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Volume 939: debated on Friday 25 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether any special inducement payments are made in Scotland to secure doctors for rural areas with low and scattered populations.

Yes. An inducement payment may be made where my right hon. Friend has determined, after consultation with the Scottish Medical Practices Committee, that it is essential to maintain a medical practice in an area sparsely populated or otherwise unattractive and which yields too little by way of ordinary remuneration to ensure the maintenance of a satisfactory medical service.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what he regards as a minimum viable size of single doctor medical practice.

There are no criteria laid down as to what constitutes a viable single-handed practice. Apart from existing or potential inducement payment practices, which are considered by the Secretary of State on the individual merits of each case, it is for the Scottish Medical Practices Committee to determine whether or not a successor should be appointed when a doctor who is on a health board's medical list dies or leaves, regardless of whether he is in a single-handed practice or in a partnership or group.