HC Deb 17 November 1981 vol 13 cc110-1W
Dr. Mawhinney

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is yet in a position to make a statement on the future of the family practitioner committees.

Dr. Vaughan

As part of the reorganisation of the health service and the setting up of the new district health authorities it is necessary to consider the future of the family practitioner committees—should they be independent bodies or should they be a part of the new district authorities. My right hon. Friend has studied carefully the responses to the consultative paper issued in March. He has concluded that establishing family practioner committees as health authorities in their own right, with powers to engage their own staff, is most likely both to facilitate the development of primary care services and lead to increased efficiency in the administration of the family practitioner services. We shall when time permits seek the legislation necessary to introduce these new arrangements but this cannot be fitted into the Government's programme for the present Session. Interim arrangements will need to be made since for the time being the present statutory position will remain. The decision will in no way affect the Government's intention to reduce the proportion of total NHS resources spent on management by 10 per cent. by the end of the financial year 1984–85.