§ Dr. Marshall
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of general practitioners under the National Health Service require patients to make prior appointments for surgery visits; and what assessment he has made of the advantages of this system.
§ Mr. Alison
It is estimated that over half of general practitioners use appointments systems. Independent surveys into the use of appointment systems confirm that properly run schemes, which allow urgent cases to be dealt with without delay, benefit both doctors and patients. Waiting time is reduced; the patient can often choose the doctor he wishes to consult; and the doctor himself can organise his work more effectively.