asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will seek to regulate the charges for medical certificates made by general practitioners under the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement.
General practitioners in the National Health Service are required to issue free of charge certificates for certain statutory purposes which are listed in regulations. I have no power to regulate the charges made by doctors for other types of certificate, but my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health and I have recently asked both sides of industry to do all they can to reduce the need for private certificates.
Is my right hon. Friend aware of the tremendous variety of charges, which range nowadays from as low as 2s. 6d. to as high, I am told, in some cases as five guineas for a simple medical certificate assisting someone in a quest for a municipal house? Does he not think the time has now arrived to adjust this matter by having some understanding as regards a regulated charge for all sorts of certificates issued by general practitioners in Scotland?
If my hon. Friend has any information about unreasonable demands in this respect I should be glad to have it, but I think he should appreciate that it would be unfair and not right to expect the National Health Service to bear the cost of all private certificates.