HC Deb 10 March 1958 vol 584 cc11-2
6. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Health why the number of National Health patients on doctors' lists in London is 173,636 more than its total population; and if he will ensure that more accurate records are kept.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The number of National Health Service patients on doctors' lists in London and certain other areas exceeds the population because executive councils do not always receive the necessary information to enable them to remove the names of patients who leave the area or change their doctors. Measures are being taken which it is hoped will improve the situation.

Mr. Lipton

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say what those measures are, and is it not a rather ridiculous state of affairs which at the moment requires complicated financial manœuvres to see that doctors do not get paid more than they should receive by way of capitation fees and that sort of thing? Is the Minister considering the establishment of some sort of central register? What is the point of issuing medical cards and numbers and going to all that performance unless there is some sort of central register somewhere?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Of course, there is already a central register at Southport, but the additional measures we are taking are to begin work on an alphabetical index which will help the existing central register to make an identification where the National Health Service number is not quoted. The hon. Gentleman would be wrong to suppose that the inflation of the doctors' list, to which his Question refers, results in an increased burden on the Exchequer.