HL Deb 28 February 2000 vol 610 cc49-50WA
Baroness Castle of Blackburn

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What percentage of expenditure on healthcare in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands is attributable to administrative costs in each case. [HL1051]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath)

The latest available figures (1996–97) reported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development are 1½ per cent for France, 6½ per cent for Germany and 4½ per cent for the Netherlands. However, these figures are not reported on a consistent basis, so to make direct comparisons would be misleading.

Compared to other health systems in developed countries, the National Health Service is efficient with, for example, shorter lengths of stay in hospital and more intensive bed usage. Studies have also shown it enjoys relatively low administrative costs. Management costs are expected to constitute 4.7 per cent of net NHS expenditure in England for 1999–2000. This compares to some 5.5 per cent when the Government came into office. The Government are delivering on their manifesto pledge that a greater proportion of every pound spent on the NHS will go on patient care not bureaucracy.

The Government are committed to saving £1 billion from bureaucracy over the five years from 1997–98. We are on course to do so—by the end of 1999–2000 almost £0.5 billion will have been saved from administration for investment in patient care.