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Private Patients (Bad Debts)

Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the bad debts incurred by private patients in national health service hospitals in each of the last five years in each of the four Thames regional health authorities;(2) why there is no way of identifying the volume of bad debts owed by private patients to the 13 London teaching hospitals.

It is for health authorities to decide when an outstanding debt becomes a bad debt and should be written off. The only information returned to the Department on debts written off is contained in the statement of losses each health authority submits along with its annual accounts. These statements do not contain information relating to individual hospitals, nor are the figures of debts written off divided in a way which enables the identification of amounts written off in respect of private patients.

Such detail could only be obtained by a special inquiry of the health authorities concerned.