§ Mr. Galbraith
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on the cost of the proposed Crown indemnity for doctors.
§ Mr. Mellor
The consultation paper issued by the Health Departments on 20 March, a copy of which is in the Library, noted that medical defence subscriptions had trebled between 1986 and 1988 and were continuing to rise. The NHS currently spends an estimated £30 million per year through a scheme whereby two thirds of subscription costs are re-imbursed. At present the cost of providing an NHS indemnity is expected to be comparable.
§ Mr. Wolfson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give the average cost to health authorities of employing an individual hospital doctor supplied by agencies and the salary and emolument costs of a doctor directly employed by the National Health Service.
§ Mr. Mellor
We do not have the information in the form requested. However, as an example the cost of726W directly employing a senior house officer in the National Health Service for 72 hours duty in a week is estimated at £470, whereas we have advised health authorities that the maximum they should pay an agency supplying a doctor to do this work is £774. That advice was issued by me on 25 November 1988. It pegged the maximum permissible payments to agencies to 1987–88 levels and those levels remain in force.