§ Mr. Anthony Coombs
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioner practices have registered their interest in becoming fund holders under the Government's proposed reforms for the National Health Service set out in "Working for Patients".
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
I announced this morning that 850 GP practices have so far registered their interest in becoming fund-holding practices. The response so far is a clear endorsement of the attractiveness of the scheme. It shows that significant numbers of GPs recognise the advantage of being able to choose to take control of some NHS funds to finance a range of local services for their patients and to having more influence over the quality of hospital services.