HC Deb 24 October 2000 vol 355 c120
9. Mr. Gordon Prentice (Pendle)

If he will give additional incentives to GPs to locate in East Lancashire. [131856]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Hutton)

East Lancashire health authority is aware of the problem with GP recruitment in its area and is developing a recruitment package that covers all four contractor professions. As part of that process, the health authority is proposing three new applications for personal medical service schemes; exploring the opportunities offered by salaried GPs and nurse practitioners; and reviewing its primary care investment plan to determine what other incentives can be made available through additional investments in GP premises.

Mr. Prentice

That is a good answer, but is the Minister aware that 5.5 per cent. of all the GPs in my area are due to retire in the next five years? That is the highest such percentage of any area in England outside Greater London. Perhaps the way to get younger GPs into areas where there is an acute shortage of qualified GPs is to pay them more. Will the Government apply themselves to that point?

Mr. Hutton

I am very glad that I have said something with which my hon. Friend is happy. As I am sure he is aware, however, we are paying general practitioners more. I am also absolutely sure that, if my hon. Friend wants to develop his concerns about the issue and express them to the health authority, it would be very willing to discuss them with him, as would I. My hon. Friend's area has a particular historical problem with which we have to deal. I am aware of the concerns that he and others have expressed about it, and we look forward to working with him to find a sensible way forward.

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