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Private Health Insurance

Volume 978: debated on Tuesday 12 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what evidence he bases his assessment that private health insurance is of overall benefit to the National Health Service by conservation of resources.

I believe that private health insurance, by enabling people to receive medical care privately, relieves pressure on NHS services. This is because the patient either obtain treatment outside the NHS or uses NHS facilities on a private basis, thus bringing revenue into the service.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied that sufficient safeguards exist to prevent the National Health Service from becoming inferior to, or dependent on, private provision of health services.

Yes. Statutory safeguards already exist to control the development of large private hospitals and the extent to which facilities in NHS hospitals may be made available for the treatment of private patients. These safeguards are carried forward, with some modification, in the Health Services Bill.