§ Mr. Bayley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 25 October,Official Report, columns 494–95, whether a general practitioner's fund-holding practice is permitted to pool part of its budget with (a) other fund-holding practices or (b) the local district health authority to enable one-off or extra-contractual referrals to be purchased in such a way as to ensure equity of treatment for patients of fund-holding and non fund-holding general practitioners.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
General practitioner fund holders and district health authorities are funded in as similar a way as possible, allowing for different population sizes. They do not therefore need to pool their budgets. But both fund holders and districts should be working to achieve the highest quality of care for their patients and can jointly agree common standards in contracts for hospital treatment.