Health Committee

No 18, Session 2003-04                          11 May 2004


The Committee will undertake a short inquiry into the potential impact of the GP contract on the provision of Out-of-Hours services. In particular, this will include consideration of:

  • The general readiness of Primary Care Trusts to undertake their responsibilities with regard to Out-of-Hours services

  • The role of GP co-operatives

  • The role of NHS Direct

  • The potential impact on other NHS services, including community hospitals, minor injury units, GP clinics, and A&E services

  • Potential financial implications

  • Potential implications for quality of Out-of-Hours services, including rapidity of response, provision of backup and quality of patient care

  • Skill-mix within Out-of-Hours services

  • Arrangements for monitoring Out-of-Hours services

  • Implications for urban and rural populations


Organisations and individuals wishing to submit a short memorandum are invited to do so no later than Monday 7 June.  Late memoranda will only be accepted at the Committee's discretion, and may not be considered for publication. Evidence sessions are likely to commence in June 2004 and a later press notice will give details of these.

A revised guide to preparing written evidence for the Health Committee is appended to this notice.  The Committee requests that evidence should be concise and in the form of a self-contained memorandum, prepared according to the guidelines set out by the terms of reference given above and preferably submitted electronically to . 

Please note that the Health Committee is unable to investigate individual cases.

The Health Committee is a Select Committee of the House of Commons.  It is appointed under Standing Order No.152 to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department of Health and associated public bodies.  The Committee has the power to send for persons, papers and records.



1 All organisations and individuals are welcome to submit written evidence.

2. Evidence should contain a brief introduction to the persons or organisations submitting it, and any factual information they have to offer from which the Committee might be able to draw  conclusions.

3. Evidence should be structured along the lines of the terms of reference.  Please arrange your material in sections which follow the terms of reference.  If you wish to make any further points, please do so in a separate final section.  

4. It can helpful if you include any recommendations for action by the Government or others which you would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its Report. 

5. Once written evidence has been submitted it becomes the property of the House of Commons and it is for the Committee to decide the manner and timing of its publication; those submitting written evidence may  make their evidence public themselves; there is no objection to witnesses simply outlining the views expressed in it.

6. Evidence should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere.  Material published elsewhere may be referred to within a proposed memorandum.

7. Unless indicated otherwise it will be assumed that those submitting written evidence have no objection to it being made public by the Committee.  If witnesses give oral evidence, copies of their written evidence will usually be made available to press and public at the hearing and treated as being in the public domain thereafter.  Written evidence submitted  by those not giving oral evidence will be made public by the Committee at the end of the inquiry, by publication or other means.

8. You may like to give an indication of your willingness to give oral evidence.

9. All evidence should be signed (where possible) and dated, with a note of the author's name and status, indicating whether the evidence is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.


Evidence should be in the form of a brief, self-contained memorandum, prefaced with a summary.  It should be presented in numbered paragraphs.

Evidence submitted in electronic copy should:

  • be free of any inessential formatting - ie bold, underlining and italics should only be used where necessary

  • where possible be typed in Times New Roman, Font Size 11

  • be e-mailed to   The preferred format is Rich Text Format but Wordperfect or Word will be accepted.  Please note that evidence submitted on a disk will not be accepted.

  • include the full postal address and contact details of sender

Evidence submitted in hard copy form should:

  • be on white A4 paper, including letterhead with full postal address and contact details on the first sheet.  Please avoid colour printing

  • be in a form which is easy to photocopy

  • be stapled rather than bound

  • be a single copy


The text of Health Committee reports, minutes of evidence and press notices can be accessed through the Internet at Parliament's websites:

Individuals will be kept informed of the progress of the Inquiry through regular press notices.  The Health Committee Home page is also updated regularly and details the Health Committee's forthcoming meetings and current and future inquiries.

All individuals/organisations who submit written and/or oral evidence will be sent a copy of the Report, once published.