§ Mr. Lyell
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on the costs of the National Health Service in the light of the report of the Royal Commission; and if he will indicate the amount of extra funds which by reason of any savings will then become available for patient care.
§ Dr. Vaughan
I assume that my hon. Friend means cost of management. It is the stated aim of this Government to seek reductions over a period in the cost of managing the NHS. They will be pursuing this aim with the health authorities. In addition, the Royal Commission on the NHS has recommended a streamlining of the management structure and a review of the respective roles of unit and functional management. I regard this as a helpful contribution, both to making the management more effective and less costly.
These are some of the issues which will be dealt with in the consultative document, which we will be publishing later in the year. There will be some transitional costs, but I believe that, on the basis of the Royal Commission's recommendations and the Government's drive on efficiency, we should aim to achieve overall savings of about £30 million—that is, 10 per cent. on management costs currently running at around £300 million a year—when all the changes have taken effect. This will enable available resources to be channelled more into direct patient care.