§ 14. Mr. Grylls
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of immigrant doctors sitting examinations 239 for eligibility to practise in the United Kingdom have passed on the last three occasions when the examinations have been taken.
§ Mrs. Castle
The test arranged by the General Medical Council applies only to overseas doctors who are seeking temporary registration in this country for the first time. In the last three tests the percentage pass rate was 29 per cent., 31 per cent. and 38 per cent.
§ Mr. Grylls
Does the Secretary of State agree that the figures show that the number of doctors coming into the country will drop quite drastically? If that happens, how will she honour her promise to the junior doctors to reduce their hours of work, bearing in mind what she told the House in December? Is it not true that to honour that promise she will have to rely on British doctors and that we shall have to pay them proper rates of overtime?
§ Mrs. Castle
I think that it is too early to assess the effects of these examinations and tests on future manpower in the National Health Service. We are monitoring the situation very closely. We recognise the valuable contribution that overseas doctors have made to the Service, but we are determined to expand the intakes of our own medical schools. That expansion programme is going ahead and it will go ahead whatever economic stringencies may prevail.