asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much has been spent by region each year on locum tenens; what percentage of the total finances of the region this represents; and what percentage of such locums is engaged through agencies which are known to charge in excess of current rates for particular posts.
The estimated amounts spent in 1978–79 in the hospital and community health services on medical and dental locum tenens employed directly by the health authorities is shown in the table below, together with the percentage this represents of the authorities' revenue expenditure. Information about expenditure on services provided by locum tenens employed by agencies, and in the family practitioner services, is not collected centrally.
No. Although a national insurance credit is normally given for a complete week of unemployment, regulations already provide for some relaxation where a small amount of work is done and the earnings are below the figure at which contributions are due. These relaxations are not ungenerous bearing in mind that contributory benefits are paid in return for contributions, and that the awards of credits places a person in a privileged position in relation to those, including recipients of family income supplement, who are contributing.