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Nhs (Administration)

Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make it his policy to reduce the number of administrators in the National Health Service to a level below that obtaining in 1979.

Since 1979, administrative and clerical staff numbers have risen from 103,000 to 111,400 (September 1986). This reflects increases in clinical support staff, such as medical secretaries, ward clerks and the like, which increased from 22,680 to 35,589 between 1982 and 1986. Their employment has released medical and nursing staff from clerical duties to spend more time directly caring for patients.We are well aware of the need to monitor closely both numbers of administrators and management costs. This has been done for a number of years. While not seeking to impose artificial ceilings, this has nevertheless encouraged health authorities to exercise restraint in these areas. The policy has been successful over the years in maintaining management costs at less than 5 per cent. of total NHS turnover. (Turnover is defined as total revenue and capital expenditure and revenue and capital income.)