53. Mr. FRED HALL (Dulwich)
asked if the right hon. Gentleman can state how 221 many doctors are now known to be available in connection with the administration of medical benefit under the National Health Insurance Act; and what is the number of persons which it is estimated will have to be dealt with as regards this section of the benefit?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
It is the duty of the local insurance committees, under Section 15 of the Act, to make arrangements for local panels of doctors of those who are willing to serve on such panels under regulations made by the Commissioners. Those regulations are now under the consideration of the Advisory Committee, and until they are issued, and the committees have commenced this work it is impossible to state how many doctors will be available in connection with the administration of medical benefit. If in any district the doctors willing to serve on panels are not such as to provide an adequate medical service, the Insurance Commissioners may authorise the insurance committees to make other arrangements, or may themselves make such arrangements, as they think fit. It is estimated that some twelve millions of insured persons will be entitled to medical benefit or a monetary equivalent.
Mr. FRED HALL
Will the right hon. Gentleman say what he means by "other arrangements" being made, because it is impossible to carry out the provisions of the Act unless you get the assistance of the doctors?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I have explained the point many times. I cannot explain in the form of question and answer the various alternatives.