To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the NHS management executive's efforts to canvass interest in general practitioner fund holding in Northern Ireland, detailing dates and venues of presentations to general practitioners or officials, names and roles of experts from Scotland, England or Wales brought over to advise interested parties and the scope of the activity of such consultants or advisers.
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him on 19 February, Official Report, Vol. 204, column 211. Since then, the management executive has held one seminar, on 26 February 1992, for practices expressing an interest in becoming fund holders. Dr. John Steyn, a general practitioner fund holder from Scotland, and Mr. Mark Miller, a deputy director with the NHS management advisory service, spoke to the seminar about the preparatory period and the first year of fund holding.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether general medical practices which are granted fund holding status will have to specifically inform each patient of this fact and its consequences.
Practices which become fund holders are not required to inform their patients; however it is likely that fund-holding practices will wish to explain the details of the scheme to their patients and they will receive every encouragement to do so.