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Volume 171: debated on Tuesday 1 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the recent recommendations by Professor Jarman about relevant deprivation of health authority areas.

Professor Jarman wrote to the Department of Health on 9 March 1990 suggesting that the trigger point on his index for deprivation payments to GPs should be reduced from 30 to 16 or 20 points. A trigger point of 16 would extend coverage to some 25 per cent. of the population. We have considered this proposal carefully and the issue has since been debated in the House on 4 April at columns 1313–20. The Government's view remains that our policy objective of targeting payments on practices that serve areas of highest deprivation is best achieved at the present level of 30 points or more. By this means 9 per cent. of the population will attract a deprivation payment for their GPs in some 5 per cent. of the wards. The introduction of this payment is an important primary health care initiative and recognises for the first time the additional work that GPs working in areas of deprivation undertake.