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Doctors (Rota System)

Volume 888: debated on Thursday 13 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will define the rota system of National Health Service general practitioner care ; why it is used ; and what is the average length of time it is used.

People living in this country are entitled, if they so choose, to receive personal medical services under the National Health Service. On the other hand, general medical practitioners are entitled normally to decide whom they will accept as patients. When a person is unable to find himself a doctor he may seek help from the family practitioner committee for his area, which has powers to assign him to one of the doctors practising there. Such assignments are usually permanent; but very occasionally the family practitioner committee finds that no single doctor is prepared to accept responsibility indefinitely for a particular patient. In such cases, by arrangement with the local doctors, the patient is normally transferred automatically every few months—unless at the due time he is receiving treatment at intervals of less than eight days—to the next of a succession of doctors practising in the neighbourhood. The length of time that the patient remains on the list of a particular doctor is a matter for local arrangement, but is normally three or six months.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many individuals and families, in Northampton, are on a rota system for a medical practioner ; and for how long have they been on this system, without a permanent medical practitioner available to them.

None at present. The most recent arrangement of this nature was terminated in 1971.