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Private Patients

Volume 170: debated on Friday 30 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give for each district health authority, SHA and regional health authority and England as a whole the amount written off as bad debts for private in-patients.

The information requested derived from the 1988–89 annual accounts of district health authorities in England and those of the special health authorities for the London postgraduate teaching hospitals has been placed in the Library. The 1988–89 annual accounts of the 14 regional health authorities record no amounts written off for this category of income.I should point out that we expect health authorities to take all reasonable action to collect their debts and that sums written off in a particular financial year sometimes include amounts due from earlier years.For 1988–89, the total sum written off in respect of private in-patient debts (£575,819) represented approximately 1 per cent. of the equivalent income (£62,422,151 net of sums written off) for that year, which represented a valuable resource for the health authorities concerned.