HC Deb 20 July 1979 vol 970 cc887-8W
Dr. Roger Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish figures to show how Great Britain compares with other members of the EEC in the proportion of the gross national product spent on the provision of private health services.

Dr. Vaughan

Expenditure on health care, whether public or private, is not recorded on a strictly comparable basis in the national accounts of all countries, and health care systems differ widely. There are therefore serious difficulties in making meaningful comparisons between countries.

The best available figures are those published recently by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, giving expenditure on health care provision at current market prices in 1974 or near date. From these figures it is possible to extract the following estimates of expenditure on privately-financed health care as a percentage of " trend " gross domestic product—that is, GDP adjusted to avoid the distorting influences of short-term business fluctuations. The figures are for current expenditure only, and refer to all expenditure on health services which is ultimately financed by individuals, whether through private insurance, payments of charges, or direct purchase of medical services and supplies, such as—in this country—pharmaceuticals bought without prescription.

In many European countries, health care provided in private hospitals and clinics is ultimately financed either partially or wholly by the State through insurance schemes; this expenditure is not included.

Country Private health expenditure as percentage of " trend" Country GDP, 1974 or near date
Belgium 0.8
Denmark n.a.
France 1.6
Germany 1.5
Ireland (1975) 0.8
Italy 0.8
Luxembourgn n.a.
Netherlands (1972) 2.2
United Kingdom (1975) 0.6
n.a.—not available.

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