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General Practitioners: Buckingham Palace

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the closed-list GP practice at Buckingham Palace provides for (a) Royal Household staff based outside the area of Westminster Primary Care Trust and (b) staff employed in the households of other members of the Royal Family; and if he will make a statement; (199715)

(2) what revenue the closed-list GP practice at Buckingham Palace received under the additional needs-based allocation in each year since 2004; and what proportion of its income this represented in each such year;

(3) how many patients are registered on the closed-list GP practice at Buckingham Palace; and if he will make a statement;

(4) for what reasons there is a closed-list GP practice at Buckingham Palace; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 21 April 2008]: Primary care trusts (PCTs) are responsible for providing local health services, including primary medical services, to reflect local needs and healthcare priorities. Westminster PCT has advised they it has a long-standing general medical services (GMS) contract with a general practitioner to provide primary medical services for staff who live within the borders of Buckingham Palace. All GMS contracts set out the practice’s boundaries, and in this case the practice area covers only the environs of the Palace. The practice does not operate a closed list but, in common with all practices, it does not have to register patients who live outside the practice area. The latest available data show that at 30 September 2007 there were 296 patients registered at the Buckingham Palace practice.

Information about the revenue that the practice has received for additional needs is not held centrally. My hon. Friend may therefore wish to raise this issue with the chief executive of Westminster PCT. However, the issue here is not additional needs funding but payments made under the minimum practice income guarantee, which is being reviewed and on which announcements will be made as part of the Next Stage Review this summer.