§ Dr. Murrison
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on shortages of general practitioners in rural areas. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) routinely publishes data classifying health authorities (HAs) into categories, including urban and rural. In the future, this will be by primary care trust. The latest published data refer to 2001. In that year, in England, the rural HAs had 59.7 unrestricted principals and equivalent (UPEs) per 100,000 registered patients, while the national average was 54.3 UPEs per 100,000 registered patients. There is, therefore, no evidence of under-doctoring in rural areas overall, although there will be some areas with recruitment difficulties.575W
The Government are committed to expanding the general practitioner workforce and have implemented a range of measures to increase the supply of GPs.
- The Flexible Careers Scheme
- The GP Returner Scheme
- The Golden Hello Scheme
- The NHS Delayed Retirement Scheme
- International recruitment
- Extension of the improving working lives initiative to primary care
- Increasing training places, including new premises to train and employ more Gps.