HC Deb 24 February 1978 vol 944 cc835-6W
Sir Bernard Braine

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many pay beds in NHS hospitals were phased out by July 1977; how many of these beds have since been used for NHS patients and how many have been left unused; how many pay beds are still in use and when these will be phased out; and what is the estimated loss to NHS revenues that has so far accrued as a consequence of the phasing out of pay beds.

Mr. Ennals

1,000 pay bed authorisations were withdrawn by July 1977 under the terms of the Health Services Act 1976.

An authorisation to admit private patients to a National Health Service hospital is not related to particular beds. Any bed in a hospital which is authorised to receive private patients may be used by a private patient according to the treatment he needs, provided that at any one time the number of such patients does not exceed the maximum number contained in the authorisation. As the same bed may be used at other times by a National Health Service patient, it is for most hospitals impracticable to identify beds which may as a result of phasing out become permanently available for use by NHS patients.

A further 356 authorisations were with drawn from 1st January 1978 in accordance with proposals made by the Health Services Board. The current number of authorisations is 3,088, and the further rate of reduction will be determined solely by the Board in accordance with the principles embodied in what are now Sections 68 to 70 of the National Health Service Act 1977.

The loss of income from private patients was not expected to exceed £1.8 million in 1977–78. Health authorities' allocations have been adjusted accordingly.