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Volume 462: debated on Thursday 3 March 1949

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that applications of country doctors for more petrol are being refused; and what steps he is taking to ensure that doctors have sufficient petrol to enable them to give proper care and attention to their patients.

As my right hon. Friend told the hon. Member for Skipton (Mr. Drayson) on 10th February, regional petroleum officers have standing instructions to allow doctors sufficient petrol to meet their essential requirements. I am not aware that reasonable applications are being refused, but if the hon. Member will let me have details of any cases he has in mind, I shall be glad to review them.

May I ask how regional petroleum officers can be expected to know the reasonable requirements of doctors; and, is it not plain that any economies must be made at the expense of the patient?

Not at all. The regional petroleum officer has the advice of the medical liaison officer nominated by the British Medical Association.

Is the doctor allowed any priority over the ordinary user of petrol in his neighbourhood—as regards the patient he has to visit, for example?

The standing instruction to our regional petroleum officers is not to set any limit at all to the amount of petrol a doctor requires in the legitimate work of looking after his patients. In that connection, we have the advice of a medical liaison officer appointed by the British Medical Association.