§ Mr. Dan Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he has taken to implement Section 3 of and Schedule 2 to the Health Services Act 1976, relating to the phasing out of pay beds; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ennals
My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and I have issud revised authorisations under Section 1(1) of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 giving effect to the 1,000 reductions in pay bed authorisations prescribed in Schedule 2 of the Health Services Act 1976. The effect on the present distribution of pay bed authorisations, summarised regionally, will be as follows:
of all such group authorisations that the daily occupancy of authorised pay beds by paying patients shall not exceed at any one time the authorised 241W number of pay beds for the group as a whole; subject to this overriding condition a hospital covered by a group authorisation may admit paying patients at any one time up to the limit authorised for the hospital concerned. In most instances the limit for an individual hospital is identical to the number of pay beds it was authorised to provide when the Health Services Bill received Royal Assent. In eight instances we have approved modifications proposed by health authorities where these reflect more fairly than the former authorisations the present distribution of acute facilities. We are satisfied that these group authorisations will make it easier for the Health Srvices Board to recommend the progressive withdrawal of remaining pay bed authorisations. A list of the revised authorisations as they affect individual hospitals has been placed in the Library.
Admissions of paying patients are generally low in relation to the number of authorisations, so that the present reduction in authorisations is not likely to have any immediate widespread effect. Where, however, the reductions lead to an actual decrease in the number of private patients admitted to National Health Service hospitals resources will be released for general National Health Service use. It will be for health authorities, whose allocations have been compensated for the estimated loss of income, to consider the use to which such resources are put according to local circumstances.