HC Deb 18 February 1963 vol 672 c29
41. Mr. Godman Irvine

asked the Minister of Health what steps he now proposes to take to ensure that a locum is provided when needed, as in the case of a general practitioner's sudden illness.

Mr. Braine

This is the contractual responsibility of the general practitioner.

Mr. Godman Irvine

Would not my hon. Friend agree that this can cause great hardship to a single-handed practitioner? Will he not further agree that it places a heavy burden on the practitioner's wife, who is worried not only about her husband's illness but also about the possibility of finding a suitable locum and whether the locum will remain throughout her husband's illness? Does not he agree that in these cases responsibility should be taken by the executive councils?

Mr. Braine

No, Sir. There may be particular cases, and if my hon. Friend will let me have details I will look into them. However, this is a matter for the profession itself, and existing agencies are available to assist practitioners in finding locums, notably the B.M.A. Bureau.

Mr. K. Robinson

Would not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that this is a problem to which the happiest solution, where practicable, is the establishment of group practices?

Mr. Braine

There may be something in what the hon. Members says.