§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 11 July,Official Report, column 514, if he will make a statement on the comparative benefits of the use of finished consultant episodes relative to deaths and discharges as the basis for remuneration of hospitals by (a) general practitioner fund holders and (b) health authorities, for in-patient activity. 
§ Mr. Hague
As a basis for purchasing treatment and care from hospitals, whether by GP fundholders or health authorities, both measures have strengths and weaknesses.
Finished consultant episodes have the advantage over deaths and discharges of allowing the cost of treatment to be associated with the consultant responsible for providing it. The major drawback of finished consultant episodes is that definitions can vary both within and between hospitals, making comparisons difficult whether in terms of activity or cost. By contrast, the definition of an entire episode of treatment or care is more straightforward in the case of deaths and discharges.