NHS Charging

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 22nd March 2005.

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Photo of John Reid John Reid Secretary of State, Department of Health, The Secretary of State for Health 11:30 am, 22nd March 2005

Mr. Speaker, the House and you in particular, will be interested to know that the hon. Gentleman is talking not about charges and patients but about the recovery of costs from third parties whose negligence has resulted in people being admitted to hospital. On the other hand, since he seems unaware of the subject of charges, let me point out to him the following:

"If an independent hospital charges more for an operation than the NHS, patients will be entitled to 50 per cent. of the NHS cost as a contribution towards their bill."

That quote is from page 6 of the hon. Gentleman's own party's manifesto, which he clearly has not even read. However, I will stay within order, Mr. Speaker, and merely repeat that we will not introduce charges for basic hospital operations. We are delighted that the hon. Gentleman is putting his policy to the country.