To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate she has made of the additional costs faced by the national health service resulting from the increase of fuel oil duty announced in the Budget; and if she will make it her policy to ensure that patient care is not diminished through the budget reductions necessary to meet the increased costs.(2) what is the expected cost to Staffordshire ambulance trust of the increased duty announced in the Budget on petrol and diesel fuel; and whether she expects the costs to be passed on to its client health authorities.
The effect of the increased fuel duty is expected to add less than 0·05 per cent. to health service costs, depending on other developments in the fuel market. Indeed, since the budget one petrol company has reduced its prices by 9p a gallon. Authorities are expected to manage cost pressures within existing resource allocations and obtain best value for money through current management processes.The estimated increased cost for the Staffordshire ambulance trust is £6,000. The trust will not increase prices to purchasers.