The utilisation of service hospitals was considered by the Select Committee on Public Accounts in its ninth report of the 1987–88 session. The Government replied in a Treasury minute in February 1989, Cm. 323. The Committee's 21st report of the 1988–89 Session, which also deals with service hospitals, was published on 22 June. It contains further observations which are now being considered.
Will the Minister confirm that the Select Committee on Public Accounts criticised Halton, Wroughton and Haslar military hospitals for failing to agree to treat more National Health Service patients? Why is the Ministry of Defence still dragging its feet on the issue? Will the Minister act immediately to ensure that all military hospitals take more NHS patients instead of leaving so many empty beds?
It may not be appreciated that the service hospitals already take 250,000 NHS patients. The scope for more is limited only by the willingness of local and regional health authorities to accept more contracts. I can report that since the consideration by the Select Committee on Public Accounts, RAF Wroughton has negotiated a contract with the Mid-Glamorgan and Crewe health authorities to take patients of theirs.