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Medical Certificates (Housing Applications)

Volume 975: debated on Monday 10 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what it his policy on the practice of medical practitioners demanding fees from applicants for allocation of a local authority house who require a medical certificate to support their assessment;

  • (2) if he will take steps to transfer from the local authority to health boards the responsibility for fees payable to doctors for medical certificates produced in support of a housing application in terms of section 22 of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1972 as is operated elsewhere in the United Kingdom;
  • (3) if he will consult Lothian's health board as to whether it is appropriate for medical practitioners to charge a fee for a medical certificate to support the assessment of a housing application; and whether the fee in question ought to be paid by the local authority notwithstanding the fact that Midlothian district council does not demand the production of a medical certificate.
  • General medical practitioners are free to charge fees for providing services out with their NHS terms and conditions of service and are under no obligation to provide medical certificates in connection with housing applications. I have in mind certain changes in the respective responsibilities of health boards and local authorities for meeting the cost of medical services related to local authority functions. My Department is about to open consultations with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the other interests, but I see no prospect of making health boards responsible for the cost of any certificates which members of the public seek from their general practitioners in support of housing applications.