HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 cc841-2W
Bob Spink

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many operations have been purchased from the private sector in the last 12 months. [164692]

Mr. Hutton

Information relating to the number of operations purchased from the private sector in the last 12 months is not available.

The number of finished consultant episodes (FCEs) that were sub-contracted or directly commissioned from non-national health service providers by the NHS during the financial year 2002–03 was reported as 60,922. This figure includes both operative and non-operative procedures and treatments, for elective and emergency admissions to hospital.

Details of the activity can be found in Appendix SRC5 of the "Payment by Results: Core Tools 2004" publication, available on the Department's website at:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/Organisation Policy/FinanceAndPlanning/NHSReferenceCosts/fs/en

The information is also available on the CD "Payment by Results: Core Tools 2004". The CD contains unit cost information for each NHS provider in 2002–03 for designated procedures, diagnoses and treatments.

Bob Spink

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the impact of purchasing operations from the private sector on NHS waiting lists. [164694]

Mr. Hutton

The national health service has in recent years purchased surgical procedures from the independent sector under the 'Concordat' arrangement. 60,922 such procedures were purchased last year.

We recognise that the independent sector could make a greater contribution to reducing waiting times and lists for less complex diagnostic and surgical procedures, such as endoscopies, cataract treatment, hernia repairs and primary hip and knee replacements. This is why we have established the independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) programme.

Two services are already open: a cataract treatment centre at Daventry and the mobile cataract treatment service run by Netcare. Both schemes are already bringing immediate improvements to patients and cutting waiting times, but have not yet been running long enough to have a significant impact on waiting lists. When fully established, the ISTC programme will treat 250,000 patients a year from NHS waiting lists.