§ Mr. Alison
As the reply consists of a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Dr. Miller
I shall read the figures with great anticipation. As these payments are intended for practitioners to supply and be able to employ assistants in order to give their patients better services, will the hon. Gentleman encourage the grouping together of doctors so that they can increase the services which they provide for patients? What steps is he taking to encourage group practice and to further the building of health centres for this purpose?
§ Mr. Alison
The hon. Gentleman is right in pinpointing the question of health centres as one of the most important factors. Substantially increased expenditure, as he knows, is forecast for their development over the next few years. This is only one of the aspects of encouragement that we are giving to the development of 1321 group practices, the number of which is growing steadily.
|DIRECT PAYMENTS MADE TO GENERAL MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS IN ENGLAND AND WALES IN RESPECT OF ANCILLARY ASSISTANCE|
|Year ended 31st March (i)||Total payments £m. (ii)||Number of practices claiming† in quarter ended 30th September (iii)||Column (ii) Column (iii) £ (iv)||Total unrestricted principals providing general medical services‡ 1st October (v)||Column (ii) Column (v) £ (vi)|
|* Figure not available.|
|† Information about the number of principals in these practices is not available.|
|‡ This column includes principals who do not employ ancillary staff.|
|§ Represents one quarter's payment only.|
||| Estimated figure.|
|¶ At 1st April. 1971|