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General Practitioners

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) GPs and (b) GP practices there are in Greater London; and how many there were in May 1997. [101249]

[holding answer 6 March 2003]: Greater London is not recognised as an area for which figures are collected. The area covering the Directorate of Health and Social Care—London is given as the nearest alternative and figures are shown in the following table.

We recognise that London has both short and longer term special needs with regard to the recruitment and retention of its general practice (GP) workforce. The NHS Plan target is 255 additional GPs in London by 2004. We are committed to expanding the primary care workforce both through national and local initiatives.

Provisional figures for September 2002 from the Modernisation Board Annual Report show that in England since 1999 there has been an increase 700 GPs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department will review guidelines surrounding the charging for certificates signed by general practitioners; and if he will make a statement. [101912]

General practitioners are required to issue specified medical certificates, free of charge. However, GPs also provide a variety of other services, which successive governments have regarded as private matters between an organisation and the doctor providing the service and the doctor is free to make a charge for these non National Health Service services if he or she wishes.