League tables highlighting vast differences in the cost of operations between different NHS Trusts have been released by the Government.
Examples of cost ranges included between £337 and £1,695 for a cataract removal with lens implant, and £1,834 to £6,494 for a hip replacement operation, depending on location.
Health Minister Alan Milburn said that high spending hospitals would be subjected to new efficiency targets to improve both costs and efficiency.
However, the league tables have been criticised for failing to compare like with like. Some high spending Trusts have claimed that the comparisons did not take into account the extra costs associated with research and teaching work.
According to the tables, the most expensive NHS Trusts in England were Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, United Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Nuffield Orthopaedic, Royal Orthopaedic, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Redbridge Health Care.
The least expensive were Moorfields Eye Hospital, Dorset Healthcare, Severn NHS Trust and Kent and Canterbury Hospitals, Hinchingbrooke Healthcare and West Lindsey NHS Trust.