§ Mr. Stan Thorne
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many general practitioners have taken 24-hour retirement from the National Health Service during the financial year 1978–79;
(2) what are the terms of reference of his proposed examination of the 24-hour retirement position of general practitioners; and what particular regard it will pay to the difficulties of patients seeking doctors in inner city areas;
(3) if he is satisfied that the present classification of areas takes full account of the growing use of the 24-hour 123W retirement arangements whereby inner city area general practitioners over retiring age may operate list of only 1,001 patients;
(4) what consideration he is giving to the problems being created in inner city areas by ageing, single-handed general practitioners steadily reducing their lists; and what steps he proposes to take to overcome the problem.
§ Dr. Vaughan
I am considering the scope of the examination referred to in my reply to the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 3 November—[Vol. 991, c.403]—prior to discussion with the profession, and in reaching a decision will take account of the points made by the hon. Member.
Information about the number of general practitioners who retire between 65 and 69 years of age and who resume practice without abatement to their pensions is not readily available, but I am looking into this.