§ Mr. Cummings
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much is owing to the Durham, Sunderland and Hartlepool health authorities from private patients; and how much debt has been written off over the last five years.
§ Mr. Freeman
The annual accounts for the four-year period 1985–86 to 1988–89 (inclusive) of the Hartlepool, Durham and Sunderland health authorities record sums written off in respect of private patients' debts totalling £2,493, £334 and £1,852 respectively. The amounts written off in each year (which may include sums due for earlier years) were in general significantly less than 1 per cent. of the relevant annual income. Prior to 1985–86 the annual accounts of health authorities did not provide for the separate identification of these sums.
Information on the total amounts due to health authorities from private patients is not specifically identified in their annual accounts or otherwise collected centrally. For the health authorities concerned, I would refer the hon. Member to the chairman of the Northern regional health authority who may be able to assist.