NHS (Private Sector)

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 9:22 pm on 16th January 2012.

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Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Labour, Holborn and St Pancras 9:22 pm, 16th January 2012

No, I do not have time and others want to speak.

The answer is that, over the past five years, private patient debt has never been lower than £6.4 million, against an income of £17 million. They are not exactly subsidising NHS patients out of the private sector income at the Royal Free, because they do not have enough income to subsidise them.

I recall years ago, when I was shadow Health Minister, running a campaign on this issue. The Tory Government said that they would change the rules and introduce a system, backed up by the National Audit Office, as it is now called—then, it was the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office—that ensured that any private sector contribution produced a surplus. No such arrangements were put in place, and I challenge the Minister to identify what the position is with all those private patients in NHS hospitals. How many are running a surplus and how many are running at a loss?