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Armed Forces (Health Care)

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been paid to non-NHS health providers in (a) the UK, (b) Germany and (c) elsewhere for the treatment of (i) members of HM armed forces and (ii) their families in each of the past five years. [118799]

[holding answer 12 June 2003]: Payments to private healthcare providers in the United Kingdom in respect of treatment of Service personnel totalled £0.769 million in 2000–01, £4.095 million in 2001–02 and £3.326 million in 2002–03 These costs relate to centrally run treatment initiatives and single Service schemes. No expenditure on private healthcare providers has been recorded centrally prior to 2000–01. Medical care for dependents of Service personnel in the UK is the responsibility of the NHS.Healthcare in Germany is provided by the British Forces Germany Health Service (BFGHS), a consortium comprising the Ministry of Defence, Guys and St Thomas' Healthcare Trust (GST) and the Soldiers' Sailors, and Airmen's Families Association (SSAFA). Secondary healthcare is mainly provided by 5 Designated German Provider (DGP) hospitals under contracts managed by GST on behalf of the BFGHS for all Service and MOD UK-based civil servants and their families. Total Payments to GST, SSAFA and to non-DGP hospitals in each of the last five years were as follows:

Year£ million
1998–9934.180
1999–200035.945
2000–0132.498
2001–0232.498
2002–0334.687

The figures include the contract cost of primary and community care for Service and civilian personnel and entitled dependants. The figures exclude the cost of primary care for RAF personnel and their dependants prior to 2001–02 as this was provided separately by the RAF. It is not possible to identify separately costs incurred in respect of Service personnel and their dependents.

Details of payments to non-NHS healthcare providers elsewhere in the world are only available in respect of Cyprus and Gibraltar. Figures are not available for other locations, as they would only be recorded at unit level and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Figures for Cyprus and Gibraltar are shown as follows:

Year

£ million

1998–990.348
1999–20000.494
2000–010.174
2001–020.119
2002–030.129

The figures cover the cost of all treatment provided outside of the service hospitals at these locations, for Service personnel, MOD UK-based civil servants and their dependants, it is not possible to identify separately costs incurred in respect of Service personnel, their dependents and other entitled personnel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces have undergone treatment on the NHS in each of the last five years to ensure that they are able to be fully deployed. [118801]

[holding answer 12 June 2003]: Records are only maintained centrally of the numbers of Service personnel treated by NHS hospital trusts which host the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) and the MOD Hospital Units (MDHUs). Information on the numbers of Service personnel treated elsewhere in the NHS could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.The table shows the number of Service patients treated in the NHS trusts which host the RCDM and MDHUs in the five years 1998–99 to 2002–03. The figures represent all treatment provided as it is not possible, without disproportionate cost, to identify separately treatment which enabled Service personnel to become fully deploy able.

In-patient and day casesOut-patients
1998–995,75914,663
1999–20005,49712,183
2000–016,72315,019
2001–029,00521,372
2002–037,77219,076

Notes:

  • 1. Out-patient figures for 1999–2000 exclude MDHU Derriford due to problems with the hospital trust's patient administration system.
  • 2. Figures include MDHU Northallerton from 1999–2000, the year it was established.
  • 3. Figures from 2000–01 include the Royal Surrey County Hospital, which provides oromaxillofacial treatment under a separate SLA with MOD on similar terms to the MDHU SLAs.
  • 4. Figures include the RCDM and MDHU Portsmouth from 2001–02, the year they were established.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he has taken to enable members of the armed forces to receive priority treatment in the NHS. [118802]

    [holding answer 12 June 2003]: Service personnel are entitled to the full use of NHS hospitals on the same basis as other United Kingdom citizens if appropriate military provision is not available. They will therefore benefit from the sustained investment through the NHS Plan which will reduce waiting times. Provision for accelerated diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to return Service personnel back to fitness faster than would otherwise be the case is available through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with NHS Trusts that host the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) in Birmingham and Ministry of Defence Hospital Units (MDHUs). These SLAs also include provision for fast-track out-patient appointments if Service personnel are needed for immediate operational deployment. In addition, in 2003–04, up to £8 million for accelerated diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation is available for use in the NHS or, as appropriate, with private healthcare providers. A pilot scheme for fast-tracking orthopaedic cases is currently being run at MDHU Northallerton. Finally, the joint MOD/ Department of Health Reception Arrangements for Military Patients (RAMP) ensure that in times of conflict casualties are returned to the UK and receive the care that they need in NHS hospitals.