General Practioner Targets

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th February 1992.

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Photo of James Arbuthnot James Arbuthnot , Wanstead and Woodford 12:00 am, 18th February 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of general practitioners in Redbridge are reaching the 80 per cent. target for immunisation and cervical smears; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

On 1 April 1991, 65 per cent. of GPs in Redbridge and Waltham Forest were entitled to receive target payments for childhood immunisation, compared with 52 per cent. 12 months earlier. On the same date, 75 per cent. of local GPs were entitled to receive target payments for cytology, compared with 42 per cent. in the previous year.

Photo of James Arbuthnot James Arbuthnot , Wanstead and Woodford

Is my hon. Friend aware that the hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) and I have something in common? Although I do not share the hon. Gentleman's rather seedy taste for handling stolen goods, I did believe, as did he, that the 80 per cent. targets were too heroic and would never be reached. I was wrong, and they have been a dramatic success. Will my hon. Friend call on the hon. Member for Livingston to make a similar admission of the error of his ways?

Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

I congratulate my hon. Friend on accurately quoting the words of the hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) on 25 July 1989, when he described the targets as so heroic … that many doctors will … give up trying." —[Official Report, 25 July 1989; Vol. 157, c. 910.] Far from giving up trying, doctors are meeting the targets. I have further bad news for the hon. Member for Livingston. He may remember that at about this time last year we published a series of figures which demonstrated that his predictions were wrong. He will not have long to wait for another diet of his own words.