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National Health Service

Volume 21: debated on Monday 5 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures of real output are employed by him to measure the level of Health Service provision; how these have moved over the last three years; and how they are assumed to move in the estimates for the public expenditure survey period 1982–83 to 1984–85.

Information about the output of the health services, measured by a number of indicators, is collected and published annually in "Scottish Health Service Statistics". Such indicators include discharges; bed days; mean length of stay; out-patient attendances; and the case load of community nurses. The Government's broad objectives for output in the future are to be found in the report "Scottish Health Authorities Priorities for the Eighties", published by my Department in 1980.Forecasts of expenditure on the Health Service are based on the level of current provision, on the Government's assumption about pay and price inflation in the forward years, and on such provision for development as the Government thinks it appropriate to make. Forecasts are not related to assumptions about movement in particular output measures, although account is taken of expected change in demand caused by demographic factors and by developments in techniques of treatment.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what levels of (a) nursing staff, (b) other medical staff and (c) ancillary staff have been assumed in drawing up the estimates of public spending on the Health Service in Scotland for the period 1982–83 to 1984–85.

Forecasts of NHS expenditure are based on current provision, increased to take account of the Government's assumptions about pay and price inflation in succeeding years and on such provision for development as the Government think it appropriate to make. It will continue to be for health authorities to make their individual assessments of the staff they will require to provide from their annual expenediture allocations.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what targets of number of hospital beds per 1,000 population in Scotland have been assumed in the estimates of public expenditure for the period 1982–83 to 1984–85; and what were the figures for the previous three years.

Forecasts of planned expenditure provision for the Health Service are not determined by reference to a given ratio of hospital beds to population. It is for health authorities to determine how best to meet the health care needs of their communities from within their annual financial allocations.