HC Deb 11 December 1967 vol 756 cc5-6
16. Mr. Judd

asked the Minister of Health what is the proportion of general practitioners in England and Wales in each of the following age groups, 25 to 30 years, 30 to 35 years, 35 to 40 years, 40 to 45 years, 45 to 50 years, 50 to 55 years, 55 to 60 years, 60 to 65 years and over 65 years.

Mr. K. Robinson

As the Answer consists of a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Judd

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the figures indicate a serious danger of a grave shortage of doctors in this important sphere of the Health Service? Will he assure the public and the House that everything possible is being done to overcome this potential shortage?

Mr. Robinson

Yes, but I would not accept what my hon. Friend said because I think he will see when he studies the table that there have been no great changes in the age structure in recent years, apart from the decrease in the proportion of those under 30. This is partly due to the welcome tendency for doctors over the years to undertake vocational training before they enter general practice. We are steadily increasing the intake to medical schools.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

What result, if any, has come from counter brain drain activities in the United States to relieve the shortage of doctors? Is it true that a number of doctors who have been asked to return have found it difficult to obtain employment in the specialities in which they operate?

Mr. Robinson

There is a later Question to be answered on this subject. The hon. Member will be glad to know that already 50 doctors have accepted appointments in this country and provisional arrangements are being made to bring them back here.

Following are the figures: