asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received concerning his proposals for all appointments to the new family practitioners authorities to be made by himself.
As there is widespread doubt about the Government's motives behind the proposal to reconstitute family practitioner committees, and in the light of a recent written answer by the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security that no attempt would be made to ascertain the political allegiance of members of such committees, will the Minister come clean and confirm—or deny—that at least three administrations of family practitioner committees have been approached by officials of the DHSS to ascertain the political allegiance of their members?
I am not aware of any such approaches. I have not authorised any. Appointments to the new family practitioner committees will be made as they always have been—by the Secretary of State—on the nomination of a wide range of interested bodies, both professional and lay.
Will my hon. and learned Friend assure the House that there will be a minority of medically qualified people on each of these authorities?
We intend to preserve broadly the existing balance between professionally qualified and lay members. We will ensure that in the appointments that we make.