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To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has made a detailed and quantified assessment of the relation between closure of national health service wards and cuts in hospital beds available for in-patient treatment and the increase of waiting lists.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
There is no simple relation between the number of beds, the number of patients treated, and the number awaiting treatment. Between March 1989 and March 1990 (the latest date for which comprehensive data are available) the number of available beds fell by 4·6 per cent., the number of patients treated per year rose by 4·4 per cent., and the number of patients waiting over one year fell by 7 per cent.