§ Richard Ottaway
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost has been of treating a patient(a) in a GP surgery and (b) through NHS Direct in the last 12 months. 
§ Mr. Lammy
NHS Direct does not treat patients. The service provides advice to callers on a range of issues including health scares, appropriate access to healthcare, health information and self care.
The average cost of a call to NHS Direct in 2001–02 was about £17.92 although this is expected to fall significantly in the future as call volumes rise. The National Audit Office have found that half of callers are directed to forms of care they would not have chosen and that this tends to be care of a lower level and cost of intervention. More than half of NHS Direct costs are saved in this way.
General practitioners provide a range of services for the treatment of patients. The latest survey estimated data available (2000–01) suggest that a general practitioner consultation costs around £14.