§ 48. Mr. Spriggs
asked the Minister of Health what is the doctor-patient ratio in the County Borough of St. Helens, Lancashire; if he is satisfied that the present number of general practitioners there adequately provides the medical care required; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Braine
The general practitioners living in St. Helens have average National Health Service lists of about 2,650. The area is designated by the Medical Practices Committee as being in need of more doctors.
§ Mr. Spriggs
What is the hon. Gentleman's Department doing about getting more doctors so that proper medical care can be given to patients in St. Helens? Has he considered developing team practices to overcome the difficulties which doctors, with lists of 3,000 or 3,500 patients are having to face? 871 How can doctors give proper medical care when they have all these patients on their lists?
§ Mr. Braine
I fully accept that the figure of 2,650 which I have just given is high. The situation is improving slightly, the average list having fallen by about 125 over the last two years. But I must say that there is no easy way of solving the problem of shortage in St. Helens. We shall need more doctors, and the House will be aware of the steps being taken to increase the output of medical schools.