§ Mr. Blenkinsop
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will make a statement on the report of the Joint Working Party on General Medical Services, and in particular on the growth of commercially organised deputising services.
§ Dr. Owen
The report was published on 11th June and I made a statement about it that day in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes).—[Vol. 874, c.511–2.] The report refers to the growth in the number and use of commercial 51W deputising services during the last 10 years. It shows that there are now about 30 of these services in England and Wales, and that in 1972 some 28 per cent. of family doctors were using them. I share the joint working party's view that the development of these services should only be of a type which benefits the National Health Service, and my Department will be discussing the report's specific recommendations about this with the professional and administrative bodies concerned.