§ 20. Mr. Patrick Jenkin
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why she did not consult the professional bodies about her proposals for the secondment of medical practitioners before her visit to the Middle East in January.
§ Dr. Owen
A draft circular outlining the arrangements proposed, a copy of which is in the Library of the House, was issued for consultation before my right hon. Friend made her visit. Secondment as such is not proposed. Health authorities are being encouraged to use their normal discretionary powers to release staff who wish to work temporarily overseas.
§ 85. Mr. Thorpe
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what criteria she is using in selecting doctors for secondment to the Ministry of Overseas Development for work in Middle East countries; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Castle
Secondment as such is not proposed. Health authorities are being encouraged to use their normal discretionary powers to release doctors and other staff who wish to take up temporary employment overseas. A copy of a draft circular on this subject has been placed in the Library of the House. The selection of individuals for specific posts will continue to be a matter for the overseas Governments themselves.
§ 92. Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what statistics are available concerning the number of hospital consultants who have emigrated since 1st January 1975.
§ Mr. Edwin Wainwright
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the shortage of doctors in the Yorkshire and Humberside Region, she will take measures to bring the numbers up to required standards.159W
§ Dr. Owen
There are no standards laid down governing the overall numbers of doctors in a region. However, I am well aware that there are geographical imbalances and I am very anxious to see these corrected. Preference is already given to understaffed regions in the allocation of new consultant posts, and the recent adjustment of regional revenue allocations should also help to achieve better distribution. For general medical services, statutory responsibility for regulating the distribution of general practitioners rests with the Medical Practices Committee, and there is a system of incentive allowances for under-doctored areas. In addition, the current programme of expansion of medical school intake will make more doctors generally available.
§ Sir J. Langford-Holt
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proposals she has to help general practitioners, in view of the fact that at present large numbers of patients suffering from influenza are seeking home visits or are visiting surgery not because of their medical condition but in order to obtain a medical certificate.
§ Mr. O'Malley
Sickness benefit is payable where a person's medical condition makes him unable to work, and a medical certificate provides evidence of this fact. Special relaxations of the normal requirements for medical certificates can be introduced where there are exceptional conditions. Any doctor in serious difficulty about certification because of an epidemic should get in touch with the manager of his local social security office.