HC Deb 07 November 1988 vol 140 cc67-8W
Mr. Galbraith

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will give for each district health authority the number of non-resident, non-emergency patients who have failed to pay for their treatment in each year since 1980, showing the total cost to the National Health Service;

(2) if he will give for each health authority for each year since 1980 (a) the total cost of treating non-resident, non-emergency patients and (b) the amount paid by non-resident, non-emergency patients.

Mr. Mellor

Under the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations, patients not ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom have to pay for hospital treatment unless they are specifically exempted. One exemption applies to treatment in a hospital accident and emergency department. We do not collect the precise information requested, but the table sets out such information, for England, as is derivable from the health authority annual accounts about income and bad debts relating to overseas visitors who are liable to pay.

Income from overseas visitors (under section 121 of the NHS Act 1977)
1982–83 381
1983–84 1,598
1984–85 1,810
1985–86 2,2276
1986–87 1,809

Bad debts and claims abandoned (ie amounts written off) section 121 of the NHS Act 1977
Number of cases £000
1985–86 445 168
1986–87 607 343

Notes to the table:

1. Charges under section 121 of the Act did not come into force until 1 October 1982 and separate write-off figures were not collected prior to 1985–86.

2. The income figures are shown net of any sums written off in the relevant year (including those due from earlier years).

3. Comparable figures for 1987–88 are not as yet available.

4. The table relates only to NHS charged patients and excludes overseas visitors treated as private patients.

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