HC Deb 08 March 1920 vol 126 cc908-9
Sir PHILIP MAGNUS (by Private Notice)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is now able to make a statement as to the result of the arbitration on the amount to be paid to medical men under the National Insurance Service?


Yes, Sir. The arbitrators have found that the sum of 11s. per insured person to be made available to provide payment for medical men under the National Health Insurance Service Scheme is a sum which should properly be paid to them. After careful consideration, in view of the promise made during the War that the amount available for payment to medical men should be increased and in view of the improved conditions of service required to be rendered under the new medical benefit regulations, the Government proposed that, apart from the special arrangement for mileage and the administration of drugs, the amount of 11s. per insured person should be made available for this purpose. The Insurance Acts Committee (representing the Conference of Local Medical and Panel Commitees throughout the country) were unable to accept this offer, and pressed the Government to provide a sum of 13s. 6d. After prolonged and friendly negotiations, it was ultimately agreed that the matter should be referred to arbitration, and Mr. W. F. Gore Browne, K.C., Sir Richard V. Vasser-Smith, and Dr. J. C. Stamp were agreed upon as arbitrators, the Government on its side undertaking to recommend Parliament to give effect to the findings of the arbitrators, and the Insurance Acts Committee on their part undertaking that they and the Panel Committees would co-operate in securing from the practitioners throughout the country full and efficient service, with goodwill, under the settlement as a whole, including the terms of the award. After a full hearing of the case on both sides, the arbitrators find that the offer which I proposed on behalf of the Government was a fair and adequate offer; and proposals will accordingly be submitted to Parliament in due course to give effect to this finding. I may say that the utmost goodwill exists on both sides, and a sincere appreciation of the impartiality and service of the arbitrators.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say how much this will cost the Exchequer?


I cannot give details now, but they can be supplied in connection with the National Health Insurance Bill which will shortly be introduced.