§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the reasons for the large degree of variation between regional health authorities regarding the cost of domestic services per occupied bed.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
[pursuant to his reply 1 February 1982, c. 64]: In 1979–80, the average cost of 301W domestic services per occupied bed in England was £1,062. Three regions reported costs substantially in excess of the national average. These were North-West Thames (£1,229), North-East Thames (£1,294) and South-East Thames (£1,311). It is not possible to identify precisely the reasons for these relatively high costs, but it is likely that they are influenced by two major factors, namely the effect of the London weighting allowance and the number of teaching hospitals in these regions. Domestic services unit costs in the South-Western (£854) and Yorkshire regions (£899) are considerably lower than the national average. These and other variations are probably the result of local operational policies or local variations in unit measurements. Differences in bed occupancy rates will also clearly affect the results.
My hon. Friend will also appreciate that regional figures are themselves averages concealing considerable variations among areas and individual hospitals. Operational policy and practice in this field are necessarily a matter for local determination.