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General Practitioners

Health written question – answered on 8th June 2011.

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Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Conservative, Tiverton and Honiton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to address any inequality between urban and rural provision of medical and care services when establishing GP consortia.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

Subject to the passing of the Health and Social Care Bill and the outcome of the current listening exercise, there will be a duty on the NHS Commissioning Board and commissioning consortia that they must in the exercise of their functions have regard to the need to reduce inequalities between patients in access to health services and in the outcomes achieved from health services.

In addition, the NHS Commissioning Board will take over responsibility for the allocation of resources from the Department. It would be for the Board to decide how best to allocate resources in a way that supports the principle of securing equivalent access to NHS services relative to the prospective burden of disease and disability.

During the transition to the Board, the Secretary of State for Health has asked the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA), an independent committee comprising general practitioners, academics and NHS managers, to continue to oversee the formulae for the distribution of NHS resources. ACRA's work programme will include consideration of the issue of rurality in light of the move to allocations to commissioning consortia.

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