HC Deb 07 February 1977 vol 925 cc574-5W
Mr. Cormack

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the estimated annual revenue if all hospital patients, other than those currently exempted from health service charges, were charged £1 per day accommodation fee.

Mr. Moyle

The estimated gross annual revenue, less deductions already made from social security benefits, from a hospital accommodation fee of £1 per day to patients in England would be about £25 million, assuming exemptions were made for children; men and women who had qualified for retirement pensions; maternity and long-stay psychiatric cases. The actual saving to public expenditure if such a charge were to be introduced would be considerably less, as other groups of patients—e.g., those receiving supplementary benefits—would need to be exempted. There would also be considerable administrative costs.

Taxing the sick would be unacceptable to the Government, who remain committed to the ultimate objective that the health service should be free at the point of need.