asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what effect he expects the Minister of Health's announcement that family medical practitioners may practise privately in health centres to have on the reluctance on the part of such practitioners to work from health authority-provided facilities and buildings.
I have not announced any change of policy in that respect; family doctors practising in health centres and wishing to see private patients as well as National Health Service patients have normally been allowed to do so from 1949 onwards. The current arrangements, under section 72 of the National Health Service Act 1977, require a doctor to seek my right hon. Friend's permission to use health centre premises in this way, and require him to grant permission unless in his opinion this would interfere with the giving of full and proper attention to people attending for National Health Service services. Permission has not in any case been withheld by my right hon. Friend or, I understand, by his predecessor.