§ Mr. Terry Davis
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many operations on National Health Service patients in the west midlands will be done in private hospitals as a result of £240,000 being paid to a 565W private health insurance company by the West Midlands regional health authority; what sort of operations will be done; who will choose the patients to be given these operations; and how they will be chosen.
§ Mr. Newton
The allocation to West Midlands regional health authority from the £25 million national waiting list fund for 1987–88 has been increased from £2.88 million to £3.12 million. This will enable the region to arrange for the treatment of additional waiting list cases, particularly through the cost-effective use of private sector hospitals. The role of the private insurance company in this imaginative project is to act as advisers to the health authorities on the options available to them from the private sector, negotiating as necessary on their behalf. The regional and district health authorities, on the advice of the doctors concerned, will then select which groups of waiting list patients are to benefit. A similar project is under way in Trent regional health authority. These projects are still at an early stage but will be closely monitored to determine the effectiveness of this approach to improving waiting time for National Health Service patients.