To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if it is intended that the present review of the National Health Service will consider charges for National Health Service patients receiving treatment in hospitals.
The review will be wide ranging and fundamental, and concerned with the development of the Health Service to meet the country's needs over many years to come. We do not intend to begin the review by ruling out any proposals for reform. Each will be considered on its merits and, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in her reply to the hon. Member on 28 January, at column 313, the Government will consider carefully any submissions put to them.So far as hospital charges are concerned, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister reiterated on 28 January, at columns
477–78, that the Government will not introduce board and lodging charges for National Health Service patients during the lifetime of this Parliament.