HL Deb 26 July 1999 vol 604 cc150-1WA
Baroness Cox

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the current premature voluntary retirement rate for senior medical personnel in the services; and what measures, if any, are being taken to retain senior medical officers. [HL3677]

Lord Gilbert

In the year ended 31 March 1999, the rate of premature voluntary retirement among senior medical officers, namely those of major or equivalent rank and above, was 4.3 per cent. A number of measures have been taken, or are being taken, to help improve retention of medical officers generally. These include: the Government's acceptance of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body's recommendations for a pay award of 4.5 per cent. for 1999, which is 1 per cent. higher than the awards for NHS doctors and dentists and for the rest of the Armed Forces and a significant increase in trainer pay for general medical practitioners who supervise trainees in general practice and the forthcoming introduction of a distinction awards scheme for consultants, as well as further work to identify the causes of overstretch and more effective ways of reducing it. Work also continues on the harmonisation of different terms of service for medical officers from the three services. We are making good progress with our project to establish the new centre for defence medicine which is to be the professional focal point for the Defence Medical Services at an NHS centre of excellence and an important academic institution undertaking clinical research and teaching.