§ 41. Mr. CURRIE
asked the Comptroller of the Household, as representing the National Health Insurance Commissioners, whether the Commissioners in Scotland have had their attention drawn to the fact that there are panel doctors in Edinburgh and neighbourhood whose remuneration per visit works out at several pounds, whereas the average 2004 remuneration per visit is a small and reasonable figure; and whether the Scottish Commissioners or the Joint Commissioners are authorised to avoid or modify expenditure on this scale, or whether the administration of the Act was outwith the scope of the recent deliberations of the Retrenchment Committee?
§ The COMPTROLLER of the HOUSEHOLD (Mr. Charles Roberts)
As I have previously explained in answer to a similar question, the remuneration of doctors under a capitation system is not governed by the number of attendances given, but by the extent of the liability for furnishing treatment to insured persons which falls upon the doctors. This remuneration is payable under the agreements between doctors and insurance committees, and is on a uniform scale throughout Great Britain, but the method of payment in the area referred to in respect of insured persons who have not selected a doctor has been modified since the first year of the operation of medical benefit. The answer to the concluding portion of the question is in the negative.
§ 42 and 43. Mr. CURRIE
asked (1) how many panel doctors there are in Edinburgh and neighbourhood whose remuneration per visit as set forth in official statistics works out at a sum exceeding £2 sterling; and whether, in any of these cases, the doctor renders any other services which have the effect of reducing the average pay per visit to less than 35s.; and (2) whether, in the case of the Edinburgh panel doctor who received £76 14s. 2d., although his solitary panel patient required not a single visit, the further liability to attend on other parties assumed by him in common with other doctors resulted in this doctor not being so called upon; or, if this were not so, how many visits he paid from first to last in respect of this £76 14s. 2d.; or whether the only trouble he was put to consisted of signing a receipt for the money?
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
For the reasons explained in my reply to the hon. Member's previous question, the basis of the remuneration payable to doctors on the panel in the area referred to would render any such calculation as is suggested in these questions inappropriate as indicating the extent of the responsibility undertaken by a doctor, since the liability contingent upon his membership of the panel may not have accrued during a particular period.
§ Mr. CURRIE
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether as a matter of fact this doctor did anything at all in exchange for the sum of £76, and is not such expenditure extravagant?