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Nhs (Administrative Costs)

Volume 129: debated on Wednesday 9 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the proportion of administrative costs within the National Health Service as a proportion of current costs in (a) 1978, (b) 1979 and (c) the latest available year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total cost of the administration of the National Health Service in each of the last seven years; if he will express this as a percentage of the total annual cost of the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 14 January 1988]: Following is information, covering both hospital and community health services and family practitioner services, derived from annual accounts submitted to the Department:

National health service—headquarters administration
Expenditure on headquarters administrationAs a proportion of total current expenditureAs a proportion of total expenditure (current & capital)
£'000Per cent.Per cent.
Estimated gross current expenditure per head of population (England)
£ (cash)
All age groupsBirths0 to 45 to 1516 to 6465 to 7475+
Personal social services


Annual financial accounts of:—

(i) regional and district health authorities and the special health authorities for the London postgraduate teaching hospitals. (Predecessor authorities for the years prior to 1982–83.)

(ii) family practitioners committees.

(iii) the Dental Estimates Board and the Prescription Pricing Authority.


1. Expenditure on headquarters administration includes all current expenditure on the pay and pay related costs of staff of all disciplines (including general managers) employed at headquarters levels and their office costs and overheads. It excludes the cost of clerical and secretarial support staff employed in departments at hospital and unit levels: such costs are regarded as operational.

2. The table includes the total expenses of the Dental Estimates board and the Prescription Pricing Authority which are regarded as wholly administrative. Expenditure by other bodies and special health authorities providing central services to the National Health Service (eg. the Central Blood Laboratories Authority) and expenditure met centrally by the Department is excluded.