§ Mr. Gray
To ask the Secretary of State for Health1292W (1) what his reasons are for the extent of the proposed increase in threshold for the upper limit that can be charged to insurance companies for the costs of health care for people injured in road accidents; 
(2) for what reasons he withdrew the regulations to increase the threshold for the upper limit that can be charged to insurance companies for the costs of health care for people injured in road accidents; 
(3) how many hospital charges exceeded £30,000 in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 14 March 2002]Regulations were introduced on 28 January 2002 that increased the tariff and ceiling of charges for the recovery of National Health Services costs following road traffic accidents. The tariff was increased from a flat rate of £354 to £402 for treatment without admission and from a daily rate of £435 to £494 for treatment with admission. The ceiling of charges in any one case was increased from £10,000 to £30,000. The regulations were revoked on 7 February 2002 following representations from and on behalf of the insurance industry that they were not given adequate warning of the intended increases.
The increase in the ceiling of charges in any one case was proposed in the light of operational experience. Although the new scheme was intended to recover the full cost of treatment in the relevant cases a threshold had always existed but had failed to keep pace with the rising cost of medical treatment. Our data for the year from 1 February 2001 to 31 January 2002 show that 1,237 patients received treatment following a road traffic accident which cost in excess of £10,000 with 248 of these costing in excess of £30,000.
We will shortly be consulting on revised proposals for increasing the tariff and ceiling of charges.