§ 12. Mr. Dubs
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of people living in London are not registered with a general practitioner.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
This information is not routinely available. A recent survey by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys suggests that 5 per cent. of people living in inner London are not registered with a general medical practitioner under the National Health Service.
§ Mr. Dubs
Is it not the case that in London a larger proportion of people are not registered with a doctor than in other parts of the country? Is this not due to the reasons that are given in the Acheson report, which suggest that in London doctors are older, that premises are less satisfactory and that there are more single practices? Does the Minister think that some action should be taken to implement this section of the Acheson report?
§ Mr. Finsberg
I remind the hon. Gentleman that Professor Acheson's study group took the view that a non-registration rate of 5 per cent. or less could be regarded as insignificant. The survey that I have quoted shows that no special remedial action is needed.
§ Mr. George Cunningham
In view of the disproportionate number of elderly doctors in the inner city areas and the number of doctors who want semi-retirement by having shorter lists, will the Minister restore the encouragements previously in existence for setting up new health centres?
§ Mr. Finsberg
I am prepared to consider that matter, but the hon. Gentleman ought to know that of the 35 medical practice areas in inner London, 34 are classified as being well or adequately doctored, so the problem is, at worst, patchy.