§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will outline the contents of the report from family practitioner committees that he has received from Merseyside on general practitioner deputising services.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The reports which we have received from the four family practitioner committees concerned indicate that in general the three deputising services operating in their areas provide a good standard of service. In particular that most widely used is, I understand, well regarded not only by the family doctors who use it, but also by the family practitioner committee and the two community health councils most closely involved.
As a result of my letter last July, agreement has been reached between one family practitioner committee and the related professional advisory committee that the reports of the latter on that deputising service will be submitted in greater detail and at regular intervals. The level of visits undertaken weekly by the service, having regard to the number of doctors with consent to use and the number of patients served, does not appear excessive or point to abuse.
I intend to make a statement shortly on future policy on the monitoring of deputising services nationally.