patient attendance New physiotherapy patients Total X-ray units
1971 24.0 1,824 3,532 1,066 8,971
1972 22.8 2,173 4,353 1,176 9,119
1973 19.4 2,343 4,375 1,081 46,831*
1974 20.1 1,990 3,991 646 49,641
1975 20.4 1,551 3,441 1,060 47,609
* From 1st January 1973 a revised system of work measurement was implemented based on time taken for different types of X-ray treatment.

Mr. John Page

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing separately per bed occupied daily per our-patient, per X-ray treatment and per physiotherapy treatment, respectively, at 1976 prices the average for (a) medical and nursing costs, including a share of consultants' and other specialists' time, (b) administrative and non-medical costs, (c) the capital amortisation or loan charges on existing accommodation and facilities and (d) the cost of capital amortisation or loan charges on new accommodation or facilities for the provision of approximately 30 beds and the necessary additional X-ray physiotherapy facilities at the Northwood and Pinner War Memorial Hospital and the Northwick Park Hospital.

Mr. Budgen

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many cases of suspected fraud on the system of social security in the West Midlands in 1975 were reported by his officials to the police.

Mr. Orme

Most cases in which social security fraud is suspected are investigated by officers of my Department and the Department of Employment; but in 1975 the number of cases in this region referred to the police for investigation was 1,476. This figure includes cases involving unemployment benefit referred to the police by the Midlands Region of the Department of Employment which covers a wider area than the West Midlands Region of my Department.