asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what effects he anticipates that the current level of funding of regional health authorities will have on the implementation of the principal recommendations of the fourth report of the Social Services Committee, Session 1980–81, on medical education, in particular on progress towards a consultant-based service, on medical student intake and on medical unemployment.
Revenue allocations to regional health authorities for 1982–83 provide for real growth of 1 per cent. over their allocations for 1981–82. We have not yet decided on the cash limits to apply to RHAs in 1983–84, but, as we informed the House on 8 November, the cash provision for that year will enable further real growth in addition to the ½ per cent. savings to be derived from improved efficiency. The extent of growth will depend on pay and price movements and authorities will have to decide on the areas in which to make progress. In the meantime, however, the number of consultant posts advertised is still increasing, and the intake to medical schools went up in the current academic year. Though the number of persons registered as seeking medical employment has increased, there remain a considerable number of posts in the NHS which cannot be filled for lack of suitable applicants.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in the establishment of pilot projects to monitor and assess different ways of organising a consultant-based service, and in publishing the results of such projects, in accordance with recommendation 15 of the fourth report of the Social Services Committee, Session 1980–81, and paragraph 31 of the Government response, Cmnd. 8479.
We are discussing a number of projects with authorities, and the setting up of further projects is one of the topics officials from the Department are pursuing in the present round of discussions with health authorities on the career structure.