HC Deb 12 June 1996 vol 279 cc184-5W
Mr. Soley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what circumstances general practitioners are required to tell patients what services they choose to contract for; and if he will make a statement on best practice for keeping patients informed of services they will or will not be contracting. [31980]

Mr. Malone

General practitioner fundholders' purchasing plans, and the contracts they place, are public documents and available at the health authority. In addition, fundholders should make copies available at their practice or produce summaries or leaflets for patients.

Mr. David Nicholson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners were in practice in(a) England and (b) in the south-west region on 1 April for each year since 1989; what action he is taking to increase recruitment; and if he will make a statement. [32525]

Mr. Malone

The available information is shown in the table. The number of general practitioners continues to rise.

Year England South and West
1989 25,608 1,942
1990 25,622 1,980
1991 25,464 1,982
1992 25,823 2,018
1993 26,116 2,054
1994 26,387 2,084
1995 26,702 2,140

Data is at 1 April each year except 1989 and 1990 when only data at 1 October is available.

Mr. Nicholson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his Department's policy over general practitioners remaining in post(a) after the age of 60 years and (b) after the age of 65 years; and what action he takes to ensure that service is continued where it is in the interest of effective health service provision. [32481]

Mr. Malone

General practitioners are able to practice as principals until they reach the age of 70 when health authorities are required to remove their name from the medical list. General practitioners over the age of 70 remain eligible to work in general practice as assistants or locums or in a private capacity.