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Hospitals (Private Patients)

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 November 1950

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31.

asked the Minister of Health what are the reasons for the increases for private ward treatment in the Merseyside hospitals, where the costs have increased by 100 per cent. from July, 1948, up to September, 1950.

Partly owing to increased costs, and partly to the fact that the charge now covers full cost in all cases.

As the use of private wards must relieve the pressure on public wards, will the Minister consider the possibility of a reduction in the charges for private wards?

That would really mean that a larger number of people would be able to pay for beds at the expense of others.

Is the Minister aware that local opinion is that administrative costs are unduly high and that if he inquired into this, he might make a great deal of saving?

I will certainly make inquiries to see whether that is so in a particular instance, but a proper share of the administrative costs must be set off against the pay beds.

36.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that patients who, by reason of having to wait many months before they can be admitted to hospital, agree to go in as fee paying patients, are admitted with little delay; that this is a cause of dissatisfaction among other patients awaiting treatment; that in some instances it causes financial hardship; and if he will take steps to end this practice.

If my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of any cases known to him where admission was medically urgent and was refused, I shall be only too glad to look into them.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have sent him particulars of a case where a patient who was waiting for 11 months to go into hospital, because of the long wait became a private patient and was able to enter hospital in less than 11 days?

If the patient was not suffering from anything requiring urgent medical treatment no problem arises, but he had no right to go into hospital ahead of people in greater medical need.

But if the patient was not suffering from something requiring urgent medical attention, why could he enter the hospital as a paying patient in under 11 days?

I quite agree with my hon. Friend about that, and if he will send me particulars I will investigate the matter. I am far from satisfied with the way in which it is possible for doctors to get their private patients into hospitals.