Doctors and Patients

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st April 1957.

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Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East 12:00 am, 1st April 1957

asked the Minister of Health (1) if he will indicate the increase or decrease in the number of doctors on medical lists in England and Wales between 1951 and the latest convenient year by number and percentage, compared with the corresponding increases or decreases in areas classed as under-doctored in 1951 between the same two dates;

(2) what was the average number of patients per doctor in England and Wales in 1951 and in each subsequent year to the latest convenient year; and what was the total population in under-doctored areas in 1951 and at the latest convenient year.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

Between July, 1952, the first year for which comparable figures are available, and July, 1956, the number of doctors increased by 1,908 or 11 per cent., and the number of patients per doctor diminished from 2,436 to 2,272. I will circulate figures showing the number of patients per doctor in intervening years in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

I regret that the number of doctors now practising in areas that were classified as under-doctored in 1951 is not available: but in 1952 there were 7,596 doctors practising in areas then so classified with about 21½ million patients on their lists. By 1956, the areas classified as under-doctored had been so reduced that there were only 3,484 doctors practising in them with about 9½ million patients, a very substantial improvement.

Photo of Mr Somerville Hastings Mr Somerville Hastings , Barking

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many of the doctors practising as general practitioners in the National Health Service have a full list?

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

I am afraid that I should need notice of that question.

Following is the information:

No. of Patients per doctor* in England and Wales
July, 19522,436
July, 19532,324
July, 19542,293
July, 19552,283
July, 19562,272
* i.e., per principal providing unrestricted general medical services in the National Health Service.
No. of patients on lists of doctors whose main surgeries are located in areas "designated" by the Medical Practices Committee
October, 195221,666,877
July, 19569,444,275