§ Mr. Onslow
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why it takes so long to produce statistics for the average daily number of unoccupied hospital beds.
§ Dr. Owen
Health authorities are asked to submit the appropriate statistical returns to the Department and are given a reasonable time to do this. The returns for the six months ending 30th June are normally returned to the Department by September, and those for the year ending 31st December are normally in by April of the following year. On receipt, the returns are subjected to thorough validation checks and are then summarised. National summaries are usually available in October and June respectively.
Following the reorganisation of the NHS on 1st April 1974, involving the establishment of new authorities, exceptional delays have occurred in some cases, but steps are being taken to rectify the situation.