asked the Minister of Health if he will furnish a list showing the number of general practitioners with 2,500, 3,000, 3,500, 4,000 and over 4,000 patients registered with them under the National Health scheme; and what steps are being taken to reduce those cases where the upper limit of 4,000 patients has been exceeded.
General statistics on this matter are not readily available, but inquiries have been made of a number of areas. As the information supplied by these areas contains a number of detailed figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate what steps he is going to take to see that doctors who have more than the maximum of 4,000—I am informed that there are many—bring their numbers down so that young doctors will not find themselves limited to getting jobs as paid assistants?
Steps have already been taken and numbers are being reduced every week. If the hon. Member will look at the figures I am supplying, he will see that they are not as great as he thinks.
An analysis of the information supplied by six different areas (not necessarily typical of the whole country) shows that the following numbers and percentages of doctors on the medical lists of these areas fall into the different categories referred to by the hon. Member. In compiling the statistics doctors engaged in partnership have been assumed each to be responsible for the average of the number of persons on each partner's list, and doctors employing assistants have had their lists notionally reduced by 2,400 for each assistant.
As there is some element of inflation in Executive Council's registers, the figures in columns 2 and 3 may be higher than is actually the case. Executive Council's were asked in November, 1948, to request doctors with lists in excess of 4,000 not to accept additional persons for inclusion in their lists (except relatives of persons already on their lists living in the same house) until their lists had been brought within the permitted limit. Executive Councils generally acted on this request and some have gone further and used their discretion to require doctors to take further steps to see that their lists are brought within the limit.