HC Deb 09 May 1960 vol 623 cc6-7
12. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Minister of Health what is the number of undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and principals employed in his Department, the number of these administrators engaged in the section dealing with general medical services, the total staff employed, and the number engaged in the section dealing with general medical services.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Five undersecretaries, 24 assistant secretaries and 38 principals. In the section specially concerned with general medical services there are one under-secretary and one assistant-secretary, both part-time, one principal full-time and one principal part-time. The total headquarters staff is 2,320 and the equivalent of 14 full-time staff are engaged in the section concerned with the general medical services. Many matters connected with general medical services are dealt with elsewhere than in this section.

Mr. Pavitt

Is the Minister really satisfied that he can give creative leadership to general practice with only half the assistance of an under-secretary and an assistant-secretary? Is he aware that there are over 21,000 general practitioners and that there would be considerable saving in hospitalisation if there were an advance in general practice, which could be secured if a little more drive were forthcoming from the Ministry?

Mr. Walker-Smith

The duty of administration of the general practitioner service is not carried out in my Ministry but in the executive councils throughout the country. Regarding the central policy and planning, it is not only a question of staff. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary and I seek to make some contribution as well in that regard.

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