asked the Minister of Health whether pending the establishment of a national health service, he will encourage public assistance authorities to introduce the open choice system of medical assistance for needy persons not covered by the health insurance Acts, so that they may be able to obtain free medical treatment from their own doctor.
I am prepared to consider favourably any application for my consent from a public assistance authority which finds it practicable to introduce the open choice system.
While thanking the Minister for his reply, may I ask him to go further and circularise the appropriate local authorities, inviting them to consider the introduction of the open choice system so as to remove the Poor Law atmosphere from the administration of medical assistance for old people and others in need?
I sympathise very much with the desire behind the supplementary question. I am anxious not to send too many circulars out just now, I am already sending a storm of them, but probably this Question and answer will be given sufficient publicity to stimulate local authorities to apply the system.