HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc21-2
22. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to encourage doctors in general practice to equip themselves to deal with psychological and stress factors in disease.

Mr. Walker-Smith

As one of the ways to keep abreast of developments in medicine, general practitioners are encouraged to attend approved postgraduate refresher courses, and financial assistance is given to help them to do so. The content of these courses is settled by the universities and medical schools in the light of current needs for supplementary training, including training in psychological medicine.

Mr. Robinson

Is the Minister not aware that almost the only practical work in this field has been done in the Tavistock Clinic, that its course of seminars is not officially recognised by the British Postgraduate Medical Federation, and that consequently doctors attending cannot claim expenses or locum fees? Would he use his influence with the federation to ensure that the course is officially recognised?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I will certainly look into the point made by the hon. Gentleman, because I recognise both his interest and expertise in these matters, but he will know the limitations of my jurisdiction in regard to education and training.

Mr. Champion

Can the Minister tell us what percentage of the doctors take the postgraduate courses he has mentioned?

Mr. Walker-Smith

In the last year 2,178 doctors attended, which is about 10 per cent. It is an increasing trend.