HC Deb 29 March 1965 vol 709 cc1183-5
42. Mr. Freeson

asked the Minister of Health if he will reconsider the pool system of payment for general practitioners and bring forward proposals for developing a salaried service through the establishment of health centres by local authorities and hospital departments.

44. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Minister of Health if he will now make a statement on arrangements for family doctors" pay and expenses.

77. Mr. George Craddock

asked the Minister of Health if he will take steps to set up health centres under the National Health Service.

Mr. K. Robinson

I expect all these matters, apart from the level of remuneration, to come into the discussions with the profession which I am to begin shortly.

Mr. Freeson

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, but will he bear in mind that the policy of establishing a network of health centres throughout the country remains as vital as ever in the field of preventive medicine and that such a system would probably provide the most effective way of satisfying the demands laid down in the recently published B.M.A. charter? Will he consider issuing a circular to local authorities as soon as possible after these consultations with a view once again to encouraging the establishment of health centres throughout the country and the necessary consultations at local level between local health and welfare authorities and the general practitioner services?

Mr. Robinson

I assure my hon. Friend that I intend that the discussions I have with the profession should cover practice premises and the use of health centres. He may be interested to know that, although only 21 new health centres have so far been set up, interest has been growing recently and I know at the moment of about 50 projects under consideration or actually in progress.

Mr. Frederic Harris

When does the right hon. Gentleman expect these discussions with the profession actually to start, and has he any idea how long they will take? Further, would the outcome then have to be referred to the Review Body on the remuneration aspect?

Mr. Robinson

I should not like to speculate on how long they will take. It is expected that when the terms of a new contract have been agreed, it will then be put to the Review Body for pricing. I am to have a preliminary meeting with the leaders of the profession tomorrow.

Mr. Pavitt

Will my right hon. Friend give special attention to the last part of Question No. 42 and review the possibility not only of extending health centres by local health authorities under Section 21 but the possibility of incorporating the hospital service and the hospital management committees themselves into the extension of local health centres?

Mr. Robinson

I am prepared to discuss arty method of providing practice premises, and I should not rule this one out.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Braine, Question No. 43.

Mr. Craddock

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understood that my right hon. Friend was answering my Question No. 77 at the same time.

Mr. Speaker

With respect, I do not think that the hon. Gentleman was here when I made a pronouncement the other day about late-number Questions.

Mr. Orme

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In your consideration of Questions, will you take under review the number of hon. Members who have not been present today when they have been called to ask their Questions? It is exceedingly unfair.

Mr. Speaker

I am not sure about that. I say nothing about it now because I should like to think about the implications of what the hon. Gentleman says.