HC Deb 09 January 1913 vol 46 cc1373-5
45. Mr. CASSEL

asked the Prime Minister whether it is proposed that any additional grant out of public moneys should be made towards medical benefit in respect of the first three months from the 15th January, 1913; and, if so, when it is proposed to obtain the sanction of the House thereto?


The answer is in the negative. The whole cost of the provision of medical benefit for the period referred to in the question will be met out of funds available under the National Insurance Act.


asked how many doctors per thousand of insured persons have the Insurance Commissioners decided to be necessary to secure an adequate medical service in rural and urban areas, respectively, in order to set up a panel in such areas; and on what day was the decision of the Insurance Commissioners on this point taken?


As I have previously stated, the number of insured persons for whom a doctor on the panel can properly be responsible must necessarily vary according to the circumstances of each particular case, and it is therefore impracticable to fix any maximum number either for all areas or for urban and rural areas respectively. In deciding in each case whether adequate medical service has been secured the Commissioners have regard to all the circumstances, and they are, of course, guided to a great extent by the advice and recommendation of the local Insurance Committee. According to the experience of contract practice of a similar character in the past every 1,000 persons on a list would involve on the average thirteen attendances a day, of which eight or nine would be surgery calls and four or five visits at the patient's home for 300 days' work in the year.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say that a panel would be adequate with one doctor for 5,000 people, or would he give some general idea of what would be considered adequate?


I could not give any general statement; but certainly I do not anticipate one doctor will have to have 5,000 patients in any case.


asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the case of a doctor who has only consented to join a panel on the understanding that he would be required to treat a small and strictly limited number of insured persons; and whether the Commissioners propose to allow such a bargain to be made with a local insurance committee?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As, however, the hon. Member is aware, every practitioner on the panel has a right to select the insured persons whom he undertakes to treat, subject, of course, to the distribution amongst, and so far as practicable, under arrangements made by, the several practitioners on the panel, of the insured persons who have failed to make any selection, or who have been refused by the practitioner whom they have selected.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say how he intends to give medical benefit considering the small number of people who have come in under the panel?


I know that the vast majority of the doctors in this country are prepared to work under the panel system.