Pay Beds (Review)

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Percy Grieve Mr Percy Grieve , Solihull 12:00 am, 6th November 1967

asked the Minister of Health how many pay beds are available in hospitals in England and Wales on 1st November, 1966, how many are now available and how many it is anticipated will be available on 1st January next; and if he will make a statement with regard to his policy in this matter.

Photo of Dr John Dunwoody Dr John Dunwoody , Falmouth and Camborne

asked the Minister of Health if he has completed his review of pay beds; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

I regret that the numbers of pay beds available on a given day are not know centrally. I have however, completed my review of pay beds, which was designed to avoid wastage of beds and make better use of them for National Health Service patients. I have informed hospital boards of my decisions. The number of pay beds before the review was 5,764. The number now authorised is 4,379 which should meet the present demand for such beds.

I will, with permission, circulate the figures for each region in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr Percy Grieve Mr Percy Grieve , Solihull

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this drastic reduction has been carried out against the opposition of the medical profession? Is it part of a concerted policy against pay beds in hospitals? Does he realise that, if he continues to conduct this campaign against private medicine, he will drive yet more doctors out of the country?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

I have made it clear to the medical profession throughout, and I have kept it informed of the purpose and progress of the review, that the object is not to withdraw facilities for private practice but to bring about a situation in which pressure on pay beds more nearly equals the pressure on nonpaying beds.

Photo of Dr John Dunwoody Dr John Dunwoody , Falmouth and Camborne

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his reply means that the use of very much more single bed accommodation is now being determined by medical and social reasons rather than by pure commercial ones? Can he assure the House that this tendency will continue in the years ahead?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

I hope and believe that that will be the case and it represents my policy on the matter.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lewis Mr Kenneth Lewis , Rutland and Stamford

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, if he were to reduce the price of pay beds instead of increasing it as he has done, more people would be anxious to use those beds? Instead, they are in the millionaire class.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

The weekly cost of pay beds is determined by Statutory Instrument in accordance with formulae introduced by my predecessors form the party opposite.

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

Is my right hon. Friend aware that he is to be congratulated on his statement, especially since we have a waiting list of about 500,000 people for hospital beds? Will he look again to see whether he could not reduce the number of pay beds still further?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

This has been a very long operation and has been carefully carried out. We had better see how we proceed from now on.

Photo of Mr Frederic Harris Mr Frederic Harris , Croydon North West

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is a stupid and farcical philosophy that people can go into shops to get what they want or obtain services they want while it is a crime in the Government's view to pay for medical services?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

It is not a question of it being a crime in the Government's view but there is not the same limitation on shops and services that there is on medical services.

Photo of Mr Percy Grieve Mr Percy Grieve , Solihull

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.

Following are the figures:

SUMMARY OF RESULTS OF PAY BED REVIEW BY REGIONS
Region (including associated Teaching Hospital)Pay beds before the ReviewPay beds now authorised
Newcastle330184
Leeds403320
Sheffield382298
East Anglian185139
North West Metropolitan*303241
North East Metropolitan*225156
South East Metropolitan*350257
South West Metropolitan*301229
Oxford248199
South Western337240
Welsh9269
Birmingham637446
Manchester545401
Liverpool274178
Wessex193153
London Teaching Hospitals959869
TOTALS5,7644,379
* Excluding Teaching Hospitals