To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent action he has taken to obtain provision of additional beds in military hospitals for National Health Service patients; and if he will make a statement listing any factors which he has found to have inhibited such provision.
We have encouraged health authorities, when circulating information to general practitioners about waiting times in National Health Service hospitals, to include, as appropriate, information about waiting time for service hospitals. Some health authorities are negotiating contracts with a military hospital for treatment of waiting list cases using funds from the £25 million national waiting list fund. This is an approach we intend to develop further for projects supported from the £30 million fund for 1988–89. For most National Health Service patients treatment in a service hospital would entail considerable travel. Many patients would prefer to be treated closer to home and family. Others require preoperative tests or post-operative checks.